News broke over the weekend that Mario Manningham would begin the season on the reserve/PUP list. That means that Manningham will be out for at least the first six games of the year. He is recovering from a tear in his ACL and PCL that he suffered in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks last December. If healthy, Manningham would have been a near lock to start opposite Anquan Boldin.
With Manningham out of the picture for a while, the 49ers are still looking for a wide receiver to step up and take control of the number two spot. However, through two preseason games, no one has separated themselves in that department. There are various reasons why that could be the case.
Limited playing time for Kaepernick
It’s tough to see who has developed a good chemistry with Colin Kaepernick when the quarterback is barely on the field. Kaepernick played just five snaps Friday night. Through the first two preseason games, he has only played two series and 16 total snaps. Both drives netted field goals and Kaepernick is 5/6, hitting four different receivers. It’s understandable that the 49ers do not want to risk their star quarterback, but we generally see starters play at least the first quarter in the second preseason game. There is a good chance Kaepernick will play considerably longer Sunday against the Vikings which could help yield more answers.
Backups have not performed well
It’s easy to put blame on Colt McCoy and Scott Tolzien for not playing well (and there is truth in that) but the backup offensive linemen have not given the quarterbacks much time. McCoy, Tolzien and rookie B.J. Daniels have been sacked 6 times through the first two games and been pressured often. Still, like the wide receivers, someone has to distinguish themselves in this department. McCoy and Tolzien are a combined 24/47 with no touchdowns and three interceptions so far. The duo went 6/14 in week two against the Chiefs with one interception by McCoy. It’s difficult to get a read on wide receivers when you are barely completing passes. Daniels looked good in his only action on Friday going 6/9 with a touchdown pass but, other than Austin Collie, it’s unlikely anyone he was throwing to at that point in the game has a serious shot at starting this season.
Too many options?
While it’s not like the 49ers are deciding what pro bowler to line up, there are a number of receivers who need time to show what they can do. Kyle Williams and rookie Quinton Patton have yet to see the field because of injuries but both are locks to make the team. If Williams is healthy, he has an excellent chance to start. The 49ers are high on Patton and it would be foolish to cut ties with a rookie who has so much promise. Marlon Moore has lined up with the starters the first two weeks which bodes well for his long term chances. He’s obviously showed enough at practice to warrant him getting playing time with the first team. The rest of the unit is muddled, however, and you have to wonder if there are enough snaps to go around to get accurate reads on Collie, Lavelle Hawkins, Ricardo Lockette, Chad Hall, Chuck Jacobs, or Kassim Osgood. One player who has gotten playing time but done little with it is A.J. Jenkins. He was shut out in week two (although did catch a pass that was called back due to a penalty) as he continues to struggle to make an impact.
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