SAN DIEGO -- Colin Kaepernick will start today’s preseason finale and will be one of the few recognizable 49ers on the field.
The 49ers, as is the case with most NFL teams, will rest most of the players who are expected to start in the Sept. 12 opener against the Rams. That includes quarterback Blaine Gabbert, with whom Kaepernick has been competing for the starting job, and running back Carlos Hyde, who suffered a concussion last week.
The team announced before the game that Gabbert, Hyde (concussion), Arik Armstead (shoulder), Quinton Dial (knee), Glenn Dorsey (knee), Nick Bellore (knee), Keith Reaser (unknown), Bryce Treggs (knee), Joe Staley, and John Theus (concussion) would not play.
Others, like linebackers NaVorro Bowman, Eli Harold and Ahmad Brooks; safeties Antoine Bethea and Eric Reid; cornerbacks Tramaine Brock and Jimmie Ward; receivers Torrey Smith and Quinton Patton; tight ends Garrett Celek and Vance McDonald; offensive linemen Trent Brown, Daniel Kilgore and Anthony Davis; and defensive lineman DeForest Buckner were not in uniform as the 49ers went through their final warmups.
The three linebackers competing for the starting “Will” spot -- Michael Wilhoite, Gerald Hodges and Ray-Ray Armstrong -- were in uniform for pregame warmups. So were Zane Beadles and rookie Joshua Garnett, who are competing for the left guard spot.
Hyde isn’t the only would-be starter who was hurt last week against the Packers. Receiver Bruce Ellington tore his hamstring, which will cost him the entire season and which prompted the 49ers to trade for veteran Jeremy Kerley. Starting defensive end Dial (knee) also was injured, but the team expects him to be ready for the Rams game.
On Tuesday, Chip Kelly said he wanted Kaepernick to play in the game because a fatigued shoulder limited him to only 13 preseason snaps this summer. Gabbert, by contrast, has 43.
Kaepernick emerged for warm-ups and stretching a little more than two hours before kickoff. He kept to his pre-game routine of warming up with headphones and mostly sticking to himself, which many athletes do. He was greeted by a couple of Chargers players, quarterback Philip Rivers and backup receiver Dontrelle Inman, before signing a few autographs. Kaepernick was booed heartily when he and the other 49ers quarterbacks ran onto the field an hour before the game.