Mike Singletary insists there are no meaningless games, but the 49ers head coach today said he has a "very good idea" about the identity of his 53-man roster heading into tomorrow night's preseason finale in San Diego. Pressed on the issue, Singletary later said there are "maybe one or two" players that he's not quite sure of.
The identity of those "one or two" isn't known. What is certain is that they will play a lot against the Chargers. Singletary said his starters might play a couple of series, perhaps 10 to 12 plays. Frank Gore and Isaac Bruce will be healthy scratches. Alex Smith (thumb), Arnaz Battle (shoulder), Ahmad Brooks (knee), Michael Lewis (concussion), Brandon Jones (shoulder), Jay Moore (groin) and Cody Wallace (viral meningitis) will be held out. Only Brooks' and Jones' injuries could linger into the regular season. Wallace should be back in action Monday.
Singletary said that Shaun Hill would start the game but give way quickly to Nate Davis. Asked why, with the risk of injury, the team would part ways with Damon Huard before the preseason was over, Singletary said it was a courtesy to Huard. The 12-year veteran was brought in to be the No. 3 quarterback and, according to Singletary, was instrumental in teaching the younger quarterbacks on the staff.
Some of the starters who have missed time this preseason, such as David Baas, Adam Snyder and Moran Norris, might see a bit more action than the rest of the starters. Glen Coffee will depart with the rest of the starters meaning that a potential bubble player - Kory Sheets - will see a lot of action.
With both Bruce and Battle out, it will be interesting to see who lines up opposite Josh Morgan when the game begins because it will be an awfully big hint who the last receiver is on the 53-man roster. Micheal Spurlock, Jason Hill and Dominique Zeigler have all layed some "flanker" this offseason.
Singletary usually begins his daily press conferences by asking for questions. Today he had a preamble in which he summed up training camp and said he was pleased that the team had found the identity he was striving for. That identity, of course, is a tough-minded team that runs the ball. Asked about problem areas the team hasn't addressed - pass rush, pass protection - from last season, Singletary seemed to point to the emergence of a running game as something that would, if not cure, then help other areas. "Let's revisit that later," he said, implying that the early part of the regular season will determine whether the team, indeed, has improved ...
-- Matt Barrows