Three games into the preseason, now is the time to step up. With the final preseason game looming Thursday, and behind that the final roster cuts on Saturday from 80 to 53 for the regular season, players know that their play—as well as other factors—come into play when the coaching staff and front office confer on who stays and who goes.
What’s surprising so far is the inconsistency of the offensive line. Well, some would say after the loss to the Texans last weekend that line was worse than inconsistent; it was almost non-existent.
The less-than-stellar play from Joe Staley, Johnathan Goodwin, Mike Iupati, Adam Snyder and Michael Davis would seem to force some serious analysis on part of the staff. But those names and backups like Tony Wragge and Chilo Rachal (who usually starts) are just about immune from the threat of cuts. Just about.
Staley is considered the best lineman on the team. Davis and Iupati are first-round selections, and letting them go would bring a big hit on the team’s salary cap. Snyder can play either guard slot or center, and Goodwin was brought in as a free agent.
No, despite the poor play in two of the three games, no big names from this unit appear to be on the chopping block. And it’s important to remember that they are running a new offense with new terminology, which might explain the communication breakdowns that no doubt led to some of the sacks and hard hits on quarterback Alex Smith.
But that has to improve, and in that vein other players have to step up soon to make an impression. Here are six 49ers who have to show improvement or face losing out on a roster spot on Sept. 3.