|Niners make moves to get to roster limit
The 49ers have to trim 22 players from their roster today to get to the 53-man limit. But this does not necessarily mean that everyone who survived today is safe. GM Scot McCloughan said Friday night the club will continue to scour the waiver wire for players who can help the team.
Here is how they did it:
OLB Jay Moore (Nebraska): He sustained a torn right biceps while trying to make a second-quarter tackle of the Chargers' Mark Jones on a kickoff return Friday night. It is the second time in his two-year career that an injury in the final exhibition game put him out for the regular season. Moore, a fourth-round pick in the 2007 draft, sustained a high-ankle sprain last year. Moore will not be able to practice with the team this season.
WR Ashley Lelie (Hawaii): He missed most of training camp with a calf strain and did not catch a pass in the exhibition finale. It's possible that the 49ers could re-sign him to the active roster before the first game of the season. Practice-squad eligibility: No.
RB Thomas Clayton (Kansas State): The sixth-round pick in the 2007 draft came on strong for a second summer in a row. However, he was not going to be able to crack into the team's top three running backs with Frank Gore, DeShaun Foster and Michael Robinson in front of him. He improved greatly as a runner but needs to work on his blocking and special-teams play. He finished the exhibition season with a 186 yards and a touchdown on 42 carries for a 4.4-yard average. It's possible, but not likely, he'll get picked up. But he could find his way onto a 53-man roster this season with some injuries around the league. Practice-squad eligibility: Yes.
FB Moran Norris (Kansas): He was instrumental as a lead-blocker to Frank Gore in 2006 (when Gore rushed for 1,695 yards). But Norris' play fell off last season, and Zak Keasey overtook him for the one fullback job. The Chiefs have expressed some interest in him, so he could find a job somewhere else. Practice-squad eligibility: No.
WR Jerard Rabb (Boise State): Did not get much action during the exhibition season after spending the final two weeks on the 49ers' practice squad last season. Practice-squad eligibility: Yes.
WR Cam Colvin (Oregon): His best day of practices might have been on Aug. 4 when the made a nice impact during the 49ers' joint session with the Raiders. He did not see much action during the exhibition season, as he did not have any receptions (one pass was nullified by a penalty). He missed two weeks of OTAs due to school obligations, and he had a difficult time catching up. Still, the former De La Salle prep star showed some promise. Practice-squad eligibility: Yes.
WR Dominique Zeigler (Baylor): He led the 49ers in the exhibition season with 15 catches for 162 yards and a touchdown. Zeigler spent last season on the practice squad before sustaining a knee injury in December and going on IR. There is no denying his hands are NFL quality. Practice-squad eligibility: Yes.
WR Robert Ortiz (San Diego State): He came to the team a week into training camp after Cal's Robert Jordan left the team. Ortiz caught one pass for 8 yards during the exhibition season. His muffed punt late in Friday's game gave the Chargers the opportunity for victory in the final minute. Practice-squad eligibility: Yes.
TE J.J. Finley (Oklahoma): The undrafted rookie did not catch a pass during the exhibition season. It was going to be nearly impossible for him to break into this group with holdovers Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker and Billy Bajema back for another season. Practice-squad eligibility: Yes.
OG Brian de la Puente (Cal): The undrafted rookie played about as well as could've been expected this summer. He got the start at LG in the 49ers' third exhibition game, and he definitely held his own against Bears three-time Pro Bowler DT Tommie Harris. Practice-squad eligibility: Yes.
OT Alan Reuber (Texas A&M): Saw action at RT during the exhibition season, but did not show enough to convince the squad to keep a 10th offensive lineman. He's been bouncing around the league since 2004, so clearly his window of opportunity is running out. Practice-squad eligibility: No.
OT Joe Toledo (Washington): He played left tackle with the second team through the exhibition season. After getting off to a slow start, he ended up playing pretty well. However, the 49ers believe they have enough versatility from their backups on the offensive line. Practice-squad eligibility: Yes.
OT Chris Patrick (Nebraska): He was picked up after the first exhibition game when Damane Duckett went down with a season-ending knee injury. Patrick showed some promise during his time with the team, though he was beaten for a sack Friday night. Practice-squad eligibility: Yes.
DE Walter Curry (Albany State): The 49ers were very high on him, but it simply came down to the numbers. They felt as if they could keep no more than six defensive linemen (including Justin Smith). Curry worked his way up to the second team, but there just wasn't another spot available. Practice-squad eligibility: No.
NT Atiyyah Ellison (Missouri): He was signed off the Ravens' practice squad leading up to the first game of the regular season, but he never suited up for a game. The 49ers wanted to keep him around for an entire season to see what he could do. There might be a job for him somewhere in the NFL. Practice-squad eligibility: Yes.
DE LaJuan Ramsey (USC): The 49ers picked him up as a waiver claim before the opening of training camp from the Eagles. He showed some good things, but could not crack into the rotation on the line. Practice-squad eligibility: No.
DE Louis Holmes (Arizona): It's no surprise that he was released, but he showed plenty for the 49ers to keep him around on the practice squad. As long as he continues working and progressing, Holmes could eventually be ticketed for the 53-man roster. Practice-squad eligibility: Yes.
LB Larry Grant (Ohio State): His shining moment during the preseason came on the Chargers' game-winning drive. He made a couple of goal-line tackle and also broke up two passes. The seventh-round pick showed enough good things this summer and figures to return to the 49ers' practice squad. Practice-squad eligibility: Yes.
LB Dennis Haley (Virginia): The 49ers have a lot of good inside linebackers, so it was difficult for Haley to break into that group. He played well throughout the exhibition season, and finished his 49ers career with five tackles, including one for a loss, and a forced fumble. Practice-squad eligibility: No.
CB Markus Curry (Michigan): He really showed some good things in pass coverage during the exhibition season - his second summer with the 49ers. Originally signed by the Chargers as a rookie free agent, he played a couple regular-season games for the Chargers in 2006. Practice-squad eligibility: Yes.
S D.J. Parker (Virginia Tech): He saw a lot of action in the exhibition season. He finished Friday's game with two tackles and a pass defensed. Parker received the largest signing bonus of any of the 49ers' undrafted players ($6,000), so they might want to keep him around. Practice-squad eligibility: Yes.
K/P Ricky Schmitt (Shepherd): His versatility saved the 49ers a roster spot during training camp when teams generally keep a backup punter AND a backup kicker. Schmitt filled both backup roles. He averaged 43.7 yards on three punts, while making 3 of 4 FG attempts and all five PATs. Practice-squad eligibility: Yes.
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2008 49ers roster (as of Aug. 30)
Quarterback (3): J.T. O'Sullivan, Alex Smith, Shaun Hill.
Running back (4): Frank Gore, DeShaun Foster, Michael Robinson, Zak Keasey.
Wide receiver (5): Isaac Bruce, Bryant Johnson, Arnaz Battle, Josh Morgan, Jason Hill.
Tight end (3): Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Billy Bajema.
Offensive line (9): Joe Staley, Eric Heitmann, Jonas Jennings, David Baas, Adam Snyder, Tony Wragge, Barry Sims, Chilo Rachal, Cody Wallace.
Defensive line (6): Justin Smith, Isaac Sopoaga, Ray McDonald, Aubrayo Franklin, Ronald Fields, Kentwan Balmer.
Linebackers (8): Manny Lawson, Patrick Willis, Takeo Spikes, Jeff Ulbrich, Parys Haralson, Dontarrious Thomas, Tully Banta-Cain, Roderick Green.
Secondary (11): Nate Clements, Walt Harris, Michael Lewis, Mark Roman, Shawntae Spencer, Dashon Goldson, Reggie Smith, Donald Strickland, Tarell Brown, Keith Lewis, Marcus Hudson.
Specialists (4): Joe Nedney, Andy Lee, Brian Jennings, Allen Rossum.
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The 49ers are allowed to establish their eight-man practice squad after 9 a.m. on Sunday.
OL Ramiro Pruneda: He is a.ssured a spot as part of the NFL's international practice-squad player program.
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Some quick thoughts: I've stated the past few days I thought Lelie would make the 53-man roster. I swung and missed on that one. The 49ers took an unnecessary risk in not cutting Lelie earlier in the week after he passed his physical. If he had re-injured his calf injury, the club would've been on the hook for a good chunk of money (and cap space). . . . Thought Grant might make it at the expense of either Green, Banta-Cain, Hudson or Lewis. But I dont think Grant is going anywhere. He should be on the practice squad tomorrow. . . . As expected, there are a lot of questions about Clayton. His problem is that he has Gore and Foster ahead of him, and he doesn't do enough other stuff to warrant suiting up for games. Robinson is a Pro Bowl-caliber special teams player, so he'll always be kept ahead of Clayton (unless Clayton becomes a starter). No question, I'd rather have Clayton as my running back over Robinson on first and second downs. But third downs (blitz pickup) and special teams is where Robinson easily wins his roster spot.