49ers-Chargers: What to watch for in an otherwise meaningless game

In his post-practice media session yesterday, Coach Singletary spoke about how players had been practicing this week more just to get through today's game and get to the cuts and the regular season. There's a certain malaise that sets in after a month of training camp, at which point the team is just ready to be done with it.

One could say the same holds true here at Niners Nation. While we've been excited to have football back in our lives, training camp has officially worn out its welcome. Two months ago we were praying for even preseason action, and now we've reached the point where we just want some real football.

And of course this is occurring as drama has arisen in 49ers training camp yet again. Vernon Davis had some words for Michael Crabtree, which has everybody up in arms over what went down and trying to analyze the crap out of this situation. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, but I think it's just one more sign that it's time to get the regular season going.

Nonetheless, we have one last preseason game tonight. The 49ers host the San Diego Chargers in what has become an annual tradition wrapping up each team's preseason. Coach Singletary indicated Alex Smith would not play tonight, which means we'll see a lot of David Carr and Nate Davis. Maybe we'll even see Jarrett Brown get a few snaps in (don't hold your breath). I can guarantee some mention of the Crabtree-Davis dust-up at some point in the broadcast.

Beyond the drama, while Smith and some of the other starters will be sitting this last game out, there will be other players battling for their roster lives:

  • It's entirely possible this is the last time we see Alex Boone in a 49ers uniform. The numbers crunch could send Boone to the waiver wire. If he were to clear waivers he would be eligible for the practice squad, but big offensive linemen often struggle to clear waivers (see Brian de la Puente in 2008). The injuries and changes along the offensive line, including the addition of Anthony Davis in the draft could spell the end of Boone's time in San Francisco.
  • Jason Hill is one guy who very likely is coming to the end of his time in San Francisco. He'll end up somewhere in the NFL but I don't know if his special teams contributions have been enough to overcome whatever WR doghouse he is in.
  • Defensive lineman Khalif Mitchell is a bubble guy who will want to provide one more strong performance to move off the bubble. I think he's got a very good shot of making the team, but given the balancing act of spots, he certainly won't want to leave it up to chance.
  • Brit Miller and Jehuu Caulcrick are guys who have developed bandwagons of fans at different points in the preseason. However, both are likely on the wrong side of the bubble due in large part to Nate Byham's ability to split time between tight end and fullback. Given the fact that Moran Norris will be starting at the fullback position, they don't need a guy who can only handle fullback and special teams. Having the flexibility they have in Byham would seem to make it an easy choice.

Given how much roster turnover we'll see in the next couple days, do you have any particular players you're expecting to be gone come Saturday but will nonetheless be disappointed to see depart?

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