The San Francisco 49ers face some question marks over the next two weeks, as they prepare to bring players off the Non-Football Injury list and the Physically Unable to Perform list. The 49ers already waived Chris Harper to make room for Quinton Dial. In the coming weeks, they will have to make decisions to make room for WR Mario Manningham, CB Eric Wright and DT Tank Carradine. Beyond that, they are eventually facing decisions to make room for OLB Aldon Smith and WR Michael Crabtree.
Two players that seem to be solidifying their chances of sticking around the rest of the season are wide receiver Kassim Osgood and cornerback Darryl Morris. Given how the 49ers coverage units have performed this season, Osgood was never a huge question mark in my mind. Morris was promoted to the 53-man roster a month ago, but he too has looked sharp as part of the coverage units.
Special teams can often fly under the radar, but Morris and Osgood were part of the most high profile special teams play of the 49ers young season:
This doesn't quite show Morris's speed down the field, but it was pretty impressive. And while Reynaud clearly muffed the punt, Morris timed his own hit on Reynaud perfectly. Osgood climbed through and dove on the ball, and that was that. Jim Harbaugh had an interesting description, stating that it looked like an arrow going through snow. I have never heard that one before. Add it to the Harbaugh-isms!
This is only one play, but we've seen plenty of strong special teams coverage this season to now this isn't an anomaly. And Morris and Osgood have been right in the thick of these plays.
As the 49ers prepare to start cutting loose some players, my guess is the team ends up cutting Marlon Moore once Manningham is ready. They don't have to go wide receiver for wide receiver, but with Moore's deactivation, is there any reason to keep him active when Manningham comes back?
On the defensive side, I am more and more convinced that Nnamdi Asomugha will be the player cut when Eric Wright is able to return. I suppose it could be when Tank or Aldon comes back, but whatever the timing, I just don't see Nnamdi as long for the 49ers roster.
When Aldon Smith is ready to return, my guess is Jermaine Cunningham will be released. However, when Tank Carradine returns, who gets cut? One of Demarcus Dobbs and Tony Jerod-Eddie would seem to be a possible choice, although I could see a guy like Nate Stupar potentially getting the axe. There are several possibilities.