Each year, we like to run a series of posts called "90-in-90." The idea is that we'll take a look at every player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few ways. This roster will certainly change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not exactly 90 players in 90 days. At this point, it's a name we're keeping around for street cred.
The San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback competition will feature two players getting a return run with the team. Josh Johnson and McLeod Bethel-Thompson have both spent past training camps with the 49ers. McBLT was waived following 2011 training camp, and then returned midway through the 2013 season for his second stint. Josh Johnson on the other hand, was beaten out for a roster spot by Scott Tolzien, after which his odyssey took him to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Johnson was out of the league for 2012, before signing with the Bengals on March 21, 2013. He spent the season with the team, making brief appearances in two games. He has history with Jim Harbaugh, having been the beneficiary of Coach Harbaugh's QB skills at the University of San Diego. Johnson has never really been able to break through, although he did say his time in Cincinnati last season resulted in getting his mechanics straight. He said he is, "past the developmental stage of my career." Considering he is now 28, I'd hope that would be the case. Time is ticking if he wants to make an impact in the NFL.
What to expect in 2014:
Johnson is competing for a backup spot at best with the 49ers. Colin Kaepernick is the assured starter, leaving Johnson to compete with Blaine Gabbert, McLeod Bethel-Thompson, and Kory Faulkner for some kind of backup work. Johnson will need one heck of a camp to beat out Gabbert for a backup role. And if Johnson does not beat out Gabbert, it is highly unlikely the 49ers keep three quarterbacks.
Johnson seems a bit more optimistic this time around. After he signed, Johnson talked about how having Kap as the starter involves an offense more suited to what Johnson can do. It remains to be seen if that will matter for the veteran, but I suppose it's better than nothing.
Odds of making the roster:
I have to think they are pretty slim. If he does not beat out Blaine Gabbert for the backup role, does he really stick around as the third quarterback? Barring a disastrous training camp, do the 49ers keep a third quarterback behind Kap and Gabbert? I suppose Kory Faulkner could get that role, but I would be surprised by that. I think the 49ers try and get Faulkner through waivers and to the practice squad. I suppose Johnson could see some improvement this year, but I'm not holding my breath to see it.