The San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos kick off their preseasons tonight, and while upwards of 90 players are on the respective rosters, not all will be participating. Teams do not release inactive lists during the preseason, but you can get an idea of some of the players not playing based on whether or not they're in uniform for pre-game warmups.
As expected, Patrick Willis, Justin Smith and Jonathan Goodwin are not participating in tonight's game. Michael Wilhoite will get the start for Willis, Demarcus Dobbs will start for Smith and Daniel Kilgore will start for Goodwin.
Two other players out of uniform are wide receivers Kyle Williams and Quinton Patton. While Patton is not a surprise because of his jammed finger, Williams is a minor surprise. He missed a week of camp with a hamstring strain, but had returned to practice the last few days. The 49ers seem fine taking it easy working him back into the lineup. According to Chris Biderman, Williams ran routes and caught passes in shorts.
With their absence, the 49ers remaining nine receivers will get their opportunities. Anquan Boldin will start on one side, and either A.J. Jenkins or Marlon Moore would seem likely to start opposite him. When the 49ers released their depth chart over the weekend, Matt Barrows thought Moore would get the start if Williams didn't go, but he reversed course a few minutes ago. My guess is Jenkins practice performances the last few days might have earned him a starting nod.
The rest of the wide receiver corps includes Ricardo Lockette, Austin Collie, Lavelle Hawkins, Chad Hall, Kassim Osgood and Chuck Jacobs. Quarterback B.J. Daniels has also gotten some wide receiver reps, so it is entirely possible he could get a chance or two as well. I'd imagine that's unlikely with nine other receivers looking for work.
Frank Gore is wearing his uniform, but the beat writers think it is still unlikely he plays. If he does play, it would likely be no more than a series. LaMichael James would fill in for him, or immediately after him.