clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Consider why the 49ers have a 52-man roster heading into the Rams game

New, comments

The San Francisco 49ers have an open roster spot heading into Week 9. We take a look at why they are hanging on to it.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers returned to practice on Wednesday, with all 52 players taking part in practice. Tramaine Brock, Jimmie Ward and Patrick Willis were all listed as limited, but they took part in some portion of practice. This marks the healthiest the 49ers have been since fairly early in the season, which hopefully bodes well for the second half of the season.

There is one thing that is off in that paragraph, the mention of 52 players. Last weekend, the 49ers placed Daniel Kilgore and Chris Cook on injured reserve, and signed safety Bubba Ventrone. That left the 49ers a player short of the full 53 other teams have. Initially the thought was that the spot was being reserved for Aldon Smith's return. There has been chatter that he could come back sooner than the nine games he was suspended. He will not be back this weekend, but the 49ers continue to keep that 53rd spot open.

The 49ers technically do not HAVE to have 53 players on the roster. It obviously can be helpful, but with seven players normally inactive on game day, that 53rd player is usually amongst that group. The 49ers decision to not add a 53rd player would likely indicate they do not think someone can come in and be of use to the active 46. The 49ers likely will have six inactive players instead of the normal seven.

The 49ers have signed players heading into the weekend in the past, but they have either been strictly special teams players, or a tight end like Asante Cleveland when Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald were hurt. The 49ers have their full contingent of normal special teams players, so I would not expect that kind of addition. And with the roster as healthy as it has been in a while, there is no need for an injury replacement. They could still add a cornerback due to Cook's injury, but I doubt that happens given the current remaining depth at the position.

For now, it just looks like the 49ers will keep that spot open in case of injury this weekend, or in hopes that Aldon Smith returns next week.