The San Francisco 49ers announced their first set of team captains for the preseason opener, and they included a bit of a surprise. Joe Staley and NaVorro Bowman were unsurprising selections as offensive and defensive captains. However, the special teams captain caught us off guard. Head coach Kyle Shanahan named wide receiver Aaron Burbridge as the special teams captain.
Following the game, he had this to say about the decision.
“We are going to switch it up each preseason game before we get to the regular season. I wanted to pick some players that had been here. So I picked the obvious one I think on offense and the obvious one on defense. Our kickers knew and I asked (Tim) Hightower who has been the guy that has been here the most and done the best for us the last few years and he told me Burbridge. I saw that a lot on tape last year. He has done a good job on special teams and he has been known around the league so that is why we went with him.”
My initial thought when Burbridge was announced is that it was a potential indicator about his roster status. I still think it is a positive sign for him, but with plans on rotating, it is too early to tell just where it moves Burbridge on the bubble. And the wide receiver position is going to be incredibly competitive, with a handful of players competing for what is likely only available roster spot.