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49ers to sit 11 players vs. Cowboys in preseason opener

Fred Warner and Trent Taylor are modest surprises, but not entirely shocking.

The San Francisco 49ers announced some names that will not be playing in the team’s preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys. The list includes DL Arik Armstead, G Jonathan Cooper, LB Brock Coyle, OL JP Flynn, G Joshua Garnett, S Marcell Harris, CB Richard Sherman, WR Trent Taylor, LB Fred Warner, TE Cole Wick, and CB K’Waun Williams.

Most of those names are not surprising. Fred Warner and Trent Taylor have both been back at practice, but missed some time (chest and back, respectively), and it would seem the team is easing them back into things. I would be surprised if either was absent next week, barring a new injury.

The absence of Warner and Coyle means plenty more playing time for Korey Toomer and Elijah Lee. Reuben Foster and Malcolm Smith will start at MIKE and WILL, and right now Toomer and Lee are the only true backups at the two positions. Mark Nzeocha is listed as a backup SAM linebacker, but I suspect he gets some time at either MIKE or WILL if needed.

Taylor’s absence coupled with Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin likely getting limited snaps in the first quarter opens the door for the competition between Kendrick Bourne, Aldrick Robinson, Richie James, Aaron Burbridge, Victor Bolden, Steven Dunbar, and Max McCaffrey. The battle for the fifth and potentially sixth wide receiver spots will be a fierce one.