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Stats & Eggs: Why cut down day means more than people realize

Talk is cheap, and today will prove it

Everything you need to know in about 5 minutes

With Trey Lance’s injury already covered here on Niners Nation, I thought I’d focus today’s Stats & Eggs post on another story to keep an eye on today - cuts. Many writers and podcasters here have told you not to believe a lot of what the team has said in press conferences, and some have taken issue with that. The truth is, talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words. As the team trims the roster down to 53 players today, it will tell us a lot more about how they feel about certain players than their comments at press conferences.

More than many teams, the 49ers use opportunities to speak to media as opportunities to send messages to certain guys. At points, Kyle Shanahan will seemingly go out of his way to pump the brakes on the hype that a certain player may be getting from fans or media. At other points, 49ers coaches will make sure to praise multiple players on the bubble, from Wayne Gallman to Jalen Hurd, to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

How can we tell their true feelings? Pay attention to what they do today, and keep in mind the impact that those decisions have on other places on the roster. Is Brandon Aiyuk really in the running to return punts? The futures of Travis Benjamin and Nsimba Webster will likely give us our answer. How “successful” was Jalen Hurd’s day against the Raiders on Sunday?

I don’t have to remind any fans of this team how much the 53 man roster in August differs from the 53 man roster in January, but today is an important day in the story of this season because we’ll unequivocally learn which praise was real and which was just the usual training camp puffery we see year after year.