After Tuesday's day off, the San Francisco 49ers returned to the SAP Performance Facility on Wednesday. Head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with the media before practice and provided updates on the roster, injuries and Sunday's meeting against the Minnesota Vikings.
1. Adding Depth on the D-line
On Wednesday, the 49ers signed defensive lineman Sen'Derrick Marks to a one-year deal.
The 49ers found themselves thin along the d-line with injuries to DeForest Buckner, Aaron Lynch and Ronald Blair III. Marks knows Robert Saleh from their time with the Jacksonville Jaguars and should have no problem acclimating to the 49ers defensive scheme.
"We just wanted more competition inside," Shanahan said. "I've played against Sen'Derrick a number of times over the years. He's been a good player for a while. He's got 10 days to show us he deserves to be on this 53-man roster."
2. Getting Healthy
Speaking of Buckner, he returned to practice on Wednesday on a limited basis following a low ankle sprain during the team's preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. While there is no word on if Buckner will be active on Sunday against the Vikings, it's a good sign that the second-year defensive lineman is back on the field.
In addition to Buckner, the 49ers "Eraser", Jimmie Ward has been cleared for practice as he was activated off PUP on Wednesday. Ward suffered a hamstring injury during the team's conditioning test, causing the third-year safety to miss all of training camp. However, it is still unclear if Ward will make his preseason debut against the Vikings on Sunday.
"Of course we would like to. But, I have really no expectations for that. We'll see how he looks today," Shanahan said. "I'm hoping we do a little bit more on Thursday and I think we'll have a better idea after two practices."
3. Crowded Backfield
In one of the deepest position groups on the roster, the 49ers running backs still have much to prove.
The 49ers backs were off to a decent start in their exhibition opener against the Chiefs, rushing for 189 yards. Inversely, the team struggled to find a rhythm against the Denver Broncos on Saturday combining for just 37 yards.
In the 49ers final weeks of evaluations, it's obvious all six of the 49ers running backs will be looking to redeem themselves on Sunday against the Vikings.
"I've been places where we've kept two. The norm I would guess is three. I've been places where we've kept four. So, you never know how it's going to pan out," Shanahan said.
Last week, rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard served as the backup to Pierre Garçon. Over the first two preseason games, Beathard completed 14-of-23 passes for a total of 211 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Shanahan has not made any decisions on San Francisco's backup quarterback conundrum just yet. That also includes who will succeed Hoyer in Minnesota.
"It's going to depend how this week goes," Shanahan said.
Shanahan suggested alternating both Beathard and Matt Barkley throughout the remainder of the preseason, or at least until a decision is made.
5. Undrafted Standout
Lorenzo Jerome has continued to make an impressive run for the 49ers 53-man roster. And Shanahan seems to agree.
In the absence of Ward, Jerome has gotten first-team reps at free safety and has played the most snaps of any player on defense this preseason.
"He's gotten a lot of reps out there with the injuries down and stuff. I think he's taken advantage of his reps," Shanahan said. "There's still 10 more days to go and lots of practice time and two games to earn a spot on this team. But, if you aren't a hands-down starter on our team you better be able to contribute to special teams."
Jerome's presence on special teams totaled 24 snaps over the first two preseason games.