It's not that the fourth and final preseason game doesn't matter, because it does. Starting players have their last tune-ups, however briefly, before roster competitions reach their combustion points.
It's that the fourth and final preseason games doesn't matter... as much. As much as the other exhibitions. As much as the regular-season opener or any of the games that really count come the fall and winter.
So why wouldn't Andy Lee -- San Francisco's 10th-year punter -- be a bit experimental on Thursday night against the similarly playing-it-safe San Diego Chargers?
Enter Lee's in-progress "knuckle punt." The three-time Pro Bowler pick would like to attempt the unusual punt around midfield in his team's exhibition send-off.
"It's definitely something I want to do in a game to see how it actually happens in a live situation," Lee told Mindi Bach of CSNBayArea.com. "In practice, you can do things and you can mimic as much as you can, but you never really know how a new thing you're going to do is going to react in a game situation. So I'd love to hopefully be able to pull it out and try it and see if it's something I can work in my regular routine."
For more storylines surrounding the team, check out this edition of Morning Tailgate links.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote about the impressive preseason of veteran Nnamdi Asomugha.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee* *identified five key players to watch on Thursday night.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com* *picked out five storylines as well.
Andy Benoit of The MMQB previewed the 49ers season.
Will Brinson of CBSSports.com did the same but reached a different conclusion.
Spike.com* *produced a training camp video with the likes of Donte Whitner, Alex Boone and Bruce Miller.
49ers.com* *pointed out the 10 most important topics to discuss against the Chargers.
* * CLIP OF THE DAY: