Majority of the roster should be already decided, but a few players need to make sure they're job is secure and not taking anything lightly. LB Michael Wilhoite will be the expected Week 1 starting ILB alongside Patrick Willis as he fills in for NaVorro Bowman to begin the 2014 year, but defensive coordinator Vic Fangio didn't fully commit to him on Tuesday.
"He hasn’t proven that yet totally, but we’ll wait to after Thursday," Fangio said. Give these younger guys a good, healthy dose of snaps and see if they can make some progress. We’re confident in Mike and we think he’ll do fine in there like he did last year in those couple games he played.”
The other development will be Ian Williams playing in his second preseason game, after he only had a handful of snaps on Sunday. With the bicep injury to Glenn Dorsey, Williams should be the starting NT for the opening week while Quinton Dial and possibly Tony Jerod-Eddie are the reserves.
With the off the field issues for Aldon Smith, it is presumed he will be suspended, but Fangio has already been prepared for whatever happens to him. Corey Lemonier and Dan Skuta filled in as excellent reserves when Smith missed five games while in rehab for the 2013 season.
"Because you have a feeling something may happen at this point in the season, everybody’s getting reps now," Fangio said of a possible suspension. "All the guys that may play for him, [LB Dan] Skuta, [LB Corey] Lemonier, [LB Aaron] Lynch, [LB Chase] Thomas, all those guys have been getting a lot of reps so they’re all ready to go. It’s more of an issue when it happens in the middle of the season, just thrown on you like it happened last year. And then there’s no time to adjust, you just go.”
The 49ers last preseason game in Houston will be at 5:00 p.m. PT and can be seen on KPIX.