49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

September 4, 2011
49ers sign Tolzien, increase their QB prospects

The 49ers added former Charger Scott Tolzien, their opponent in Thursday's finale, to the active roster, according to Tolzien's agent, a move that prompted them to say goodbye to former Sacramento State quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson. Bethel-Thompson had been added to the practice squad earlier in the day, according to his agent, but became expendable when the team added Tolzien to the 53-man roster. Both are rookies.

tolzien.jpg

Tolzien (6-3, 205) completed 74.3% of his passes at Wisconsin last year, one of the best percentages in the nation, and he ranked fourth nationally in passer rating. However, he went undrafted in April. The 49ers were one of the teams that were interested in signing him as a free agent in July but he went to San Diego instead because the Chargers, unlike the 49ers, did not use a high draft pick on a quarterback.

Tolzien was 16-23 for 226 yards with one touchdown and one interception in Thursday's loss to the 49ers. He also ran one time for 18 yards and finished with a 97.4 passer rating. The Chargers had wanted to add him to their practice squad.

While rounding out the 49ers' numbers at quarterback and giving them a bright future under center, the new addition doesn't exactly stabilize the position this season. Tolzien is a rookie, and the 49ers' No. 2 quarterback will remain second-round pick Colin Kaepernick, who threw five interceptions and no touchdowns in four preseason appearances. The team cut veteran Josh McCown Saturday and perhaps could pick him up -- he's coaching high school in North Carolina -- during the season if they're in a jam.

Furthermore, the 49ers' offensive line has done a poor job protecting starter Alex Smith in the exhibition season. Jim Harbaugh said Saturday that he was "confident" about going into the season with Kaepernick as his top backup.

In other news, the Rams will sign former 49ers offensive lineman Tony Wragge, according to a league source. Wragge had a strong preseason but was squeezed but was the odd man out in a numbers game at offensive line.

Linebacker Keaton Kristick, who is dealing with an ankle injury, was released from the 53-man roster to make room for Tolzien. Kristick is eligible for the practice squad. Players already added to the squad can be found here.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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