49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 30, 2012
Just how hot a commodity is Scott Tolzien?


Allow me to begin this post by saying I don't know who the 49ers like more, Scott Tolzien or Josh Johnson. I suspect it's Tolzien, but only because the 49ers truly pursued him, first after the 2011 draft and then again after he was waived by the Chargers a year ago. I also think that Jim Harbaugh loves having a workaholic, gym rat, study freak like Tolzien at the bottom of the roster because it pushes everyone above him. Tolzien sat down with a bunch of undrafted rookies this week and told a story of how important Exhibition Game No. 4 is. Harbaugh must have loved that. I picture a tear trickling down his cheek as he read the accounts.

But I also doubt, if the 49ers waived Tolzien in an effort to get him on the practice-squad roster, whether he'd be the red-hot commodity everyone thinks he'd be. There's a sense that the Chargers, still smarting from seeing Tolzien stolen away by the 49ers last year, would return the favor this year.

Nah. The Chargers have gone with just two quarterbacks on their 53-man roster in recent years - which is the reason they waived Tolzien last year - and probably will do so again this year with Phillip Rivers and Charlie Whitehurst. They also have their own Tolzien this year in Jarrett Lee.

In fact, most teams have their own Tolzien on the roster, and in many cases they used a cherished draft pick to acquire that developmental quarterback. The Chargers are part of a league-wide trend of keeping two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster and developing the third on the practice squad. Which is to say, if the 49ers really believed they had four starting-caliber quarterbacks, they probably could keep all four around in 2012.

-- Matt 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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