Jim Harbaugh today said he expected Colin Kaepernick would play a series or two in Thursday's exhibition season opener against Denver before giving way to the No. 2 quarterback? Who's the No. 2 quarterback? In early June, the 49ers coach said Colt McCoy was comfortably in that spot.
"He has been in that role since he got here," Harbaugh said at the time. "He's doing very well, picking up the system. And a guy that is really serious and focused on being good and doing a good job. He's got a lot of things that motivate him to work hard. And he's worked extra hard, too. He's doing well."
Today, however, Harbaugh painted a fuzzier picture. "It's very even," he said of the backup spots. "And very much looking forward to the games and future practices to determine. We're not clear cut at that position." He was then asked if rookie B.J. Daniels was part of that mix. "Yes, yes," he said.
Harbaugh said that there were battles for roster spots up and down the roster and was excited that there was more competition this year than in the previous two years. Of course, that's the message every NFL coach wants to send to his team on the eve of their first preseason game.
Harbaugh said that Patrick Willis (hand) would not play against the Broncos and that other veterans like Frank Gore and Justin Smith (finger) might not play, either. Michael Wilhoite is likely to start for Willis, LaMichael James likely would start in place of Gore and Demarcus Dobbs would take Justin Smith's spot.
Harbaugh would not say whether A.J. Jenkins would start at wide receiver. He said it might depend on the formation the 49ers use on their first offensive play.
-- Matt Barrows