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August 22, 2013
Now or never: Pressure builds for Colt McCoy

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In June, it seemed like Colt McCoy was comfortably the No. 2 quarterback behind Colin Kaepernick. "He has been in that role since he got here," Jim 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."

In recent weeks, however, there has been mounting pressure on McCoy, obtained by the 49ers in a trade this offseason, to start delivering like a No. 2 quarterback should. A timeline:

* Aug. 7: Two days before the preseason opener, for example, Harbaugh said the competition for the No. 2 role was "very even." In the ensuing game, McCoy threw a bad interception and also hurt his shoulder. His passer rating: 22.6.

* Aug. 16: Kaepernick played only one series in the preseason opener as expected. What wasn't expected -- he played only four snaps in the next game in Kansas City while other starters around the league played a quarter or more. The 49ers A.) wanted to see more of McCoy and his primary competition, Scott Tolzien and B.) realized that the drop off after Kaepernick is significant and they couldn't afford a "freakish" injury.

* Aug. 16: When rookie B.J. Daniels outperformed McCoy and Tolzien by a wide margin in the preseason game, Harbaugh announced that his practice repetitions would grow and that there was now a three-way battle for the No. 2 role. McCoy's passer rating: 28.5.

* Aug. 19: The 49ers began placing Kaepernick in a black, no-contact jersey, reemphasizing that he's not to be touched in practice. Message: Gee whiz, we'd hate to have to go to our backups.

* Aug. 22: The 49ers sign Seneca Wallace, who hasn't been on a regular-season roster since 2011. The signal to McCoy and to Tolzien is clear - deliver on Sunday against the Vikings or you're out. Harbaugh said Wednesday that McCoy would be the second quarterback to enter the game.

-- 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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