Scott Tolzien, who served as the 49ers' No. 3 quarterback the last two years, was one of five players waived today as the 49ers try to reach the 75-player roster limit by Tuesday. Tolzien was the only quarterback who did not play in the team's third preseason game Sunday.
Punter Colton Schmidt (UC Davis), linebacker Joe Holland, guard Al Netter and running back D.J. Harper also were released. The 49ers still must trim 10 players from their 90 man roster before Tuesday at 1 p.m. All of the players let go today, including Tolzien, are eligible for the practice squad. Of that group, Schmidt was perhaps the most impressive. His four punts this preseason averaged 50.3 yards, and he also made a tackle on a return.
The 49ers picked up Tolzien in 2011 after the Chargers released him with the intention of re-signing him to their practice squad. He never threw a pass in a regular-season game but was a valuable resource to both Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick when preparing for opponents during the week.
Tolzien beat Josh Johnson for the No. 3 spot a year ago despite the fact that Johnson had a stellar performance in that year's preseason finale while Tolzien struggled. Those struggles continued through the current preseason. Tolzien completed 18-34 passes with an interception and two other would-be interceptions that were dropped. Johnson, meanwhile, has been the No. 2 quarterback in Cincinnati this season. He has a 98.6 passer rating through two games and also has rushed for 91 yards.
After Sunday's game, Jim Harbaugh declared Colt McCoy to be Kaepernick's primary backup this season. The team also has good-looking rookie B.J. Daniels and just-signed veteran Seneca Wallace on the roster. Look for Daniels and Wallace to get the bulk of the work in Thursday's finale. Daniels is eligible for the practice squad.
It's possible that neophyte defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye also will be released. Okoye injured his knee Sunday and is unlikely to play Thursday. The 49ers likely would be able to bring Okoye back to the practice squad if they so desired. Injured reserve also is a possibility for Okoye depending on the severity of his knee injury. Okoye said Sunday it was not serious.
-- Matt Barrows