Editor's note: This is the fourth part in a series that spotlights five 49ers players to watch in the team's final exhibition game Thursday, 7 p.m. (KCBW-TV), vs. the San Diego Chargers at Candlestick Park.
No. 5 -- WR Nathan PalmerNo. 4 -- CB Tramaine Brock
No. 3 -- WR Chris OwusuNo. 2 -- QB Scott Tolzien
The San Diego Chargers did not take any chances with quarterback Philip Rivers. He did not suit up for the exhibition finale a year ago. And they took few chances with backup Billy Volek.So it was Scott Tolzien's time to show what he had.Tolzien completed 16 of 23 passes for 226 yards. It wasn't enough to win a job with the Chargers. They cut him. But the 49ers, the Chargers' opponent that game, claimed him off waivers. He spent his rookie season as the 49ers' No. 3 quarterback.
While the final exhibition game is the most dreadful from a spectator standpoint, Tolzien views it as an important opportunity."I think about last year," Tolzien said, "and I think a lot of times fans think about it as the last game before the regular season. For us, it's important for all of us trying to win a roster spot."In many ways, Tolzien is back in a similar situation as a year ago. This time he's competing for a job with the 49ers. And the Chargers might be interested if he becomes available.Tolzien appears to be on equal footing with veteran Josh Johnson for the No. 3 job behind starter Alex Smith and backup Colin Kaepernick.Smith is expected to start Thursday night against the Chargers, but he will not play much. Then, there will be time for Kaepernick, Tolzien and Johnson to play. Perhaps, the competition for the No. 3 job will be settled.The onus could be on Johnson to prove that he is the better option. Johnson is scheduled to earn 700,000 this season. The 49ers already awarded him a 350,000 signing bonus as part of his two-year contract. Tolzien is on the books for 465,000.There is a chance the loser in the competition ends up on another roster. That's what happened a year ago for Tolzien, as the Chargers retained just two quarterbacks.Tolzien said he tries not to think about things that are out of his control."That's one of those outside forces," Tolzien said. "You control it based on the product you're putting on the field. You want to put out good film and look back with no regrets."