Five 49ers to watch: 1. Josh Johnson

Five 49ers to watch: 1. Josh Johnson
August 18, 2012, 10:17 pm
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(This is the final part in a series that spotlights five 49ers players to watch in the team's exhibition game Saturday, 5 p.m., at the Houston Texans.)

Part 1: Mike Person
Part 2: Trenton Robinson
Part 3: A.J. Jenkins
Part 4: Chris Owusu
When the 49ers signed quarterback Josh Johnson to a two-year contract in the offseason with a 350,000 signing bonus, it was a popular thought that he could give Alex Smith a run for his money.Johnson, a four-year veteran, was Josh Freeman's backup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was coming to the 49ers to play for the man, Jim Harbaugh, who helped transform him into a record-breaking passer at the University of San Diego.But Johnson was never in the mix to challenge Smith for the starting job. And second-year player Colin Kaepernick has emerged as the front-runner to retain his role as the 49ers' No. 2 quarterback, Harbaugh said this week.
Suddenly, it's no sure thing that Johnson is even the third-best quarterback on the roster. Scott Tolzien, who played well in the first exhibition game, appears to be even with Johnson for the No. 3 job.Johnson is scheduled to be the third quarterback to enter Saturday's game against the Houston Texans. After an inconsistent week of practice, Johnson needs a good performance to keep from losing ground in the race for a roster spot.Either way, the 49ers will have a difficult decision to make when it comes to sorting out the backup quarterback situation."We'll do what's best for our football team, what we feel like helps be a better team and win games," Harbaugh said. "This is one of those things that was foreseen that we have four very good quarterbacks. These are four quarterbacks who'll play a very long time in this league. We knew it would be very competitive."There are things that are taking shape, but these games are very important, as we knew they would be. Thought that it would come down to some of these games and how they'd play in practice and the games as being equally as important."