Upon further view: Competitions still wide open

Harbaugh: 'That's what it's going to be like on Sundays'

Upon further view: Competitions still wide open
August 18, 2013, 9:30 am
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Chad Hall's preseason performance stands out against the struggles of 2012 first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins. (USA TODAY IMAGES)


Colt McCoy's running ability may give him a leg up in the competition to win the 49ers' backup quarterback job. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

SANTA CLARA -- Through two exhibition games, there does not appear to be much clarity at three of the team's important position battles.

The competitions at wide receiver and backup quarterback are cluttered -- as nobody has seized those open jobs. Meanwhile, the cornerback picture is a little murky only because everyone has played well.

Here are some thoughts after the 49ers' 15-13 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday:

[RECAP: 49ers sack Alex Smith three times in 15-13 win]

--Veteran cornerback Sean Smith definitely won his battle against A.J. Jenkins, who was easily re-routed by the Chiefs 6-foot-3, 218-pound cornerback and had difficulty gaining any separation.

The 49ers are not doing Jenkins any favors by playing him at split end. That places him on the line of scrimmage and a cornerback can line up in Jenkins' face. Jenkins does not have the upper-body strength to power through press coverage. Jenkins would be better-served playing flanker, where he'd have a little more room to operate to utilize his quickness. The 49ers have the much-more-powerful Anquan Boldin starting at flanker.

Jenkins had a 21-yard reception (the play did not count due to Daniel Kilgore's holding penalty). But for the second time in two games, a pass intended for Jenkins was intercepted. Jenkins might have been able to play defender and at least try to break it up.

--Does wide receiver Marlon Moore have his spot on the roster assured? That's what you'd think based on his two starts and limited playing time in the first two games. It's difficult to believe he has shown enough in practices to guarantee a roster spot, but that seems to be the case. After all, if he does not make it, he would have quite a gripe with the way he's been handled.

[RELATED: 49ers playing time: Short night for starter Moore]

--Chad Hall has made a strong case for a roster spot. He ran a nice corner route and had three steps on Dunta Robinson but Colin Kaepernick overthrew a sure touchdown pass on the opening drive.

--All the other receivers have had ample opportunities throughout the offseason program and training camp to show what they can do. Now, the 49ers must really focus on late-additions Austin Collie and Lavelle Hawkins to see where they stand in the competition. Collie had an 11-yard reception, while Hawkins caught two passes for 20 yards.

--Rookie Quinton Patton has been cleared to resume catching passes with both hands, as he demonstrated in warmups Friday evening. He is assured a roster spot. But where, exactly, he fits into the offense will be determined in the next two weeks.

--Quarterback Colt McCoy demonstrated the aspect of his game that gives him an advantage over Scott Tolzien for the backup job. McCoy can make plays with his feet. He rushed for 37 yards on four attempts.

Now, it seems the 49ers almost have to keep B.J. Daniels on the 53-man roster. If they expose him to waivers with the plan of bringing him back to the practice squad, some team will claim him. Because of his strong arm (he has the most arm talent on the team behind Kaepernick) and his running ability, Daniels now has a legitimate chance to open as the No. 2.

--Does Kaepernick need to play longer? Of course, he is likely to see more than four snaps in the upcoming game against the Minnesota Vikings. But Kaepernick has been on-point and sharp throughout training camp, it's not a necessity. His importance to the team has been amplified by the drop-off behind him.

[RELATED: Kap's night: One block, one completion, one FG drive]

--Veteran cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha had a good showing against the Chiefs, as the 49ers continue their search for a third and fourth cornerback. Twice, he was able to run and run with Kansas City wide receiver Jon Baldwin. He even made a hit on quarterback Alex Smith on a corner blitz.

In fact, each of the 49ers' cornerbacks held up very well.

Perrish Cox had another strong game in coverage, as well as showing his versatility with a two sacks and a 30-yard kickoff return.

Alex Smith did not complete a pass to a wide receiver. Baldwin was open for what would've been an 18-yard pass play against Tramaine Brock, but Baldwin dropped Smith's well-thrown pass. Brock remains the front-runner to win the No. 3 job that Chris Culliver held the past two seasons. Culliver is out for the season with a torn ACL.

[RELATED: Smith takes lumps against 49ers defense]

--Rookie safety Eric Reid did not start the 49ers' first two exhibition games, but he appears to on pace to start the season-opener Sept. 8 against the Green Bay Packers. Reid has performed well in the first two games. The third exhibition game would be a logical place for him to make his starting debut. That way, he'll get to play the first half against the Vikings' starting offense.

 --Defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye played just four defensive snaps. No, this is not a matter of the 49ers "hiding" Okoye. As several coaches and Okoye himself have stated, Okoye is a bad football player. Okoye does not factor at all for a spot on the 53-man roster. But he could be on the team's practice squad. But what's important now, is that he learns the game, and the 49ers want to take precautions to ensure -- as best they can -- that he avoids injuries.

--There really is competition for the 49ers' long-snapper job. Of course, Brian Jennings has not given the 49ers any reason to look elsewhere. But if the 49ers release rookie Kevin McDermott, he might not be out of a job for long.