OK, Final 53 decisions for Game 1 are imminent and Barry Sims is only 1 injury (to Snyder or Staley) from starting. That is reality and that is scary. IMHO, at no other position, does the fall-off in talent to the back-up, appear so severe. And OT performance is critical to the team (no ball control = tired defense = losing record).
So, what to do about this? There is apparently no other swing (one player who can back-up both LT and RT on the Game Day 45 Actives roster) in camp. McCloughan surely has been monitoring the waiver wire since Marvel Smith retired. It's possible that some aging veteran OT, might become available on Sep 5. At a minimum, I would expect the club to invite 1-2 such vets in for a work-out.
But what if the cupboard is bare? I suggest keeping the young developing Jacob Bender, who has been backing up Staley at LT, as the 3rd OT, instead of the tired and slow Sims. Here's my thinking. If Staley is hurt, Bender is well equipped to come in and finish the game at LT. If Snyder is hurt, the club could try Bender at RT to finish out that game, then have a full week to determine a longer term solution at RT, if it's a longer term injury to Snyder. With this in mind, stay alert for any snaps which Bender might take at RT in this final exhibition vs San Diego, to prepare him for a possible "swing" role.
Also count me among those who would like to see Alex Boone kept as the 4th OT or, more likely, on the PS, where he could be called-up on a week's notice, should Snyder be declared doubtful or out for an upcoming game.
Maiocco projects only 8 OL on the Final 53 for Game 1. Since the OL (not #21) is the REAL bell cow for this offense, I strongly suspect that the club will carry 9 OL, not 8, at the expense of 1 less WR, esp since Walker, Robinson and Sheets can all play WR in a pinch.
[ Edited by jimbagg on Sep 2, 2009 at 10:37:57 ]
Breaking:Round 4, Pick 15: 49ers trade up to select Utah RB Joe Williams