For the first time this week at training camp, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Quinton Patton was cleared to practice. Patton has not participated fully at training camp because of a broken finger.
Before Patton went on to the field for his first practice, he revealed he broke his left digit finger after trying to catch a pass from quarterback Colt McCoy. The injury occurred last month right before the start of training camp. With only weeks before the start of the regular season and two preseason games left, Patton has little time to prove he belongs on the 53-man roster. He knows all he can do is go out and show Jim Harbaugh his skills to force the head coach to place him on the regular season roster.
I just try to compete every day, in and out. Just try to put my best foot forward and leave up it to the coaches who plays. ~ Quinton Patton
Even though this week marks the first time Patton has seen contact on the practice field, he has been participating on the sidelines. While wearing a soft cast on his left hand, he has been running routes and catching passes one-handed passes with his right hand to stay sharp. He has also spent the time learning the offensive playbook.
Patton will likely make the final roster. He gives the Niners offense a great option at the slot/No. 3 receiver spot because of his speed and good route running skills. With Mario Manningham starting the season on the PUP list, a receiver needs to step up to fill the void in the slot.
But will two preseason games and three weeks before Week 1 of the season be enough time for Patton to convince the coaches he deserves to be a starter? This is why Sunday’s third preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings will be vital to Patton and his future with the Niners.