49ers roster: 3 players who didn’t help chances in loss vs. Chiefs

Josh Rosen #3 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Josh Rosen #3 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Richie James, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Richie James (13) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: 49ers Wide Receiver Richie James

Maybe he’s in his own head. But fourth-year wide receiver Richie James should be balling out for an increased role on offense after essentially spending the last two years as a seldom-used gadget weapon.

James, who is still in the mix for one of perhaps three remaining spots at wide receiver on San Francisco’s regular-season depth chart, has been dealing with drops throughout much of training camp, and those issues didn’t disappear at all during Week 1 of the preseason.

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True, James wasn’t the only wide receiver to drop a pass from Trey Lance, and even last year’s first-round pick, Brandon Aiyuk, committed that paltry mistake early in the game. But James also suffered a similar drop along the sideline from Rosen later in the second half, totaling at least two passes that should have been hauled in.

Still, Kyle Shanahan let James return kickoffs, which seemed to indicate he’d be safe if the special teams contributions were adequate enough.

That was before depth receiver and fellow return specialist, Nsimba Webster, reeled off a 43-yard gain on a kickoff return after relieving James in this role.

Webster, who also caught two passes for 18 yards and rushed for an additional 31 yards, might now be a primary threat to James’ roster spot.

Not good for a player who was originally thought to be in the running for the 49ers’ tertiary wide receiver role behind Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel this season.

Next. 5 key storylines for 49ers' preseason opener vs. Chiefs. dark