49ers vs. Texans: 5 bubble players to watch in preseason finale

Trey Sermon #28 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Trey Sermon #28 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Amazon Prime Video. Thursday, Aug. 25. 49ers -4. 8:15 p.m. ET. 42. 2-0. 10. 2-0

The 49ers wrap up their 2022 preseason campaign against the Texans, and you’ll want to keep an eye on these five players who are on the roster bubble.

The San Francisco 49ers’ first two exhibition games of 2022 didn’t exactly resemble what fans should expect once the regular season rolls around.

For starters (speaking of starters), the bulk of first-team players were held out of both games by head coach Kyle Shanahan. Even quarterback Trey Lance saw a mere two series during the Niners’ preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers two weeks ago, and that was it.

However, Shanahan has made it clear he plans on playing Lance and a good chunk of his starters for up to two quarters when San Francisco finishes up the exhibition phase on Thursday, Aug. 25 against the Houston Texans.

Lance, obviously, is safe on the roster. Same with the bulk of starters and primary reserves.

Yet Thursday night’s game will mean a lot for players sitting squarely on the roster bubble, and you’ll want to keep an eye on these five in particular with regards to how much they’re able to impress Shanahan towards earning one of only a handful of spots left before final roster cuts are made next week.

49ers player to watch vs. Texans No. 5: Running back Trey Sermon

Second-year running back Trey Sermon might be safe solely based on the fact the 49ers used a third-round NFL Draft pick on him a year ago.

However, a season removed from his lackluster 167-yard rookie campaign, Sermon has only managed 19 yards on 11 attempts in the preseason over two games. And while the lack of impressive totals isn’t squarely on his shoulders, potentially due to a makeshift offensive line and awfully vanilla preseason play-calling, Sermon could theoretically be pushed out by younger tailbacks, namely undrafted rookie Jordan Mason, who has led the Niners with 87 rush yards over the same span.

Casting more doubt on Sermon’s roster chances, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco recently said this:

"Although he has made improvements, there is still just enough hesitation in Sermon’s style that prevents him from getting upfield quickly and maximizing his yards in the team’s runner-friendly outside zone scheme. … It should not be a surprise now that he is in a battle just to win a roster spot."

That coming from Maiocco is noteworthy. And unless Sermon finally has an impressive outing versus Houston, his roster spot could truly be in jeopardy.