Preseason football isn't so much about winning or losing games, but it is about winning competitions. And these 49ers were on the losing end of their efforts Sunday.
The San Francisco 49ers lost their preseason opener last Sunday to the Las Vegas Raiders by a score of 34-7. And, if it weren't for the fact that quarterback Trey Lance got a bit lucky on his touchdown pass to tight end Ross Dwelley, which should have been intercepted, the Niners could have easily been shut out.
But they weren't, and preseason scores don't matter anyway. So, who cares?
Well, the ones who do care are those players who are far from guaranteed a roster spot. Particularly on a stacked team like San Francisco, there isn't a lot of room for error. One gaffe, one penalty, lining up in the wrong spot, losing a turnover or whatever... those are the mistakes that can cost a fringe player a roster spot on head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad.
In the wake of last Sunday's exhibition defeat, these fringe 49ers did little to improve their already small roster chances.
49ers tight end Cameron Latu
Usually, third-round NFL Draft picks are cut a little slack when it comes to rookie-year gaffes, especially early on in training camp and the preseason. They're day-two draftees, after all.
But tight end Cameron Latu, who reportedly had a very rough camp in the weeks leading up to the preseason, did not impress much at all against the Raiders. Not only did the former Alabama product struggle in blocking, but he also fumbled the only reception he got during the game, and that turnover led to a Vegas touchdown.
Latu had issues in camp with drops, so this most recent event won't help his odds behind other tight ends like George Kittle, Ross Dwelley, Charlie Woerner and even another rookie, Brayden Willis.