The muddled situation at wide receiver became a little more clear for the San Francisco 49ers Sunday.
Jim Harbaugh announced Mario Manningham will begin the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, meaning he will miss the first six games on the schedule. Manningham will be eligible to return in Week 7's game against the Tennessee Titans.
That means San Francisco will officially begin the season without two of its top-three wideouts as Michael Crabtree continues to work his way back from his Achilles tear during OTAs in May.
"Been great feedback on Mario," Harbaugh said about Manningham's rehab process. "He’s really feeling now that he can put his leg in the ground and generate some power. (I'm) excited and he’s excited about it."
The team's situation at receiver has been a hot topic during training camp because of all the uncertainty caused by injuries. Aside from free-agent acquisition Anquan Boldin, the competition for playing time has been wide open.
But as the 49ers' third preseason game approaches, Kyle Williams and Marlon Moore appear to have locked down their roles as the second and third options. Moore started the two preseason games opposite of Boldin and has had a strong training camp. Williams has practiced since returning from November's torn ACL, but hasn't suited up this preseason.
"Kyle Williams, we feel like we know what Kyle can do and we’ve been a little bit cautious there," Harbaugh said.
That leaves eight players competing for two roster spots when camp breaks, assuming the team starts the season with five receivers on the 53-man roster.
Harbaugh was noncommittal regarding A.J. Jenkins' chances at making the team when final cuts are made, but did say the second-year player will be given more responsibilities in practice this week leading up to Sunday's exhibition game against the Vikings. Jenkins will also start working on returning kickoffs.
"Everybody has the license and ability to make the football team. There’s nobody that we discount at this point. And put them in a position to compete and let the chips fall where they may," Harbaugh said.
Rookie fourth-round pick Quinton Patton will no longer be wearing the blue jersey at practice and is likely to be to active in Sunday night's game against Minnesota to make his NFL debut.
Patton had been participating fully in the team's first 16 practices, doing everything except blocking and catching passes while dealing with an injury to his left hand. He did make one-handed catches with his right hand occasionally.
He joins the group of Jenkins, Austin Collie, Lavelle Hawkins, Kassim Osgood, Ricardo Lockette, Chad Hall and Chuck Jacobs competing for jobs at receiver.