What we learned in 49ers' preseason finale loss to Texans


HOUSTON — The 49ers wrapped up their preseason on Thursday night with a 17-0 loss to the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium.

Now, the club has five days to whittle their roster down to the regular-season limit of 53 players. All teams must trim their rosters by 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday.

Here are three takeaways from the 49ers’ third and final preseason game:

Quarterback competition?

The 49ers have four quarterbacks on their 80-man roster. Trey Lance, who completed 7 of 11 passes for 49 yards against the Texans, is the no-questions-asked starter.

And Jimmy Garoppolo is listed as the team’s No. 4 quarterback, as coach Kyle Shanahan recently said, only because they have to list everyone on their depth chart.

Veteran Nate Sudfeld re-signed with the 49ers this off season with a fully guaranteed $2 million contract. But Brock Purdy, the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, has opened eyes with his steady and consistent play.

Purdy was a four-year starter at Iowa State, and that experience was valuable this summer as he did not look overwhelmed with his transition to the NFL.

Sudfeld entered the game Thursday after Lance played three series. Sudfeld completed 5 of 10 passes for 49 yards while throwing one interception.

Purdy made the throws of the night. He lofted a 26-yard pass to Jauan Jennings into traffic down the middle of the field. He also found tight end Ross Dwelley for a 30-yard completion down the field in the third quarter.

Purdy completed 13 of 20 passes for 182 yards while throwing one interceptions as he continued his bid for a spot on the 49ers’ roster.

Defensive back shuffle

The 49ers did not suit up starting cornerback Charvarius Ward and Emmanuel Moseley, as they took no chances with key players who are returning from injuries.

Also, general manager John Lynch revealed before the game that free safety Jimmie Ward is likely to miss at least the first four games of the regular season due to a hamstring injury.

There is competition to fill Jimmie Ward’s starting role. Talanoa Hufanga appears set at one safety position. George Odum lined up with the first-team defense on Thursday. Tarvarius Moore and newly signed veteran Tashaun Gipson are possibilities, too.

Rookie Sam Womack, who started right cornerback, broke up a Davis Mills pass in the end zone that Moore collected for the interception in the end zone. Fellow rookie Tariq Castro-Fields started at left cornerback.

Tough calls at running back

The 49ers appear to have six quality running backs with spots on the final roster for only four of those players.

Trey Sermon, a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, got off to a strong start on Thursday before running into difficulties finding anywhere to run. Sermon gained 20 yards on eight rushing attempts.

RELATED: Sherman: 49ers' QB situation 'most awkward' ever

Sermon is in competition to make the team or carve out a role in the offense. Elijah Mitchell continues to rehab a hamstring injury but should be in line to resume his role as the team’s top running back at the start of the regular season.

Jeff Wilson Jr., Ty Davis-Price, JaMycal Hasty and undrafted rookie Jordan Mason all made convincing cases for spots on the team’s 53-man roster. Wilson started Thursday’s game and saw his only action of the preseason. He carried three times for 16 yards.

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