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San Francisco 49ers Week 3 Preseason Preview: 5 Developments to Watch Vs. Broncos

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COMMENTARY | The San Francisco 49ers' next preseason contest against the Denver Broncos on Sunday may not deserve any hype, but it will have plenty of noteworthy implications.

The obvious draw is Peyton Manning, who the 49ers will face for the first time in a Broncos uniform. When it comes to the makeup of the roster -- namely the backups -- there is plenty more to look for when it comes to the matchup.

Here are five keys to Sunday's Week 3 preseason game in the Mile High City.

1. The Backup Quarterback Carousel

Head coach Jim Harbaugh has said on numerous occasions that he has four NFL quarterbacks on the roster. Since it doesn't make any sense to keep all of them, it's going to come down to the wire as to who the last men standing are.

At this point, second-year man Colin Kaepernick seems to have a firm hold on the primary backup position. The question is, who will be the next in line between Josh Johnson and Scott Tolzien?

2. The Battle at Safety

The training camp battle for the backup safety role was even more intense than the quarterback situation, and it's still not sorted out. Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner lead a group that is among the league's elite ball hawks.

But C.J. Spillman, Cory Nelms, Colin Jones, and Trenton Robinson are all in the mix for a look at the backup role. Spillman has the edge, but it will be worth watching to see if he can distinguish himself even more.

3. Will A.J. Jenkins Show Up?

The rookie out of Illinois was taken with the No. 30 overall pick to the dismay of many draft experts. When he came in out of shape and struggled early in training camp, the media crushed him.

After a mediocre preseason game in Week 2 against the Houston Texans where he recorded just one catch for 32 yards after being thrown at four times, it's time to see what he can do. Because of the team's depth at wide receiver (yes, we're talking about the Niners here), Jenkins may not see the field very often come September unless he takes a big step forward.

4. Where is Anthony Dixon?

Dixon, the third-year running back out of Mississippi State has shown flashes of promise, but finds himself behind a talent-laden group of backs behind Frank Gore. Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James are key additions to the team and figure to have prominent roles when the regular season starts.

Unfortunately for Dixon, that means his roster spot is likely in jeopardy despite all of the good work he's put in in the offeseason. The game against Denver may be his last opportunity to show the 49ers what he can do as the first roster cuts come on Monday, August 26.

5. The Defense vs. Manning

It's only preseason, but the matchup against the fearsome 49ers' defense figures to be Manning's biggest test of the offseason, and in limited action, the first-teamers will do everything they can to get to the future Hall-of-Famer.

Against the Seattle Seahawks in his home debut, Manning was 16-for-23 with 177 yards in limited duty. While Seattle has a solid defense of its own, the 49ers will be true test for the four-time NFL MVP.

Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the San Francisco 49ers and the NFL. He is the Editor of Sports Out West and has previously written for Southern California's Press-Enterprise. For more insight, you can follow him on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets.

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