49ers notes: Mike Person holds lead in competition over Joshua Garnett

Matt Maiocco
NBC Sports BayArea

Coach Kyle Shanahan gave a progress report on the only unresolved starting offensive position.

Mike Person, the only player competing for the right guard spot who has remained healthy since the beginning of training camp, has the inside track to line up with the starters when the 49ers open the season Sept. 9 against the Minnesota Vikings. The 49ers signed Person to a one-year contract as a free agent in the offseason.

"I would say it's his job to lose right now or however you want to say it," Shanahan said.

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Joshua Garnett, however, has placed himself in contention for the job, though he still might not be all the way back from a knee condition that kept him out for two weeks earlier in camp.

"Josh could beat him out," Shanahan said. "But Person has been the most consistent since Day 1, and he's had a real good camp. We'll see what happens these last few days.

"Josh definitely helped himself out last week. I'm glad we've got another game to watch it. We had a good practice today where we'll still get to evaluate when we get in there. I look forward to watching him on Thursday."

The 49ers will rest most of their starters for the final exhibition game of the summer on Thursday night against the Los Angeles Chargers. Garnett will definitely play, Shanahan said, but he said he had not yet determined whether Person will suit up for the game.

Gardner Made Impression

Humboldt State's record-setting running back Ja'Quan Gardner kept working out in Ceres, hoping for a phone call from an NFL team. That call came Monday night, and he was on the road shortly thereafter to join the 49ers in Santa Clara.

Gardner will suit up for the 49ers on Thursday, wearing No. 38, as the team wanted another running back in uniform to get through the final exhibition game. Jerick McKinnon (calf) and Matt Breida (shoulder) will not play. Joe Williams (ribs) is questionable. And the 49ers are not likely to give much (if any) action to veteran Alfred Morris, who seems to have his spot on the 53-man roster assured. Also, Raheem Mostert, a special-teams ace, is not expected to see much playing time.

That leaves Jeremy McNichols, Jeff Wilson and Gardner as the only running backs who could see action throughout the game. Gardner took part in the 49ers' rookie minicamp as a tryout player. Gardner made a strong enough impression to get the emergency call.

"He was a guy who picked the stuff up in the weekend he was here," Shanahan said. "We liked him as a person. We always liked his college tape, and he ran well while he was here. We're down some guys and we wanted to make sure we got another guy in here and he was a guy that we had on our short list since he was here in the tryout camp."

This ‘N' That

With Jimmy Garoppolo being held out of the final preseason game, backup quarterback C.J. Beathard will start Thursday and Nick Mullens will be next to enter. The 49ers also hope to get undrafted rookie Jack Heneghan into the action for the first time this summer, Shanahan said. . . The 49ers moved cornerback Tyvis Powell to strong safety for last week's game at Indianapolis, in essence taking over for Chanceller James, whom the 49ers waived on Tuesday. "I thought he did a good job," Shanahan said of Powell. "He hadn't been at it for too long, so there was a lot on his plate just X's and O's-wise. But he showed it wasn't too big for him." . . . Linebacker Reuben Foster remains in the concussion protocol but has not yet been ruled out to play Thursday. Foster will be sidelined for the first two games of the regular season due to a suspension for violations of the NFL's policies on substances of abuse and personal conduct.

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