Cornerback Green among 49ers’ 20 cuts
SAN FRANCISCO – As coach Mike Singletary picked his team, he chose the 53 players he believes can get the San Francisco 49ers back to their winning ways of earlier this decade.
A pretty straightforward criteria for a coach eager to make things right with this franchise.
“We wanted to have 53 guys who give us the best opportunity to win,” Singletary said Saturday, a day after San Francisco wrapped up a 3-1 exhibition schedule with a 26-7 loss at San Diego.
Veteran cornerback Eric Green was among 20 players cut by the 49ers on Saturday to get their roster down to 53, the odd man out in a deep and experienced secondary.
Receiver Jason Hill won a spot by beating out Dominique Zeigler, who didn’t make the team after injuring his ankle against the Chargers. Hill expressed frustration Friday night in his lack of reps so far.
“The biggest thing is when he had the opportunities he stepped up and made plays,” Singletary said.
Veteran receiver Arnaz Battle, whose status was uncertain when training camp began, also made the team. The Niners had significant depth at wideout but Brandon Jones is sidelined until later this month with a broken shoulder and first-round pick Michael Crabtree still hasn’t signed.
Battle led the receivers in catches in 2006 and ’07 but was limited to nine games last year because of injuries.
Running back Kory Sheets, who signed in April as a free agent and was expected to make the team as a third-stringer behind Frank Gore and Glen Coffee, also was waived.
Tight end Bear Pascoe, a sixth-round selection this year out of Fresno State, was the lone draft pick to be cut. San Francisco also let go tight end Joe Jon Finley and might look for a blocking tight end before the season starts. The 49ers open the regular season Sept. 13 at Arizona.
“For him, it’s just getting used to the speed of the NFL, getting used to seeing guys who are big and fast and coming at you and you’ve got to block them,” Singletary said of Pascoe. “That’s a big part of his game and I’m not sure coming out of Fresno he was used to guys this big and this fast.”
The 49ers already had cut veteran quarterback Damon Huard on Wednesday, making rookie Nate Davis the team’s No. 3 QB.
Green signed with the Niners on Aug. 20. He spent the last four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, then signed with the Miami Dolphins as an unrestricted free agent on March 12 this year before being released Aug. 19.
In 51 NFL games, he has 146 career tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
“He kind of came in on the tail end,” Singletary said. “We spent a lot of time talking about different coverages. I think it’s just unfortunate he came in so late. It made it tough for him to make a contribution.”
Undrafted rookie linebacker Diyral Briggs earned a spot with a strong preseason.
“Briggs making the roster in indication we believe in him,” Singletary said.
The other cuts were: tackles Jacob Bender and Alex Boone, receivers Dobson Collins and Maurice Price, defensive end Pannel Egboh, cornerback Terrail Lambert, guard Kyle Howard, fullbacks Brit Miller and Bill Rentmeester, defensiv
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