Programming note: For comprehensive 49ers coverage from Santa Clara, watch SportsNet Central tonight at 6, 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
The 49ers are carrying seven wide receivers and seven defensive linemen on their 53-man roster.
Conversely, they have only two running backs.
The 49ers are heavy in some positions and light in others. And that creates some issues when it comes to determining which 46 players to suit up for games.
We look at some of those decisions in this week’s 49ers Mailbag:
Do you think the team will stay with Ellington as the third running back the entire season? (Justin Cheng)
The 49ers parted ways with LaMichael James on Monday, in part, because Bruce Ellington does everything that James does. Ellington won the return job over James – though James looked a lot more secure handling punts than Ellington during the offseason and training camp.
James was rarely used on offense. Ellington can certainly find a role for a few snaps a game on fly sweeps or, perhaps, in the backfield running the option with Colin Kaepernick.
The 49ers will keep two running backs as long as they can. But if either Frank Gore or Carlos Hyde gets banged up, they will have to add another someone as insurance at that spot.
Otherwise, the 49ers could just wait until they're confident Marcus Lattimore is ready.
Lattimore continues to work out and get stronger every day as he gets paced through a program under the direction of the strength and conditioning staff. He opened the season on the reserve/non-football injury list. He is expected to begin practicing at some point after Week 6. He could eventually be elevated to become the team’s No. 3 running back in the second half of the season.
Is Osgood going to be active, what WR/RBs will be inactive? (JJ Jackson)
There is really no reason to have veteran Kassim Osgood on the 53-man roster unless they envision him as part of their 46-man roster on game days. He is a special-teams player, first and foremost. He can also fill a game-day role as an emergency wide receiver.
Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Stevie Johnson and Bruce Ellington should be locks to suit up Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Brandon Lloyd was in uniform last week, but he did not catch a pass. Of those players, Lloyd is the player who is in the most jeopardy of being deactivated. Second-year receiver Quinton Patton is likely to be among the 49ers' inactive players again.
Will we see Tank or Dial activated for week two? (Frankie Davis)
Demarcus Dobbs and Tony Jerod-Eddie got the call to suit up against the Dallas Cowboys because of their versatility along the defensive line, as well as their contributions on special teams.
The 49ers did not have much of a pass rush. Tank Carradine could help in that area. And the 49ers got pushed around up front against the Cowboys in the run game. Perhaps, Quinton Dial can lend some assistance there.
Carradine and Dial are 2013 draft picks, and they have more upside over Dobbs and Jerod-Eddie, who entered the league as undrafted free agents. It all comes down to whether 49ers defensive line coach Jim Tomsula and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio believe the young guys are ready.
Carradine seems to be the most-likely to suit up and have a specialized role. If Corey Lemonier is unable to make an impact as a nickel pass rusher, Carradine is an option to see if he can have more success getting to the quarterback.