SANTA CLARA — The San Francisco 49ers have added another quarterback to the competition to be Colin Kaepernick's backup, signing nine-year veteran Seneca Wallace to a one-year contract Thursday.
While Colt McCoy had appeared to be the favorite to win the No. 2 job coming into training camp, neither he nor Scott Tolzien have separated themselves. Even rookie B.J. Daniels has been deemed a contender, though clearly Wallace now will get a chance with little time to prepare before the Sept. 8 season opener against Green Bay.
49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said this week that Sunday's game against Minnesota would be important for all of the quarterbacks.
"I think it's going to be a big game for them, big game for all of us," Roman said. "But, I think they just need to improve really down-in, down-out consistency. The right reads, obviously making the right throws. They've done some really good stuff up 'til now, stuff that's under-the-radar type things. Again, they've had some plays that they'd love to do over again. So, it's a matter of coming out this week and having a really strong performance."
Wallace, who was competing with Luke McCown to back up Drew Brees in New Orleans, had his contract terminated by the Saints on Monday.
Coach Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday that McCoy likely would play second after Kaepernick's stint is done in Sunday night's exhibition against Minnesota at Candlestick Park. McCoy, Tolzien and Daniels each have been getting regular repetitions in practice with the No. 2 offense, Harbaugh said.
He isn't against giving a rookie the backup quarterback job, which Kaepernick had behind Alex Smith after being drafted in the second round from Nevada in 2011.
"Yes, it's OK. How that plays out, we will see," Harbaugh said. "It's OK for a veteran to be the backup."
McCoy hasn't looked sharp or comfortable this preseason, and it appears he is still trying to find his way in Harbaugh's expansive offense. He has completed 6 of 13 passes for 76 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions while also getting sacked once.
"Definitely, it's a factor," Harbaugh said of transitioning to a new team. "I don't know if it's a percentage that you're looking for. Is it a percentage you're looking for or how much? It's definitely a factor, and the good improvement this week, he's working at it very hard, it means a lot to him and it does to us, too. We're coaching him up the best we can and we'll keep striving for improvement each day."
San Francisco waived wideout Ricardo Lockette, who worked out with Kaepernick in Atlanta for a stretch this offseason along with departed A.J. Jenkins.
Also Thursday, when the players had a scheduled day off, San Francisco placed safety Darcel McBath on season-ending injured reserve and claimed linebacker Joe Holland off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Holland originally signed with San Francisco last season as an undrafted free agent before being cut Aug. 31 ahead of the season. McBath was a regular on special teams last season for the NFC champion Niners, appearing in all 16 games.