FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
Here are five things to watch in the 49ers' exhibition opener Thursday at Baltimore:
1. No Bo: Michael Wilhoite is expected to get first crack at subbing for linebacker NaVorro Bowman, last season's defensive star who'll rehab his knee into November. Rookie Chris Borland should push Wilhoite, as might Nick Moody and Shayne Skov.
2. Offensive line shuffle: The once-stable line has a different look, at least for the opener, with center Daniel Kilgore, right guard Joe Looney and right tackle Jonathan Martin. Kilgore is competing with rookie Marcus Martin. Looney is benefiting from Alex Boone's holdout. Jonathan Martin, the former Stanford and Dolphins tackle, is filling in for Anthony Davis (shoulder).
3. Happy returns: LaMichael James (elbow) is likely sidelined all exhibition season, leading to auditions on punt and kickoff returns for Perrish Cox, Bruce Ellington, Devon Wylie, Quinton Patton and Carlos Hyde.
4. Corner the market: Starter Tramaine Brock likely is out, and so might be Chris Culliver, but the 49ers need to know which reserves to keep and what top draft pick Jimmie Ward looks like at nickel back. Making their 49ers debuts will be Chris Cook and rookies Dontae Johnson and Kenneth Acker.
5. Nosing around: Mike Purcell, Tony Jerod-Eddie and Quinton Dial will get cracks at nose tackle. Dial (6-5, 318) has been a physical dynamo in camp. This job opened when Glenn Dorsey tore his left biceps Friday.
-- CAM INMAN