The much anticipated return of San Francisco 49ers football is here. The Denver Broncos come into the Bay to go against the 49ers in a preseason matchup of two teams that are expected to contend for a Super Bowl championship. There are some jobs to be earned on both sides of the ball for the 49ers. This is something that Jim Harbaugh said he is very excited about with this particular preseason opener.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
A.J. Jenkins WR – Jenkins is a player that this franchise is ready to see take hold of a contributing roster spot. He has been targeted very often since he came back from his hamstring injury. The 49ers will look to give him every chance possible to standout in the preseason games.
Tremaine Brock CB – Brock was thrust into the nickel spot once Chris Culliver went down with a torn ACL. This is a role that he had two years ago before getting injured in 2011. Brock has been a special teams standout and is the top option at left corner back when Carlos Rogers moves inside to cover the slot.
Nnamdi Asomugha CB – The 49ers agreed to a prove it deal with Nnamdi. He is looking to prove that the bad years with the Philadelphia Eagles are in the past. Hopefully he will get to matchup against the big receivers, Demayrius Thomas and Eric Decker that the Broncos have. Keep your eyes on Nnamdi and see if he is able to press the receivers at the line of scrimmage. He gives the 49ers a big body corner that can matchup with bigger receivers.
Anquan Boldin WR – This game will be the start of the game day chemistry between Boldin and Colin Kaepernick. Kaerpernick said that he is looking forward to getting the chance to work with Boldin in an actual game situation.
Vance McDonald TE – McDonald will possibly be the most impactful rookie on the offensive side of the ball. He is a tight end that has good size, above average ability to move in space and very soft hands. The 49ers have spent a good portion of the red zone practice finding ways to get the ball to him.
Eric Reid FS – Reid will be expected to be the starter at some point but he will have to earn the starting job at free safety. Watch how he plays in space against the passing game. He is known for being a rangy player. Also, don’t be surprised when he brings the crowd to their feet as he comes up to lay a big hit on ball carriers.
Their are position battles at most positions. The backup quarterback position is still up for grabs according to Jim Harbaugh. He said that Colt McCoy is still not the clear cut backup. Harbaugh mentioned Scott Tolzien and B.J. Daniels as still being in the mix.
Ian Williams and Demarcus Dobbs will be players to watch on the defensive line. Justin Smith pointed the two players out as young guys who have steadily improved. Glenn Dorsey was a new addition to the line as well. He is a solid player against the run.
Patrick Willis is done for the preseason. Vic Fangio talked about the depth at inside linebacker recently. He mentioned Michael Wilhoite and Nate Stupar as options. Nick Moody is still learning the position but he will get some time as well.
Eric Mangini will be in the booth with Greg Roman as he calls the plays for the offense. He was brought in to give the offense a better idea of what defenses will do to stop them.
Ed Donatell was with the Broncos for two years (2009 and 2010). He was the defensive backs coach there. Perish Cox was also a member of the Denver Broncos before coming to the 49ers.
Roger Craig will kickoff a series of events throughout the year to highlight great moments at Candlestick park. Craig was a member of three of the five 49ers’ Super Bowl teams (1984, 1988 and 1989).
The Broncos will be looking for some answers as well. Right now former 49er, Mike Adams is penciled in as one of the starters at safety next to Rahim Moore. Duke Ihenacho is a local product (San Jose St) that has gotten snaps with the first team and has made some plays that may allow him to take over for Adams.
The backup quarterback spot is one that the Broncos feel is locked up. Brock Osweiler has improved his ability to get the ball downfield and will test the 49ers’ secondary. He is still developing into a player that can command the Broncos’ no huddle offense.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will dress but he will not play due to a high ankle sprain. Champ Bailey will see some time but most of the game will feature Omar Bolden and Kayvon Webster at corner back.
San Francisco 49er football is finally back for another great season. Enjoy the game!