NFL football was back in the Bay area as the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos kicked off their 2013 preseason at Candlestick Park. There where some players that stepped up while others were a disappointment. Jim Harbaugh was looking forward to seeing guys compete for jobs. The injury bug struck again, but we are yet to know what degree.
The first thing that we need to address is the stellar play of Eric Reid. He worked mostly with the 3rd defense today. He had a big hit on Julius Thomas which was his first tackle as a pro. He said some of his teammates were making fun of him because he could have hit Thomas even harder. The thing that showed up for Reid today was his physical nature. He is an aggressive safety that will come up in the box and make tackles.
The stat sheet won’t record it but he had a very good play when Dan Skuta got one of his sacks against backup quarterback Brock Osweiler. Osweiler was looking for one of his receivers on a quick out. Reid read the play right away and jumped the route which caused Osweiler to pull the ball back down and take a sack by Skuta. It was a very heads up play by Reid and it was clear that he knew where the quarterback wanted to go.
Vance McDonald showed that he can be a weapon in this offense. He had four receptions for 66 yards. He made a very good leaping catch for a first down on a corner route from Colt McCoy. He also had a nice 21 yard catch and run late in the game. Unfortunately, he had two drops. Colin Kaepernick said that McDonald “Had some great plays but also had some plays that he should have made. He’s a rookie so you may expect that but he has a great future.”
A.J. Jenkins was expected to really step up in this game. He did get targeted a few times but unfortunately, he only had one catch for 11 yards. He fumbled the ball trying to get extra yardage after he broke a tackle. There were a few other targets for him but they fell incomplete. Initially, he looked fast in his routes but that changed as the game went on.
Marlon Moore got the start at X and made a few plays to the delight of Jim Harbaugh. He said the start was “based on practice. He made a spectacular catch and was overall solid in all of his assignments.”
The first team offense got off to a very good start. It seemed like they were working to get things going at a faster pace. “we were looking to just come out and make sure we have a good tempo and that we were running plays so that the play clock still had time left on the clock.” There was a rhythm to the offense on the first drive which ended in a 32 yard field goal by Phil Dawson.
Kaepernick was able to connect with Anquan Boldin for two first downs during the drive. He also completed a pass for a first down to Vernon Davis thanks to a nice play action call. The offense looked good, but the perfectionist that Kaepernick is strived for more. “We have a few things that we need to improve on. Everything, we need to be more efficient.”
Perish Cox had a really good game in a few aspects. He started at kickoff returns. He had a punt return of 15 yards along with a nice kickoff return. His play at right corner along with in the nickel was stellar as well. I spoke to Perish after the game and he was really pleased with his play. He showed that he is ready to compete for a chance to contribute. Harbaugh praised Cox as well by saying that he showed solid play.
The inside linebackers struggled a bit today, specifically Nate Stupar. He missed a good amount of tackles which is not something that the 49ers are used to from their inside linebackers. Michael Wilhoite got his first start and actually played well. He recorded ten total tackles and was a part of a sack as well. Nick Moody unfortunately suffered an injury to his leg that looked like it was his knee. After the game, he said it was his hamstring.
Colt McCoy spoke about how he didn’t want to come out of the game right away after he injured his shoulder. He wanted to stay on the sideline because he was in his first game with a new team and was proud to have the 49ers’ jersey on. He will have an MRI on the shoulder in the morning.
Dan SKuta looked good at outside linebacker as he registered two sacks on the night.
Anthony Dixon had seven carries for 27 yards but did have over 40 yards taken back because of holding calls on Carter Bykowski and Wayne Tribue.
Local product Duke Inhenacho showed exactly why the Broncos’ coaching staff has been high on him in camp. He was very aggressive coming up making plays against the run. He is a product of San Jose State.
Phil Dawson was two for three on field goal attempts. He missed one from 44 yards as it was wide left.
Carlos Rogers did a good job covering Wes Welker in the slot especially on a third down where Aldon Smith got pressure on Peyton Manning and tipped the ball.
Scott Tolzien and Colt McCoy both threw one interception.
The 49ers will travel to Kansas City and face former quarterback Alex Smith next Friday.