The San Francisco 49ers will continue their preseason schedule when they face off with the Kansas City Chiefs. They will get the chance to go against an old friend in Alex Smith. Some of the 49ers have already said that they are looking forward to playing against the former 49er quarterback. This will be an opportunity to get a look at the new look Chiefs. The 49ers will have a particular interest in the success of the Chiefs this season because one of the picks that the Chiefs gave up to get Alex Smith will improve if the team has a better record.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Eric Reid – FS The rookie safety has been getting most of the reps with the first team defense after playing a solid game last week against the Denver Broncos. He came up and filled his gaps against the run. Reid has impressed fellow safety Donte Whitner with his note taking and attention to detail in meetings. I was impressed with his presnap communication with his linebackers and fellow defensive backs. That showed that he is getting a good feel for the defensive scheme. Look for him to show continued improvement and watch how he works with the first team defense in an actual game.
Corey Lemonier – OLB Pass rushers typically show whether they are legit or not right away. Lemonier had a very good game against the Broncos. He was able to get pressure on the quarterback often. The thing that most impressed me was his ability to keep offensive linemen from getting a hold of him by using his hands. This is something that had to improve from his days in college. Watch how he plays against the Chiefs lineman and chart how many times he gets pressure.
A.J. Jenkins – WR Jenkins will be one of my players to watch for the next few games. The first round wide receiver is being pressed into action. The 49ers need to get him as many targets as possible. They will look to get him going early with the short passing game especially on slants. The Chiefs have three pretty good press corners in Brandon Flowers, Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson. The main issue with Jenkins is his confidence. He needs to get touches and get into a rhythm so he can go into the regular season with a running start. Watch his body language on the field. That will be a key indicator of how the game is going for him.
Colt McCoy – QB Jim Harbaugh has made it clear that the backup quarterback position is up for grabs. McCoy is still getting acclimated to the 49ers’ offense. He has said that he is still in trying to process everything as he gets to the line of scrimmage. He made a few good throws but was not very decisive as far as where he wanted to go with the ball when he actually had time to throw the ball. McCoy will get some reps with the first team offensive line minus Joe Staley. Look for an improvement from last week as he will have some protection.
Scott Tolzien – QB Tolzien was much fluent going through his reads and getting the ball to the right receiver thanks to his being in the offense for two years now. He has a big arm and is able to push the ball outside of the numbers with accuracy. If he is able to sit in the pocket, he will pick the defense apart. Tolzien will be looking to take a step towards establishing himself as a backup quarterback.
This will be the first time that Alex Smith goes against the team that made him the number one draft pick back in 2005. He touched on his desire to prove his doubters wrong when he said; “Every athlete wants to do that and for me it’s no different. No question. I’ve had a ton of support the last couple years there from a ton of fans, but, yeah, there are those ones out there. As much as you don’t read the paper and listen to talk radio and stuff like that, you hear it inevitably. And, yeah, you’d love to do that. Love to prove them wrong.”
NaVarro Bowman has said that he is looking forward to the meeting with Alex Smith. “We never got a chance to hit him. This time we can. We’re looking forward to it. I know Alex knows we’re coming. It’s football, man.”
Carlos Rogers on Smith; “He’ll probably come after me because we were always talking junk during practices while he was here.”
Left tackle Joe Staley did not make the trip to Kansas City with the 49ers. He will not play due to an undisclosed injury.
Rookie tight end Vance McDonald will not play in this game and possibly miss the next game also. He will not practice for another five to nine days.
Perish Cox will look to further solidify his roster spot as he gets to return kicks and punts. He will also play some nickel corner and line up at left corner in base packages.
Devon Wylie, Donnie Avery and Dexter McCluster are all very fast players that will compete for the Chiefs’ slot receiver spot. Watch how shifty Wylie and McCluster are.
Jamal Charles is not likely to play tomorrow against the 49ers.
Glenn Dorsey will be facing his former team as well. He didn’t live up to the promise of a fifth overall draft pick according to some in Kansas City. He is solid against the run and will occupy blockers.
Michael Wilhoite will have a very large group at the game. He is from nearby Topeka, Kansas and went to school at Washburn University.