Of all the preseason games, this one is at least mildly interesting. The Niners will likely play the starters for the whole 1st half, and they will also do a little game planning. Something absent from the first 2 games, and definitely missing from the last (scrubbini) game.
Beyond that, we will get out first sighting of Richard Sherman, our newly minted player-coach-mentor to the young secondary. I hope he plays slow and easy and saves himself for the real thing in Minnesota. As it is, the secondary, along with the defense as a whole has not been very exceptional. It has been fairly flat. Run D is decent, but we are getting little to no pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. Granted Salomon Thomas, the guy poised for a breakout year, and Arik Armstead, another guy who has been injured a little too much, bot are on the shelf for the remaining preseason. Hard to know what we have there. Jeremy Attochu looked good last week, and I hope he gets first team reps this weekend.
Of course Eli Harold and his bad angles and blown coverages has finally been jettisoned, but we have a couple unknowns in Mark Nzeocha, and Pita Taumoepenu to fill his spot. Guys who, before I started writing this, I’d never heard of or seen on the field. What they’ll likely do is move Dekoda Watson from DE to the strong side. I guess. Like I said I know nothing about Eli’s backups, and really, if they couldn’t out-play Eli, how good are they? At least they have three weeks to figure it out. As it is, Nzeocha gets the start on Saturday.
Frankly, I think the offense looks really good at this point, despite the run struggles. I think that will come around as the season progresses. My big concern is was and will be our pass rush. Good secondary play can only last so long, but a strong pass rush makes a middling secondary look great. Fred Warner looks solid in his limited play, and the LBs in general seem fine. Even the line play up the middle has been decent. Jones and Buckner have looked solid. As a whole though, the defense isn’t thrilling me. Yet.
I’m sure the regular season will be different, but again, pass rush is king.