The Denver Broncos beat the San Francisco 49ers 10-6 on the strength of Shaun Phillips’ fumble return for touchdown. In their inagaural preseason game, both quarterbacks only played one series each and the game was all about strong defense and at times, inept offense. The 49ers committed four turnovers while the Broncos only managed 220 total yards of offense. Granted it’s only the first preseason game and the overall big news is that there is football once more, but there were some interesting takeaways from the game that should impact the 49ers this upcoming season.
Kaepernick to Boldin:
Number seven only played one series but he did more than enough to show that he is ready to follow up last season’s success with an even better one this time around. In his only series, Kaepernick completed all four of his passes for 38 yards, ran the ball once for another six and guided the niners down the field for an opening drive field goal. More importantly, two of those passes were to Anquan Boldin. The communication and the chemistry appears building between the two stars which should translate for the rest of the season.
The second round draft choice out of Rice showed what we all can physically see, that he is a big, big target. McDonald, a rookie listed at 6-foot-4 and 267 pounds, was targeted eight times and finished the game with four catches for 66 yards including a 21 yard grab. He could add another weapon to this already stacked niner offense and compliment Vernon Davis nicely, especially since the departure of Delani Walker.
A.J. Jenkins struggles, Marlon Moore impresses:
“Could have been better.” Ouch, that was coach Harbaugh assessing Jenkins’ performance. Although he was the 49er receiver that saw the most snaps (38), he only managed to catch one pass and preceded to fumble. With Jenkins, the question persists if he has what it takes mentally to become the other starting wideout. Marlon Moore finished with only one reception but the surprise came when he was named the starter opposite Anquan Boldin. According to Jim Harbaugh the decision was based on practice performance and Moore responded with a nice grab. It is likely that he will see more snaps in the second game.
Young impact players on defense:
Patrick Willis will be out at least another week an maybe for the entire preseason after hand surgery and evidently, Michael Wilhoite is ready to step up. Wilhoite led the team with 10 tackles and half a sack. The second year player is a bit undersized and played mostly safety while attending Washburn but has a nose for the ball and does not miss any tackles. He is proving that he can definitely spell Willis during the season if need be. First round draft choice Eric Reid also made an impact with his six tackles including a couple of rockers in the open field. His improvement should rise with each game that passes and he will be starting if he keeps his level of play at a high.
Phil Dawson at Candlestick:
With the difficult time that David Akers had making field goals last season, the niners had to make a move and acquired Dawson. It’s an adjustment trying to kick in an unpredictable stadium like Candlestick, with the win swirling around and the occasional rain but it will be vital for him to have another season like he did in 2012 when he hit 29 of 31 field goals. Against the Broncos he went two for three which is a great start but even the veteran knows that he like everybody else on the team he must improve.