As the San Francisco 49ers head into Kansas City to take on the Kansas City Chiefs, there are plenty of things to look forward to regarding this game. The most notable is former Niner quarterback Alex Smith playing against his former team for the first time. But, there’s more important things as far as the Niners are concerned. Here are the things to watch regarding this preseason game.
Alex Smith vs Colin Kaepernick
I know it’s cliche to put this number 1 on the list, but this is what people are going to be most intrigued by. How will Smith perform against a defense that he knows so well? Will Kaepernick justify Jim Harbaugh’s decision to turn to him instead of Smith down the stretch last season? Those questions will play themselves out, even if it’s only for a quarter or less. This game is more important for Smith than it is for Kaepernick as Smith has a point to prove, but also Kapernick wants to continue to develop chemistry with his new receivers and build off of the solid start in the first preseason possession against the Denver Broncos.
Scott Tolzien vs Colt McCoy
This is going to be the main battle this preseason. Both guys are battling for the backup quarterback job behind Kaepernick. Neither guy really impressed in week 1 so it’s important that either Tolzien or McCoy shows some kind of separation or it will be a difficult decision for 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. Also, B.J Daniels, the fourth quarterback on the 49ers roster, might get an opportunity to play and according to Harbaugh “ is very much in the backup quarterback race,” so that could mean that we will see three guys battling for one spot. Going into this game, Tolzien has the edge by default really. He didn’t impress, but it’s just that McCoy was that bad in the first preseason game.
A.J. Jenkins vs. the rest of the receiving corp
A.J. Jenkins is in a battle to stay on the Niners this season. He has been disappointing ever since he was drafted as a first-round pick last year and he’s done nothing to repel the bust labels coming his directions this year either. He’s had an inconsistent training camp and he had an underwhelming first preseason game where he had one catch and then fumbled on that same play. Granted, he was open on a few plays, but that’s what happens in the preseason.
He’s in a battle with Chad Hall, Marlon Moore, Kassim Osgood, Ricardo Lockette, and a few other receivers for playing time behind Anquan Boldin, Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams and Michael Crabtree, once he returns from his achillies tear. The wide receiver battle should be the best battle throughout the preseason as it’s up in the air as to who the 5th,6th and maybe 7th receiver will be. This game will go a long way in determining who pulls ahead in that battle.
Battle of the Secondary
There’s a lot of guys competing for spots at cornerback as well as safety. Although rookie Eric Reid looks to have the upper hand over Craig Dahl for the starting free safety job, that’s still a battle that could change. The better battle will be for the 3rd and 4th corner. Nnamdi Asomougha, Tramaine Brock, and Perrish Cox are all battling for that spot. All three had their moments, but it was hard to get an idea of who’s ahead at this moment.
Asomough is trying to show that he can still play at the All-Pro level he was at a few years ago, so he has the most to prove. Tramaine Brock and Perrish Cox will be in the mix, with Cox maybe having the upper hand because of how well he did as a return man, as well as making some good plays in coverage.
This preseason game will be an intriguing game on a number of levels, with the position battles going on as well as Smith vs Kaepernick. Both teams are looking to build upon their first preseason game and this is just another step toward the regular season. Keeping an eye on the position battles that are going to be occurring will be a good way to keep an interest in this game.