The 2009 San Francisco 49ers ended their pre-season against the San Diego Chargers in Qualcomm Stadium last Friday evening by losing 26-7 and ending with a (3-1) record that left them almost in electric shock offensively as Shaun Hill looked mediocre at best and the passing game remains in a state of limbo.
The last pre-season game is a game where you see the youngest of talent going head to head and toe to toe to define their individual standings as contributors to professional football. Most of these young athletes are auditioning for possible roster spots with other professional teams that may be interested in their services should the talent they have falter. When the final cuts came down there was as always some surprises but nothing rather shocking.
There wasn't a lot to take out of this particular game against the San Diego Chargers who essentially rested almost all of their premier first-team players for the start of the regular season this coming Sunday. Nonetheless the limited amount of time Shaun Hill played completing 3-of-4 passes for 20 total yards and a quarterback rating of 85.4% really did nothing to convince us that all is well with our ability to move the ball through the air.
Protection for Shaun Hill and any other quarterback that is destined to be behind that revamped offensive line is critical should we have any chance of moving the ball on third downs and securing a passing attack that seems to be lacking in brains and brawn as there hasn't been any sort of accuracy or consistency to speak of.
Shaun Hill was pressured often and even sacked early within the game as the Chargers unleashed its linebackers against a withering line when it comes to securing Hill within the pocket and allowing him ample time to make his reads on a variety of potential targets. Nate Davis played the majority of the game completing 13-of-23 passes for 115 total yards and one touchdown. He was sacked once and threw an interception as well, which cast a shadow on his previous performance back in Dallas. However valuable playing time was accomplished and his ability to lean on his own instincts defines him from the rest of the pack.
The Jason Hill touchdown was really the only exciting offensive play during a time where Jason was doing some real soul searching in trying to ascertain why he wasn't being called upon to make more plays and wasn't feeling appreciated for his past services on the field last season as he ended the season on a high productivity note.
Although a loss, the 49ers looked better defensively as stars came out brightly in the secondary that compelled the coaching staff to look more seriously into who should stay and who should go. Penalties detonated amongst the secondary at the same time attributing to seven for a total of 113 yards with pass interference calls being the bulk of that.
San Diego's offense dominated every aspect of the game especially in the second half with 40:14 worth of time to 19:46 for the 49ers. The game started with a surprise onside kick to a flurry of field goal attempts that helped the Chargers special teams excel even further in.
Outside of this game I can't help but comment on the holdout of our number one draft pick in Michael Crabtree. Certainly the comments made by superstar defensive back Deion Sanders speak a lot as to the character of this athlete and his belief he is being low-balled out of a lucrative mega-million dollar contract that is owed him for not even taking one pass within training camp?
It is disgusting to think that this is yet another player manipulated and misrepresented by an agent bent on securing a future for his client at any price imaginable. It is time for this particular athlete to make his own conscious decisions based upon his own integrity rather than the smell of the greed that has consumed him.
In regards to the final roster cuts I wasn't surprised by really any of them except for the ones like fullback Brit Miller, wide receiver Dominique Zeigler and running back Kory Sheets. I was happy to see all three resigned to the 49ers practice squad especially Sheets who has been so productive over the long haul of training camp and during pre-season games where he defined himself as a lucrative pick-up for depth to the rushing attack we will apply.
The start of the 2009 NFL season is upon us against last year's division leader the Arizona Cardinals. A sizable opponent that looks to substantiate its stranglehold on this very division, despite our spirited success against them, they possess an array of weapons including a Super Bowl minded quarterback to boot.
If we are unable to establish a pass rush this pre-season thus far, what are we to think when the real game is about to begin? Can we make the necessary adjustments to curtail their offensive juggernaut? And will Shaun Hill have time enough time to scan the field for a potential target rather than hand the ball to Frank Gore 60% of the time? This is where the rubber is about to meet the road.
Sources of Information: Mercury News.com, SF Gate.com, Inside Bay Area.com, NFL.com and my own personal analysis and opinion.