Linebacker Kwon Alexander was among the healthy scratches for the San Francisco 49ers' preseason game against the Denver Broncos on Monday night. The others were defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and linebacker Fred Warner.

"Fred, we just wanted to take care of, and Buckner, we wanted to take care of," head coach Kyle Shanahan explained after the 24-15 victory.

Warner is entering his second NFL season so having the young linebacker sit out each of the team's first two preseason games is a testament to his value. He is already a vocal leader and key contributor on defense. Warner led the 49ers in tackles last season with a total of 124 to go along with his six passes defensed and a forced fumble.

Buckner, well … he's Buckner. The Pro Bowl defender recorded a career-high 12 sacks last season and is an integral part of the 49ers' defensive front. He's already pretty darn good and won't improve suddenly because of a couple of extra preseason games, so Shanahan decided to also sit him for the first two.

Alexander is another player who hasn't played yet during the preseason. That will change on Saturday when the linebacker finally makes his 49ers debut against the Kansas City Chiefs. Shanahan was asked on Monday night what went into the decision to, once again, sit Alexander.

"We decided that a while ago with Kwon," Shanahan responded. "I think we planned to get him in K.C. for his first time coming off his ACL."

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is also coming off an ACL injury and made his much-publicized return to the playing field on Monday night, and it was unspectacular.

The 49ers' signal-caller completed 1-of-6 passes for no yards with an interception against the Broncos. Defenders got their hands on each of Garoppolo's first four pass attempts. There was the interception, two deflections at the line of scrimmage, and a pass breakup which was nearly intercepted.

Garoppolo's one completion went to running back Matt Breida for no gain and came on his last throw of the night. The quarterback will play again on Saturday against the Chiefs, and the 49ers hope the result will be different.

"It's something I haven't done in a year, obviously," Garoppolo told reporters after the game. "I've got to knock the rust off and everything. Thankfully, we've got a short week this week so we can bounce back quickly. It's the first step of getting back into it."

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