San Francisco 49ers Preseason Week 3: 5 Things To Watch For

Aug 22, 2014 at 10:42 AM


The San Francisco 49ers are set to take on the San Diego Chargers in the penultimate tune up for the 2014 season on Sunday. Here are five things to watch for:

1) The wide receiver rotation: When the 49ers traded for Stevie Johnson during the draft the assumption by many was that he was destined to be the number three receiver in 2014. During his press conference on Wednesday offensive coordinator Greg Roman was asked if that would be the case, and his response was, "We don't put numbers on them."

This is nothing new. Roman and Jim Harbaugh have stated that they don't see receivers as #1, #2, #3 or as an X, Z or F.

We know Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin will be the primary receivers, but how they fit in after that is still up for interpretation. Brandon Lloyd got into the game against the Broncos on the first drive, and we saw Stevie Johnson in the slot on the second drive with Bruce Ellington and Quinton Patton coming in later.

With this being the preseason game that is usually used as a final dress rehearsal we should get a better idea of how the receiver rotation is setting up.

2) Return of the defensive line: The 49ers starting defensive line has yet to take a snap in the preseason. Justin Smith, Ian Williams and Ray McDonald have been nursing various injuries throughout training camp, but it appears they may see their first action on Sunday afternoon.

The return of Smith, Williams and McDonald could also help give a better look at how the battle between Michael Wilhoite and Chris Borland for the starting spot alongside Patrick Willis is shaping up. To this point it has been a bit difficult to read, and the poor play of the backup defensive lineman has had a lot to do with it.

3) Backup quarterback: To say the 49ers backup quarterbacks have struggled in the preseason is putting it mildly. After Sunday's game Jim Harbaugh said that the quarterback who doesn't turn the ball over will be the backup. This came after each turned the ball over.

Blaine Gabbert is the favorite to hold down the backup role. This is primarily based on the fact the 49ers used a trade to bring him in and also because his salary of over $2 million is fully guaranteed whether he is on the team or not. Gabbert struggled with his accuracy in Baltimore and although he was a bit better on Sunday his lone downfield pass resulted in an interception.

Josh Johnson throws a very pretty ball and looks smooth, but his results aren't all that much better than Gabbert's. On his second snap Sunday, Johnson had his foot stepped on by the center and then fumbled the ball away as he tried to make a play. Johnson is a guy the 49ers coaches are very familiar with, having cut him following training camp in 2012. It will likely take a big performance against the Chargers if he is to have any chance of unseating Gabbert.

4) Phil Dawson: The 49ers depend on their kicker perhaps more than any other team in the NFL, so to see him miss both opportunities in his first game at Levi's Stadium should be cause for a little concern. Not time to hit the panic button quite yet, but definitely something to keep an eye on.

5) The field: The turf at Levi's Stadium showed quite a bit of wear and tear during the opening game on Sunday, and it got worse as the week went on. After seeing his players struggling to keep their feet during an open practice session on Wednesday, Jim Harbaugh sent the team back to it's regular practice fields.

49ers management then made the decision to replace a large section of the turf in the middle of the field from goal line to goal line. It is not unusual for teams to replace their turf throughout the season, for example the Rose Bowl changed it's turf between the Rose Bowl game and BCS National Championship game in January, but for a team to replace it after a single game in a brand new stadium is.

As it turns out 5 wasn't enough to watch for this week so we have a couple bonus things for you!

6) LaMichael James: During his press conference today, Jim Harbaugh said that he expects James to see some action on Sunday. It will be interesting to see if he takes over the punt return duties from Bruce Ellington and exactly how he slots into the running back rotation.

7) Cornerback battle: It looks as though Kenneth Acker and Darryl Morris may be locked into a battle for the final cornerback spot on the roster. Acker had a fantastic outing last week against Denver and another solid outing could really put pressure on Morris to retain his spot on the 53-man roster.

Be sure to log into the 49erswebzone Sunday at 12:45 as I will be providing a live blog with information and analysis on the game from The Tool Shed.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


2 Comments

  • craig
    Good piece. I'd also be interested to see if they have to use any timeouts to avoid delay of games.
    Aug 23, 2014 at 3:00 PM
    0
  • Randall
    It seems to me that to say the team is keeping Blaine because of his $2Million guaranteed salary is similar to saying "I used 10% of my savings on a bottle of poison so I am going to keep using it no matter what." What happened to the QB whisperer? I'll tell you what, the team keeps looking for "hidden gems" in the QB market - new toys, if you will. Maybe the team ought to consider developing a QB with good fundamentals by keeping one for more than two years.
    Aug 22, 2014 at 4:31 PM
    0

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



San Francisco 49ers favored by 9 at home vs. New Orleans Saints - Week 12, 2022 odds and pick

By Winston Chung
Nov 22

The San Francisco 49ers were clicking on all cylinders in a 38-10 throttling of a hapless Arizona Cardinals team in Mexico City on Monday night football. The Niners are again favored by more than a touchdown as they return home on a short week to welcome another bottom-dwelling team in the New Orleans Saints. Here we discuss the odds and analysis from a betting perspective. When: Sunday November 27th, 2022 at 1:25pm (FOX) Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California Line: 49ers -9; o/u 43 New Orleans Saints The New Orleans Saints handled a reeling Los Angeles Rams team who were without Cooper Kupp and down Matthew Stafford leaving with a concussion. Andy Dalton tossed 3 touchdowns on 21-25 passing for 260 yards and Chris



49ers-Cardinals: How to watch, stream, and listen to the Week 11 matchup

By Site Staff
Nov 16

The San Francisco 49ers will travel internationally this week to face the NFC West rival Arizona Cardinals on ESPN's Monday Night Football, live from Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. This matchup is one of five NFL games to be played internationally this season and will mark the 62nd meeting all-time between the two teams, with San Francisco leading the series, 32- 29. This matchup is also a rematch of the first-ever regular season game played outside of the United States, when the Cardinals and 49ers squared off at Estadio Azteca in 2005. The Niners are coming off their second straight win after beating the Los Angeles Chargers 22-16. The 49ers offense put up 387 total net yards, including 157 rushing yards on 41 carries. QB Jimmy Garoppolo completed 19 of his 28 passing



49ers-Saints: How to watch, stream, and listen to the Week 12 matchup

By Site Staff
Nov 23

The San Francisco 49ers look for their fourth-consecutive win as they return to Levi's Stadium this week and host the New Orleans Saints. This game will mark the 79th meeting all-time between the two teams and the second time that the Saints have visited Levi's Stadium. The 49ers lead the all-time series between the two teams, 49-27-2. Previous game San Francisco is coming off a trip to Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, where they defeated the Arizona Cardinals 38-10. Offensively, QB Jimmy Garoppolo completed 20 of his 29 passing attempts for 228 yards and four touchdowns, matching his career high. TE George Kittle caught four passes for a team-high 84 yards and two touchdowns. WR Brandon Aiyuk saw both of his catches go for touchdowns. WR Deebo Samuel registered



49ers practice and media schedule leading to Week 11 matchup vs. Cardinals

By Site Staff
Nov 16

The San Francisco 49ers are at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, just south of Denver. They will hold three full practices at the United States Air Force Academy this week as the team prepares for its Week 11 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Head coach Kyle Shanahan, defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryan, offensive line/run game coordinator Chris Foerster, and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo are scheduled to speak with the media. The 49ers will make the press conferences available at 49ers.com, on the team's official mobile app, and


Featured

More by Jack Hammer

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone