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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


49ers vs. Chiefs Week 3 Preseason Preview: What to Watch For

Matt Andruscavage
Aug 24, 2019 at 8:19 AM


When and Where: Saturday, August 24, 2019 - 5 pm PST (8 pm EST) at Arrowhead Stadium

Watch or Listen: How to watch or listen to 49ers at Chiefs

Synopsis


The San Francisco 49ers will be taking on the Kansas City Chiefs in what is typically known as the "dress rehearsal", where we will see more of the starters play and for longer. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is coming off a 1 for 6, zero yards, one interception performance that has caused many in the media and fans alike to doubt his ability to be the passer and leader the 49ers will need in order to make the postseason. All eyes will be on Jimmy G, but there are several other players coming back from injury that will impact this game. It is believed the many of the starters will be playing the first half of this game. Here are some things to keep an eye on:

1) How will Jimmy Garoppolo respond?


Garoppolo will need to rebound at least in some way to not only inspire confidence in him, but more importantly, to get into some kind of rhythm. He has not played an entire half in nearly a year and today's game will give him valuable playing time to shake off rust and build gameplay confidence. It will be important to get off to a fast start and by fast start, I am referring to completions, not necessarily points. Points would be great, but in this game, especially early, completions and a few first downs matter the most, while a couple of scoring drives will also be important.

Fans should not be concerned if the 49ers are trailing in the first half. They should absolutely be concerned if they have only three points on the board and Garoppolo is playing poorly.

2) The Front Seven


While it would be nice if Dee Ford and Nick Bosa were playing, we will wee DeForest Buckner, Fred Warner and the return of Kwon Alexander. This front seven is loaded and should look very good just with these three players in the game. Buckner will open up more opportunities for Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, Damontre Moore (if he plays), Kentavius Street, Jeremiah Valoaga, and undrafted rookie Kevin Givens. The defensive line has shown its depth by getting after the quarterback, despite most of the starters not in the game. It will be interesting to see how well it performs with more of the starters present.

3) Free Safety


It appears that most believe Tarvarius Moore will be the starting free safety, but Jimmie Ward is making his return and will have something to say about the final decision. Ward has played well as of late when healthy, but he just hasn't been healthy for long. Moore has earned the right to be the starter, but if Ward can play well, it only helps the team to have good depth at this position. Adrian Colbert has a hamstring injury and is questionable to play. If he plays, he needs to have a good game or at least not give up any big plays. The 49ers could be deep at free safety, but at the same time, could be lacking depth due to health.

4) Wide Receiver and Tight End Questions


There are some tight battles at both of these positions and tonight's game should offer some clarity for who makes the team. Kaden Smith and Ross Dwelley appear to have the inside track at this point at the tight end spot. Both have played well thus far and that leaves Levine Toilolo as a possible odd man out.

Kendrick Bourne, Richie James, and Jordan Matthews could be fighting for one or even two spots. Bourne and James have done the most on the field, but Coach Shanahan came out this week and said that Matthews "has had a hell of a camp." It's hard to say as to whether or not that means anything as far as a decision for the 53-man roster, but one thing is for sure: All three will be looking for every opportunity to shine against the Chiefs.

5) The Offensive Line


This is probably the most concerning group of any at this point. While no one should just completely brush aside Garoppolo's poor numbers against Denver, the offensive line played a big part in that. The good news is, guards Mike Person and Joshua Garnett both returned to practice and should play. It will be important for the line to give Garoppolo time in the pocket and they should have a better chance against the Chiefs, who don't rush the passer nearly as well as Denver.

6) Just stay healthy!


We all want to see everyone succeed and for the 49ers to win, but the most important thing is to stay healthy. The 49ers cannot afford a growing injury list as Week 1 approaches. We will all need to find some good videos on YouTube on proper breathing and ways to stay calm to make it through the first half.

Other Notes


  • Players not expected to play: Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, K'Waun Williams, Jerick McKinnon, Jason Verrett, Weston Richburg, and George Kittle (Trent Taylor is also out as he recovers from toe surgery).
  • Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard are still battling for the backup quarterback position. It appears only one will make the final 53 and Mullens has the inside track. Beathard will have to play exceptionally well to have a shot at changing that.
  • Dre Greenlaw will have a chance to wrap up the "SAM" linebacker role in the starting defense if he plays well. Malcolm Smith hasn't stood out as of yet.
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.


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