SAN FRANCISCO – Here are my grades for the 49ers quarterbacks, all four of whom played well against the Minnesota Vikings in the preseason opener on Friday night.
Quarterbacks: A. Alex Smith played the first series of the game and was perfect, completing three short passes including a screen to Kendall Hunter and a four-yard fade to Brett Swain for a touchdown. Smith did not convert the one third down he faced (he scrambled for four yards on third and five), but Jim Harbaugh decided to go for it on fourth and one, and Brandon Jacobs gained 23 yards.
Colin Kaepernick completed five of nine passes (he should have completed six – A.J. Jenkins dropped one), averaging 4.4 yards per attempt. He passed well when he rolled out of the pocket. He also gained 92 yards on three rushes, including a 78 yard TD run. Kaepernick is clearly one of the best athletes on the team. He deserves a few snaps a game this season to run the read option with Kendall Hunter.
Scott Tolzien was the most impressive quarterback of the night. He completed 10 of 13 passes (he should have completed 11 – Nathan Palmer dropped an easy one), for 84 yards. He’s the second-best QB on the team right now, regardless of where the Niners list him on the depth chart. Tolzien might be better than the Vikings’ starting quarterback – Christian Ponder.
Josh Johnson played well, too. He only attempted four passes, completing two (he should have completed three – Anthony Dixon dropped one). Johnson completed the longest pass of the night – a 22-yarder to Ben Hannula.