SANTA CLARA – Here are the grades for the 49ers’ 21-10 preseason loss to the Packers.
QUARTERBACKS: D. Blaine Gabbert gets a “C.” He made good decisions and delivered the ball on time, but every single pass he threw was off target, even his two completions. Receivers had to bail him out with difficult catches. Gabbert has terrible footwork, which leads to an inconsistent arm slot. This is who he is.
Colin Kaepernick gets an “F.” He did not make good decisions or deliver the ball on time – he held it too long and scrambled when there was no pressure. He was the worst quarterback on the field. He seemed completely freaked. I think he’ll get one more chance to win the QB competition next week against the Chargers, but if he doesn’t win the competition I expect the 49ers will cut him before Week 1. No pressure.
RUNNING BACKS: A. Averaged five yards per carry and fumbled zero times. The running game has been consistently effective during the preseason.
UPDATE: Carlos Hyde suffered a concussion, according to the 49ers.
WIDE RECEIVERS: F+. Torrey Smith caught no passes for the third preseason game in a row. The leading receiver was DeAndrew White who made one catch for 12 yards. The best catch was by Quinton Patton, who reached behind him to snag a poorly thrown pass from Gabbert, then ran for a touchdown.
TIGHT ENDS: C. Garrett Celek led this group with two catches for 14 yards, and Bruce Miller dropped his only target. Miller is not a tight end – he’s a fullback. The Niners should trade him to a team that uses fullbacks.
OFFENSIVE LINE: A. Gave Gabbert and Kaepernick plenty of time to throw.
OVERALL FIRST-STRING OFFENSE: D. In the first half the quarterbacks averaged three yards per pass attempt and the offense held the ball for eight minutes. Eight.
DEFENSIVE LINE: C. Gave up 6.4 yards per rush to Packers’ starting tailback Eddie Lacy. The best run-defender in this group, Quinton Dial, left the game with a knee injury. Will be interesting to see if the run defense improves when Arik Armstead returns. He was not a good run defender as a rookie. Run defense could be a problem for this team.
LINEBACKERS: C. The most disruptive pass rusher was Tank Carradine. He finished the game with one sack. Ray Ray Armstrong started next to NaVorro Bowman at inside linebacker and was flagged for taunting. He got cut from the Raiders and Rams for making similar mistakes. Not a smart player.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: D. Gave up 12 passing first downs and a passer rating of 103.4. Jaquiski Tartt was the worst player in the starting secondary. He couldn’t cover Jared Cook man to man, and he was lost in deep zone coverage. He’s not a good safety. The Niners should trade him before the rest of the league figures that out.
OVERALL FIRST-STRING DEFENSE: D. Struggled getting off the field on fourth down. Green Bay finished the game 5-6 on fourth down.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B. Phil Dawson made his only field-goal attempt, Bradley Pinion averaged almost 46 yards per punt and Bruce Ellington pulled his hamstring during a punt return. Was only a matter of time before that happened.