49ers 31, Broncos 24: Grades

Here are the grades for the 49ers’ 31-24 preseason win over the Broncos.

QUARTERBACKS: B. Blaine Gabbert gets a ‘C.’ He made four good throws and five bad ones, including a five-yard pass on third-and-7, a short pass in the flat that almost hit Vance McDonald in the ankle, a short pass in the flat that led Carlos Hyde too far toward the sideline and a long pass down the middle of the field that sailed high and away from Vance McDonald who was open. On the bright side, Gabbert led a scoring drive against the Broncos’ second-string defense. Kaepernick will have to top that to win the job. He’s still alive.

The backups each get an “A.” Driskel completed 6-of-7 passes and made two beautiful throws – a 25-yarder to Bryce Treggs while taking a big hit in the pocket and a 40-yarder to Devon Cajuste. Christian Ponder completed 7-of-8 passes, ran for a touchdown and threw a 30-yard TD pass to Dres Anderson. I still don’t think he’ll make the roster. He has no future. Driskel does.

RUNNING BACKS: D+. Carlos Hyde broke a 20-yard run and scored a touchdown. He was good. The rest of the running backs were not. Mike Davis fumbled twice and DuJuan Harris fumbled once at the goal line. In two preseason games, the Niners’ running backs have fumbled a whopping five times, which could be a byproduct of Chip Kelly’s frenetic high-paced offense. Davis doesn’t fumble often. He had fumbled just twice in his past 233 carries dating back to college, according to PFF.

WIDE RECEIVERS: D. DeAndrew White was the team’s best wide receiver. He made two catches and ran for two first downs. He absolutely should make this team. None of the other receivers caught more than one pass. Bryce Treggs tore his MCL.

TIGHT ENDS: A. Vance McDonald was the best player on the offense, catching three passes for 38 yards. Blaine Gabbert clearly loves him. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to McDonald if Kaepernick wins the starting job. They don’t seem to click.

OFFENSIVE LINE: A-. Gave up just one sack and helped the run game average 5.1 yards per carry. Andrew Tiller started at right guard and played well. Anthony Davis played with the second- and third-stringers. I downgrade this group because Marcus Martin got pushed on his rear end and should get cut immediately.

DEFENSIVE LINE: D. Struggled stopping the run without Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Glenn Dorsey. Gave up five yards per carry. Garrison Smith, an undrafted free agent, was their best player. He recorded a sack and two tackles for losses. He might make the final roster.

LINEBACKERS: B. Sacked the Broncos’ quarterbacks five times. Eli Harold looked explosive and disruptive early in the game before Tank Carradine hit him in the ribs with his helmet. Carradine also recorded a sack. Marcus Rush recorded three sacks while rushing against Broncos’ backup right tackle Kyle Roberts, a former undrafted free agent who probably won’t make an NFL roster.

At inside linebacker, Gerald Hodges gave up 19-yard touchdown run to C.J. Anderson because he in the wrong gap. Hodges frequently is in the wrong gap. The defense improves when Ray Ray Armstrong replaces him.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: B. Eric Reid picked off Broncos’ starting quarterback Trevor Siemian early in the game, and Kenneth Acker picked off Paxton Lynch to seal the win in the fourth quarter. Tramaine Brock gave up a few short catches early but nothing big. Jimmie Ward was flagged for a holding penalty.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C. Phil Dawson made a field goal and DeAndrew White fumbled a punt. He recovered it. He seems extremely uncomfortable returning punts. The Niners don’t have a backup punt returner.

  1. Ponder looked good against the thirds. Liked seeing production out of Cajuste, Burbridge, and Treggs. Driskel imrpoved as well. Really happy with the competition in depth right now. Big question on my mind is how the 1’s will play with extended time.

  2. Grant
    In regards to the WRs; I would assume it’s a little more difficult to evaluate them with Gabbert at QB since he prefers the TEs and the safer, shorter passes.

    I also remember Mike Davis saying the other day that Chip’s offense was similar to the one he ran in college, so he should be used to it. So in his case I don’t think the fumbles are a byproduct of Chip’s fast paced offense.

      1. Why do people always use the term flippin burgers as an insult… It’s a job, it pays bills…… Its how some adults make a living! Its life people, not an insult.

  3. I expected a run defense drop off with Armstead, Dorsey, Buckner, Lynch out.

    They could also be testing how single gap shooter Blair handles 2-gap assignments. If that’s the case, it might skew the run stats.

    Blair will be a disruptor. He will slice inside and force double teams, freeing up other pass rushers.

  4. *Correction:

    Kaepernick is on life support. Pass at the ankles, give me a break, who cares, it’s a catchable ball, and this is the NFL. Good QB’s need help from some of their receivers.

    Blaine got a solid B garde tonight, and Colin is now going to need something HUGE next week. Hugantuin!

      1. Nonesense! Wager right now who’s going to start week one if kaepernick doesn’t have an all pro performance next week?

        How about bragging rights? Don’t worry, I’ll give you a hard time for a little while after you eat crow, but not long.

        1. By the way Grant, don’t think I haven’t noticed how much “wiggle room” you have left yourself in this QB competition. You’re taking the easy way out of making any kind of prediction, it’s not a great look bro!

          If you think Kap should start, just say it dude!

            1. By the way, how many times has Blaine came close to throwing a INT in 2 weeks of action? None, not even close. He’s a guy that takes care of the football, unlike Kap as of late.

              1. As of late as in last yesr? How many picks did Gabby throw last year?
                I’m not predicting Kaepernick will win the job, but I’m not predicting he won’t until I see him in a game.

              2. Shhh, don’t tell him Gabbert had 7 INT’s in 8 starts last season and the other QB had 5. He’ll just tell me NFL.com is obscure and I should believe my eyes.

                Gabby also got picked a lot in TC with the Bronco’s. He played well yesterday and hasn’t had any picks in preseason which is good.

      2. Wasn’t that throw made under duress of a hard pass rush that was closing in? If so, he avoided a sack and possibly a fumble not unlike what we did to Sanchez. Or an interception.

      3. Must agree with Grant here. That was a bad throw. That was a throw an NFL QB needs to make 98% of the time. NFL QBs need to put the ball in a place where the receiver can actually get YAC instead of being required to make an acrobatic play just to catch the ball. Gabbert’s accuracy has been inconsistent at best. He makes some great throws but he has way too many easy throws that are way off target. That’s my problem with the QB’s in Chips offense this year. This offense is a timing and accuracy offense. None of the 49er QB’s are highly accurate.

    1. Torn MCL for Treggs? Tough break for him What grade is the tear Grant, any idea? It’s either a 2, 4 or 6 week recovery under normal circumstances depending on the severity of the tear.

    2. 49R

      Don’t be an idiot. Of course ball placement matters, and Gabbert agains looked like garbage until that scoring drive.

      Walsh said Montana was the best QB ever because he put the ball in the perfect place to allow WRs to get RAC, every time. You want to say otherwise?

      1. Gabbert is no Montana, that we can agree on.

        However, sometimes a QB has 2 choices, throw the ball in a very, very tight window and air on the side of caution, ie, throw it where only your man can catch it or it falls incomplete, or throw into that super tight window and simply hope for the best. The seem pass too MacDonald would have to have been a perfect throw or else those usually end up defelect in the air and an INT. The swing pass to Hyde, Hyde was smothered, Blaine Aires on the side of caution and again, threw the ball where only Hyde could have caught it. Maybe he’s been instructed to throw some of those type throws where they are either completions or INC, thus preserving the drive, and or flipping field position.

        I jump on QB’s for missing OPEN receivers, Open means not blanketed like Hyde and Vance were. Could those passes been made, if you want to play risky football , that’s your call, but I doubt Chip Kelly’s wants Blaine throwing high risk passes 2 games into preseason.

        At the end of the day, you evaluate a QB on TD/INT, Comp %, and Wins. I’m giving Blaine the benefit of the doubt in 2016 because I’ve seen asystem change a QB, and QB’s develop later, for instance, Steve Young, who many thought we never be more than a gimmicky running QB after his year in Tampa.

        That’s what true blooded fans do bro. Until Blaine proves to me he can’t move the ball and score points in Chips QB friendly system, I CHOSE NOT TO BE A HATER. I love my Niners too much!

        1. Steve Youngs years plural in Tampa. Many Thought he would never develop into a pocket passer. I watched him develop with my own eyes. He became a different QB than the you man the 49ers originally acquired.

          Blaine is developing and Chips system is a good fit for him.

          And Grant, Grant is being Grant! Grant the exagerator!

          1. As a matter of fact Steve was a bit of broken QB from his years in a lousy Tampa team, until he came into a stable, QB friendly system. That’s your history lesson of the day. So if you are a fan, I think you’re at least giving Blaine an opportunity to grow this season.

            Somethhing tells me Grant is no 49ERS “fan”

  5. Grant, considering that they just beat the SB Champions, I wish you were a little more charitable in your grading.

    The WRs do not deserve a D, and the defensive line does not deserve a D, also. I would give both Cs.RBs deserve a D for all their fumbles. Bet Rathman is steaming.

    1. I don’t know Seb. Smith was non existent in the game as was Patton. Now you can go 2 directions with that. WR’s weren’t open or the QB didn’t get them the ball.

  6. Kap seemed to click with Ellington on the sideline. He will click with McDonald when they get some more time together. Similar to Kap and Vernon Davis.

    1. I would not put it past the FO to do something crass like that, but there is a new sheriff in town, and Chip wants to win.

      Chip,even with the QB’s performances last night, knows that Kaep has led a team to the SB, and has the talent and intangibles to do it again. None of those other QBs have even sniffed the playoffs.

  7. I know Gabbert is not perfect, however Kaep is not accurate nor does he have touch. On the 3rd down that came up short there was pressure in Gabberts face & Celick slipped or he may have got the 1st down. On the scoring drive Gabbert hit McDonald in stride on his break and “threw him open”. Kaep often misses that easy read & throw. We’ll see, but i do see more than one QB necessary to run this system anyway because with this volume of plays there will be injuries.

    1. Give me a break, against the Bronco’s 3rd string?

      Andrew, you know nothing about Chip’s system, or NFL football, if you really belive such nonsense!

  8. Gabbert was fine today. Nothing special, but decent. Driskel and Ponder looked good, but you have to factor in the level of competition.

    The most concerning things for mine were seeing the Broncos first drive against the 1s, and the 49ers first drive against the 1s. Both were easy wins for the Broncos. But you can’t read much into one drive. Both the D and O looked much better after that, though the Broncos played a lot 2s on D pretty early.

  9. Before everyone gets carried away with Ponder’s performance, remember who he was going against. He looked very good for a guy that’s been out of football a year and was picked up during the week, no doubt. But lets not get carried away.

      1. And Ponder was the 12th pick overall with a few years starting experience. The guys he was playing against were late round guys who are either rookies or don’t dress on Sundays. There was a reason ponder was drafted 12th overall and these guys were picked 218th or something.

    1. Scoot, good point but my opinion is, he dominated the 3’s, wich means he shouldn’t be sitting at home. There are 32 teams and after seeing what i saw last night, he should at least be a backup somewhere. Not a starter, but i refuse to believe there are 32 backups better than this man. How many backups can come off the streets and dominate, after 3 days of practice. He played a good game so he gets my props

    2. scooter

      Yes, Ponder was going against the World Champion third string Dline….but who were his blockers..? They were the third string Oline of the 5-11 niners….Give him a break…he is a well seasoned QB who has been a starter in the NFL…He is good…

      1. Give him a break? Where was I giving him a hard time? Just saying, lets not get carried away. He did well. But its one game, mostly against guys that won’t be on a 53 man roster this season. As a former starting QB and 1st round pick, he should be better than those guys.

        1. This is the Nate Davis mindset all over again. Every year we get guys who play against the street free agents and show well and theres this group of “fans” who all think these guys should supplant starters, that they are somehow these diamonds in the rough, and most often, nothing ever becomes of these meaningless 3rd and 4th quarter performances. People need to realize and recognize the situation and dynamics at play, especially when you have a 1st round pick playing against guys who were picked in the 6th/7th or not even drafted…its like getting excited by a qb at an sec, acc, big 10 school going off against Louisiana Tech or Tulane or SJSU or SDSU…they should be surprised when they DONT perform well.

  10. My 49ers preseason week 2 grades:

    QB’s: Gabbert wasn’t on fire early but he certainly wasn’t using all sorts of different arm slots or throwing motions as Grant has been suggesting. A key for kelly’s offense, don’t make any stupid throws early and turn the ball over. Allow the pace of the offense to develop. Kaepernick will need a pro bowl performance next week, and probably a Gabbert stumble in order to win the starting gig week one. Why would Kelly reward a guy for taking 1/2 of training camp, preseason off, and simply hand him the job? That would be a mistake.
    Driskel looked much more comfortable and Ponder proved just how QB friendly this system is. GRADE: Solid B

    RUNNING BACKS: Hyde looked good, but Davis, oh boy, you simply cannot continuously put the ball on the ground. Harris is a whirling durbish, but he’s got to learn to wrap the ball with two hands when he is approaching the goal line. I’m confident he will learn! Davis, well, 2 fumbles on limited carries cannot happen. Grade: C- (Thanks to “el Guapo”, or it would be a D-)

    WR: Nothing spectacular, but I didn’t see any obvious drops. White looked pretty fast, and we didn’t get to see much of Smith, or Simpson, so it’s a bit of a INC. However, Dres Anderson and Cajuste, along with no obvious drops, elevate the grade to a: B-

    Tight Ends: Vance McDonald has turned the corner! I can say that with confidence. Let’s remember, Vernon struggled with catching the football early in his career as well. Celek made a couple plays, but this is Vance Mcdonald and Carlos Hydes offense right now. Grade: A-

    Offensive Line: Really good work throughout the game, with the exception of Pears and Martin. Hard to believe those 2 guys were starters for this team last season, hah Wilson? Grade: A-

    1. Dude you’re foaming at the mouth.

      How’d the OL do against Wolfe and the 1’s? Oh that’s right he was in the backfield tackling for a loss several times. Scooter saw it too, our series against the ones didn’t go well on O or on D. The game was an improvement over last week. We looked better.

    2. 49reasons,
      You are indeed foaming at the mouth. Nobody cares about Gabbert because he sucks and he has always sucked. There isn’t a QB worth getting excited about on this roster. You sound like you’re Gabbert’s agent. You’re posts in support of Gabbert sound like an angry feminist defending the failed Ghostbusters reboot. If Kaepernick sees the field this year, it’s because Kelly wants him out there. If Kelly believed in Gabbert, he would have already named him the starter. Neither of them are the future. Just stop with the proproganda already, it’s over the top and long past desperate.

      1. BigP

        …so much easier to sound knowledgeable being critical rather than complimentary where’s the fun in that ? GO NINERS !

  11. This team will be so much more interesting to watch than last year. Chip Kelly is a huge upgrade .. Let’s see what Kap can do in his system before we throw anyone under the bus.

  12. I thought Robinson played well…seems to have a natural instinct for the ball. Rush & Skov kept up the pressure. Tank seems to be coming along at OLB. Hopefully Harold’s injury isn’t serious. Also like what Garrison Smith’s doing…the NT position could use some beastliness. You can bet Rathman will be tough on the fumbles. Nice pick-6 by Reid. Overall, I liked that the team played hard and basically took it to Denver for the most part. Some terrific competition going on throughout the roster…some cuts will be very tough.

  13. TradIng Anthony Davis for Josh Gordon would make this offense dangerous. I doubt Davis would resign with the niners in 2020.

      1. Gordon has hurt his trade value due to his off the field issues. Plus they let Schwartz walk. They could both use a change of scenery.

    1. I have serious doubts Josh Gordon will.play a full season without getting in trouble again. Davis may not re-sign in 2020, but until then it’s nice to have such good options on the OL after the past two years.

      1. Points taken guys. But the Browns have already tried to trade Gordon in the past. Davis’ willingness to play tackle or guard makes him attractive to almost every team. I like AD, but who knows when he will take his ball and go home again.

    2. #80

      Maybe you weren’t watching the same game I was…but WE WON….and AD was a big part of it….Josh Gordon is a Ghetto blaster….

        1. Davis IS the depth at RT…you trade him you lose that depth…and I for one want him to start, Brown is still a bit too inconsistent, there were two run plays where his block, or lack there of, resulted in the run being stuffed in the backfield. Cant have that.

  14. and I just love the Butt-fumbler’s b-day
    gift to Bellore !! … ha !!

    It seems that this ..Niners D woulda given even
    Manning some fits !!

  15. Grant, you’re doing it again. You pick someone you don’t like and then whip them brutally over and over and over again. It might win you a small following of like-minded folks, but in the long run you will turn most readers off. You have many good qualities as a writer and commentator, but you’re like the tragic hero: you have a fatal flaw. Knowing that you throw objectivity out the window when it comes to savaging this season’s target, you lose credibility when it comes to the rest of your writings.

  16. ENOUGH with calling out Gabbert for throwing short of the sticks…if his wrs ate covered and the only option is the short throw, you make that throw and hope your receiver can make a man miss or surge forward. Its on the wrs and tes to run routes that take them past the sticks. And you all would give Gabbert crap if he forced a throw and it was picked or batted down, you all would be saying he should have checked down.

    Its as if hes damned if he does and damned if he doesnt with some of yall.

    1. +1 eMJay. Do you agree Kaepernick needs to have a pro bowl performancealong with a Blaine Gannett stumble, in order for Kap to start week 1?

      1. No. 49, this is like your Cook love, who ended up going in the 4th round and is firmly cemented into a backup role behind Carr.

        If a house painter can lead the Niners to 2 scores, Kaep will do just fine, and does not need a pro bowl performance to start. He just needs to show that he is better than Gabbert, which will not be hard to do.

        1. Yah, Cook is a backup to a “pro bowl” QB 2 preseason games into his rookie season and that means he’s a permanent backup.

          There you go again Seb, nonsensical BS. You cannot really be suggesting Cook should be ahead of Carr at this point ……… Or are you?

          1. 48, I said he was firmly cemented into a backup role behind Carr, not that he will supplant Carr. Do not think I could be more explicit.

              1. Prime, you are trying too hard. I addressed him as 49 in a previous post, so he knew it was just a little slip. Nothing to call names about, but you are so desperate to oppose me, you are grasping at straws.

              2. I just like seeing you sweat! Like they say, if you cant stand the heat lady, get out of the kitchen!

              3. So sorry, but when you sound like a potty mouthed spoiled immature brat, I just SMH.

                Maybe you could impress me in other ways like trying to write a cogent thought.

              4. Seb why don’t you go curl your hair or paint your nails or toes?
                I mean anything beats you trying to be a 49er fan when all you are is a CK groupie!

      2. Hed have to basically put up 200 yards, 3tds and all against the 1s to leapfrog Gabbert. One good performance vs 2nd stringers shouldn’t get Kaep anything but a paycheck.

  17. I knew I should have called it. The post about Gabberts accuracy may lead him to the bench had to be solidified. I knew you would find an angle to bash him and save face for that post Grant.

    6-9 and he threw 5 bad passes? 2 of those he was pressured and if he didn’t get rid of it it’s an easy sack. It’s funny. You bash a player they come out and do the opposite of what you say and you are there everytime trying to save face. He played better in his short time vs a defense that’s nasty and gets pressure. He stayed in and delivered some nice passes.
    Th one off of V Macs fingertips was a missed pass. He wasn’t a world beater, but I thought he played better than a C vs that defense and the pressure.

  18. Back in the days of the WCO, you’d have been one the horde of critics that complained about Walsh calling short passes and Montana throwing short of the sticks.

    Year-after-year-after-year-after year. Even after they won Superbowl XVI and XIX you heard it all the time. Especially from John Madden, but it wasn’t just Madden, it was most of them. The receiver is responsible, in those short-passes to get the yardage through YAC. The play is designed to help them do that. However, Denver still has a good defense though it’s likely to regress some and it’s hard to beat them with those passes.

    Also, in case you didn’t notice it, but the Denver pass-rush was pretty heavy. Even quick-release, dink-and-dunk, glorified game-manager QBs like Tom Brady need more than 1.5 seconds. And that’s what Gabbert had in the first drive.

    So while the line settled-down and played well AFTER the first series, the first series was a charlie foxtrot.

    Anyway, I can see you drew your line in the sand and now you’re going to twist it all to fit your narrative. It’s not the first time, it won’t be the last. You need to take a chill pill.

    1. Back in the days of the WCO, Montana would indeed throw the ball short of the sticks on 3rd down. The difference between Montana’s short throws and Gabbert’s is Montana threw it to a WR, TE or RB that didn’t have a defender ready to drop them the moment the ball was caught. They had a much better chance of making the 2 or 3 additional yards after the catch.

      1. The other difference was Montana had pro bowl players around him to throw to and was much more skilled for those situations.

      2. No, I watched Joe, and he was such a good QB, he would throw the ball past the sticks. There were times when he did throw short, but generally, he had a lot less 3 and outs because he knew where he had to throw to.

        It also helped to have Jerry Rice and Roger Craig to throw to, because they were talented and savvy enough to run past the sticks before the throw.

        1. Seb you’re partially wrong on this. Joe did throw past the sticks and he also threw to recievers in stride who ran for the 1st as well.

          1. Wilson, I did say that at times, he did throw short, but generally, he followed Bill’s dictates and threw past the sticks Joe was such a great QB, he could do that. He had the patience, veteran savvy and skills (and O line) to do that.

            Like I think you said previously, Gabbert seemed to be in such a hurry to get rid of the ball so he would not be sacked, he would throw the ball too quickly.

          1. MD, CK’s down and distance is better than BG’s even last year. As JP once told me here what one player does is irrelevant to what another player does. Its not like CK’s Bree’s or Manning either. BG is improving and he played well last night.

          2. If you followed the Niners over the past several years, you would know that AS and Gabbert both have thrown short of the sticks.Fans would get on their case for doing that. One reason why fans liked Kaep was because he made those throws down field, and generally, they were past the sticks.

            Maybe you did not know this, but during his last year and a half, Kaep was sacked 80 times, for over 4 times per game. With such putrid O line play, no QB will be very successful, especially if he has a pass rusher in his face all the time.

              1. No, if you replay the games, the whole right side was a sieve. No QB, even Joe or Steve, would have succeeded with getting only a nanosecond of protection.

    2. You see similarities between Gabbert and Montana? You think Walsh would like Gabbert? I think he would object to Gabbert.

      1. Grant we’re developing some Gabologists that feel the need to defend his every short coming and over play his potential. Seems like you poke the bear quite a bit regardless of which QB camp their in.

        1. walsh and montana were 30 years ago. The game has changed and neither is coming back. Comparing NFL then to now is like making a comparison to Softball and baseball.

            1. I think you may be drawing conclusions that aren’t there if I understand your question. My point which wasn’t very clear initially was that the game in which Joe Montana played and Bill Walsh coached is so inherently different than what it is now, it doesn’t make sense to compare the two. Rules have changed. Athletes are dramatically different. There are just too many variables.
              If I were to say that Walsh and Montana could not play, I’d argue building a dynasty in today’s NFL is near impossible with parity and free agency. NFL coaches have much more technology. The extensive data which they can process more quickly, allows them to adapt and change almost weekly.
              Athletes now are simply faster, bigger, and better than they were in the 80’s. Walsh was successful in the early 80s. Could either be successful? If anyone could from the 1980’s those are the two I would nominate, but there just isn’t a way to compare to say one way or another.

              1. With all the rules to protect QBs, Joe would have loved playing nowadays. He probably could have played for another 8 years and won a few more rings if all the injuries he endured could have been avoided.

                Bill Walsh could out think any coach in this league, maybe with the exception of Belichick. He was a big proponent of innovation, new concepts and technology, so he would use any new tools to devise unstoppable offenses.

        2. Wilson73

          I proudly confess to being a Gabbologist because of the anti-side (Kaeperholics) It makes me feel that I’m helping to balance things out. I also don’t apologize for winning…

      2. I think Walsh would look at Gabbert like he looked at Young.Ton of talent and potential.

        Walsh would pull a Steve, he would tear down Gabbert and rebuild him into a good QB, but it might take years like it took Steve.

          1. Walsh tore down Young, got rid of his bad mechanics and rebuilt him from scratch. Young himself admitted that he was not elite at the beginning.

            1. Sid Gilman began the process of rebuilding Young, who always had great hand-eye coordination. Gabbert doesn’t have it.

      3. I don’t know about that Grant.
        He did like Plummer tons. Mobile with a good arm and short quick passing. He wasn’t that accurate either.

      4. Grant, I know you’ve been shaking your head reading this Gabbert, Montana mush and finally, you couldn’t take it and had to say something! LMAO!

    3. Moses, that’s true what you say about recievers being responsible for YAC. And last year Jack and Scooter did a good job showing the rest of us that BG had open down field recievers and he threw it to guys with no chance of making the marker. To be fair we don’t know the call or who was truly open in preseason. I thought BG played pretty well against a good defensive unit.

  19. A ‘C’ for Special Teams? There were no runbacks of note for the Niners, but the punt and kick coverage was very good.
    That’s worth a ‘B’ to me.
    Reid’s pick-six changed the tempo of the game. Bethea was playing sloppy. Chris Davis is cementing his place in the slot corner spot.
    The D-line wasn’t stellar against the run, but they did what they’re supposed to do in making it possible for the LBs to make plays on the QB. I’d bump their grade up a notch. When Armstead, Buckner and Dorsey are ready they’ll be a formidable group.
    As for the QB, Gabbert didn’t stink it up, but he’s still not inspiring confidence in me. I’m hoping he will when the OL spots are set and there’s better pass-pro. Maybe he’ll be able to get the ball to a WR downfield. Maybe.

  20. Unless Kaep has a serious drop-off, I would think he will be the starter, with ponder the clipboard guy and possibly Driskel the game inactive guy. If ponder can pick up a play he hasn’t run before from the sidelines and do reasonably well, with such little preparation, I think any coach would want that QB to at least hold the clipboard.

    My reasoning is that the Number one QB would need to have a contract through next year and neither Gabbert or Ponder has that. Kaep has had some success previously and that should help him at least be available for this season or at least a part of it.

    It seems that Gabbert needs a new contract before he could be the starter. He has a back up QB contract that expires at the end of the season.

    1. How can CK have more of a “drop off” than a qb hat lost his job last season?
      Contracts can be a mistake. And his contract was a huge mistake for the front office. The reality is CK hasn’t been Gabbert “good” in two seasons.
      Not saying Gabbert is very good, but I’d give him a 6 and CK a 5. Still don’t believe CK makes some of the throws Gabbert did under pressure yesterday. And there is no reason to believe he’s a pocket guy who can get rid of the ball quickly and accurately. Haven’t seen anything from him to buy that theory.
      Friday will show. And I’m betting he looks the exact same as he has for two years now. Scared, inaccurate, and frustrated.

      1. Kaep could make those throws in his sleep. Now that the Niners have a decent O line, Kaep will shine again. Before, Kaep would have a pass rusher in his face before he could get his feet set. Even Brady or Cam showed how important a stout O line is for success. Without one, they both did not play well.

  21. Regardless of who starts at the QB pos. this team is far better coached and looks to be competitive. Last time we saw Kap play, he could not complete a pass and had lost his confidence. We need to see him compete with a pass rush in his face. I think the rest of the teams in the division will not be automatically putting a W in the win loss column this year.Go 9ers …

  22. Last year, about this time, there was no sign of life to the 49ers offense, no matter how hard you looked. I told myself that it was preseason and we needed to see the team in the regular season to see what they could do, and then I bought into the fools gold of the Vikings game. Admittedly, the 49ers might’ve won a game or two more, had Hyde not been injured (please notice “might’ve”, before scoffing), but the offense last year was a joke.

    This year is different. Yes, it would be nice to see more efficiency out of Gabbert, and / or it would be great if CK resurrects his career, but what stands out to me is that Kelly is running a professional offense.

    This alone will make this year much easier to watch than last.

    It also seems that everyone is in agreement that the OL is clearly better than last year (some would say, vastly improved), this will make the team easier to watch this year, as well.

    If Hyde can stay healthy, he could be a top five RB (this is based partly on his talent – near the NFL lead in YAContact and broken tackles – and the volume in Kelly’s offense), and, ignoring his fumble-itis last night, Davis looks like a capable backup. With Draughn and Harris rounding out the group, RB looks like a position of relative strength.

    Even if the QB / WR play isnt great, the 49ers should have the foundation of a workable offense, much different than what they had last year.

    If the defense is improved (this looks very possible, at this point), this team could surprise. Of course, the bar for the 49ers surprising isn’t that high, but there’s a good chance they’ll show that they’re on the ascent this year, and not still finding their nadir.

    Ironically, this could ultimately work against the team, if it turns out that they don’t have the QB of the future on the roster at this time (which seems likely), but that’s a problem for another time.

    1. Nice comment. I agree 100 percent.
      The core of the offense (minus the qb and WR) for now isn’t bad. The o-line, rb’s and TE’ are good start. If they even build a legitimate threat on offense and still have a sub par .500 record that could go a ways into free agency next season to hopefully land a top tier WR.

      I don’t know how far the starting qb can take them, but I do know that chip Kelly has turned mediocre and bad QB’s into threats. And he’s never had the mobility these 3 qb’s have. I’m not a fan of CK anymore but if any coach can get a player back to winning or show a losing qb how to win, it’s chip kelly. My serious worry is the other side of the ball. Being spoiled for awhile now with good defenses is seeming like a thing of the past. Can Kelly find a DC that uses his players in the right way? That’s my question for this season and the future.
      Tbd

      1. ninermd- I think they can use the players the right way. From what I’m seeing so far, they are moving players all over to see exactly what their strengths and weaknesses are. I think that Kelly and O’Neil, the DC will get the most out of the players they have. We may have a much more competitive team this year and still lose more games. That may not be the most terrible thing in the long run. I think we need one more good draft, picking early. We are at the point of needing another impact player or two. Look out in 2017, though.

    2. ex,

      You’ve been one of the few optimists around here. The early results are showing that to be correct. All of this hand wringing over every throw from the QB is a bit much. The starters have out scored the opposition 21-14 so far this preseason, and the starting D has given up only 1 scoring drive.

      As a commenter of days gone by used to say, all arrows up right now.

    3. Thanks, guys.

      MD,

      While I understand the reservations that people have regarding O’Neil, but a lot of coaches aren’t successful in their first stint. He may turn out to be OK. I have a crazy idea, let’s see what the defense does during actual games, before deciding he’s a bum.

      That’s a big part of why I feel guardedly optimistic about Kelly. On top of that, he has the seal of approval from a number of well respected coaches (Belichick, Saban, and Harbaugh, just to name a few).

      Jack,

      Yep, I do tend to be a bit optimistic as far as my diversions go.

      As for the QB’s, for right or wrong, I’m willing to let things play out a bit (regular season) before freaking out. I mean, it’s not like freaking out is going to do any good.

      49R,

      Grant does, what Grant does.

    4. Nice, ex.

      Back in the days of the most recent 49ers success, there was big punditry talk about “reverting to the mean”, that multiple consecutive winning seasons were outliers not just for the 49ers but any team. The 49ers were due for a crash and eventually, starting in 2014, that crash started. I am no economic theorist, but can’t reverting to that mean also skew upwards? Perhaps, just perhaps, those teams that make up the formidable Niners schedule will start reverting back down to their means, while we revert back up to ours. Maybe this isn’t the disaster season most are predicting.

      1. Rib,

        Regressing to the mean is usually used in the context of predicting poorer performance after an outlier success, but, yes, it absolutely is just as applicable to expecting better performance after an outlier poor performance, as well.

        Teams typically have windows for success and when the window is closed, fans are unhappy. 49er fans will typically complain that the window was never closed with the Eddie D / Walsh / Siefert 49ers. The problem with comparing those teams is that the 49ers had consecutive HOF QB’s and there was no salary cap.

        John York has taken a lot of flack as an owner, and I’m not going to defend him, but think about when he became the owner. It’s hard to imagine a time that would’ve been more difficult to take over a team. Following Eddie D and the unique success the 49ers had while he was the owner.

        Admittedly, John York left a lot to be desired as an owner, but the team had been on a historic run and it was coming to an end, with or without his ownership. All of the stars were on the back end of their careers and, despite what some on here seem to believe, you can’t expect to have consistent draft success, year upon year. It just doesn’t work like that.

        The success the 49ers had in the ’80’s and early 90’s is historic in the NFL. While I too want the 49ers to be at the level again, I question how fair it is to use that team as a measuring stick.

  23. Gabbert is Gabbert, and he has a 50% chance of losing the job at any time due to average-at-best-play. He’s got little too much Sanchez in him for me.

    Kaepernick may be damaged goods both physically and mentally. We’ll see. However, chances of him becoming The Next anything are unlikely. Journeymen is more realistic.

    Driskel played well and shows everything good feel, poise and accuracy. Had a pretty flawless game, and unlike Ponder played against some 1’s and 2’s.

    prediction: Driskel will start before season is over, and perform well enough to go into next season as the presumed starter.

    1. I think Ponder’s performance just made Driskel expendable. With Kaep Gabbert and Ponder, the Niners are set, and will save a roster spot for another WR or DB.

      Niners should cut Driskel, expose him to waivers, then sign him to the PS if he survives.

      1. Seb why are you so eager to get rid of Driskell? Ponder’s a camp arm going against the 3’s and guys who will be PS eligible or watching the season from home.

        1. Wilson, just a numbers game. Driskel, even with all the hype, will be just a backup. Niners need to make hard decisions during the cut downs. I would much rather they keep Rush, Reaser, Garrison Smith or Bruce Miller, than lose them for a backup QB.

          1. With Chip’s system and the propensity for QB injury they’ll carry 3 QB’s. The real Ponder will show up sooner or later. You know why Driskell was taken in the 6th. I’d be really surprised if they cut him over any of the guys you list.

      2. You truly are a moron. You do not expose a talent like Driskel for a camp arm that was going against 4th stringers.

        1. Ponder, while painting, must have worked on his strokes, because he threw strikes.

          If Driskel was so talented, why did he last until the 6th round after 13 other QBs were taken? All this Driskel hype is cute, but he is not the second coming of Joe Montana, and in the first game, he looked like the Florida Driskel to me.

          1. >>All this Driskel hype is cute, but he is not the second coming of Joe Montana, and in the first game, he looked like the Florida Driskel to me.

            If we are going by a player’s very first NFL game, Kaepernick would have been cut after his first exhibition outing. If you are the long time Niner fan you claim to be, you must remember how shockingly bad he looked in that pre-season.

            1. Since the 70’s. I don’t know a single fan that’s been watching that long say CK is going to be this big star.

              If you’re watching 20 years of hall of fame qb’ing I can’t see what you’d see in a mobile qb with no pocket awareness or savvy make the step to be a great. I damn sure didn’t hear many saying Steve young would do it back then. And we don’t have the great Bill Walsh anymore.
              Now with Kelly ck may have a shot, but this guy was claiming this last year with a horrible coaching staff.

              He’s in love with the video game QB. You know in our section at the stick, there was a small group of us at sec 35 that had to endure visiting fans yelling and screaming for their teams when it wasn’t good after the Garcia playoff teams.
              And when Harbaugh came the owners of the seats started showing up. Our joke in the section was “I’ve been a fan since the 70’s” to make us think they were die hards in the tough years. But never showed up for YEARS when they were bad. Seb could have been a sec 35er!
              I smell bull****! With his claim.

              1. I was in Section 10, and we generally had loyal faithful fans who attended every game during those Glory Years. Not too many out of towners.

                However, there were definite Joe vs Steve fans, and it would get pretty heated at times. In the end, we would always remember we were Niner fans, and savored the victories.

            2. AND how he took over when AS was injured and stormed into the SB.

              You seem to put way too much stock into preseason games. According to last preseason game, you will be anointing Ponder as the starter.

              1. Are you arguing with yourself now?

                >>in the first game, he looked like the Florida Driskel to me.

                >>You seem to put way too much stock into preseason games.

              2. No, just tempering the comments. Driskel played well last game, but did not shine the first game.He had a good game, but this IS the preseason.

                And Kaep, even though he had a poor preseason game, stormed into the SB when he started.

                It is all relative. I myself do not put too much stock in preseason games, although others are proclaiming Driskel will win the starting job.

          2. No way Niners keep Kaep, Gabbert and Ponder. I wrote this whole post with all the different QB scenarios. There are way too many and it’s way too early. The only thing that I kept was my first sentence. No way they keep three veterans.

      1. So was I. He looked good.

        On Ponder, he was made to look better by playing against scrubs. That TD pass for example would never have been a TD against better players. Poor leverage on the coverage not withstanding, Anderson was wide open but he threw the pass to a point where Anderson had to check his run and allow a guy that was comprehensively beaten to get back in the play and almost knock the pass down. It was a poor pass, made to look good by a WR that beat his man all ends up.

        1. Everybody is excited by Ponder’s play. It was fun to watch and a confidence booster for Ponder with his new team.
          Scooter is correct on the throw and Dres said afterwards he had to adjust to it.
          Let’s keep in mind that Ponder has been available for some time. He wasn’t signed before the draft by 32 teams. He wasn’t signed until August following an injury. He has a liklihood of being released and resigned later if needed. Maybe somebody has to leave a banana peel in front of Driskel’s locker…wink wink.

          1. I enjoyed Ponders plays too, but on the touchdown pass he had an empty middle so all he had to do was loft the ball out there late. Dropped coverage of that magnitude is unlikely in the regular season. BUT, he did see it, where others have missed such situations, and his ball was catchable. That’s the fun part of fourth quarter play in the preseason.

  24. I am impressed. Chip Kelly has such a good system, he can take a painter off the street, and in 3 days, transform him into a QB that scores 2 times in a game, plays smart and makes the proper reads and decisions.

    1. >>he can take a painter off the street…

      That “painter” has 4 years of NFL experience as a starting QB, not that long ago (about as long ago as when Keapernick was a serviceable QB) spanked a very good Niners defense.

      1. Thank God he did not have a DJ coaching him, but still, that painter was watching paint dry before he got called. He was out of the league.

      2. And with two questionable injuries your wonder boy is fighting for a job.
        He’s lucky he was offered that contract, because he could easily be playing for his career somewhere else, like he’s doing here.

        Stars don’t fight for their jobs.

          1. Believe it or not, the QB competition is wide open. Kaep has as much chance as anyone. No one has locked down the job.

          2. Bro’ Tuna………….

            If Kap shows in any game at any time that he is, in fact, a human being………Seb has soooooo much to answer for, false idol that Kap is……..

  25. I have been a Chip Kelly fan since his first gig as an OC with the Ducks and had Dennis Dickson as his QB. I liked his offense back then and I still like it now. This team is rough, it needs some time before it gets to the point of being polished.

    Biggest mistake of the game IMO was Ward’s hold during Bowman’s sack on Denver’s first drive. Denver was having its way with the Niners defense and Bowman came up with a big sack, but Ward held and the drive continued. No need to mention the fumbles we all no about them. I am still not impressed with Gabbert but he will do till something else comes along. I am liking Driskel but he just needs to sit on the bench and learn. Ponder’s performance was remarkable for the limited time he has had with the team. I think it was more of a fluke then good.

    The defense was up and down. Saw good pressure, and created turnovers.

    Months ago I stated the Niners needed three things to happen. First the team needed to buy into Kelly, I think they have done that. They really look like they want to play and win.
    Number two was the QB had to be a threat to run the ball. All four QB’s have that. The third thing was the running game had to evolve. It’s looking like it is. Hopefully the fumbling comes to an end.

    All and all a decent win against the reigning SB champs, and as our old friend Hof use to say “all arrows up”!! By the way up to this point this team reminds me of Walsh’s second year with the Niners, you can just see/feel the potential of the team. And no I am not at all comparing Walsh’s team to Kelly’s team. One has to wonder if Kelly becomes the second best coach the Niners ever had….time will tell.

    1. Dennis Dixon went to San Leandro High School and his first cousin was in my grade at Bishop O’Dowd. Everyone rooted for Dixon when we were growing up.

  26. “bad ones, including a five-yard pass on third-and-7”

    That was not a bad throw. The Broncos had Treggs bracketed on the deep corner, and the stick route would have been a pick 6. The open throw was to the flat.

            1. Can’t see Gabbert in that picture. The pass should have gone to Campbell. If Gabbert released the ball when Campbell made his break and placed the throw low and outside, it would have been a first down.

              1. Gabbert is the second from the right on the bottom there. He’s got a defender in his chest so he kinda looks like a blocker.

                He got the ball out on time. Hit his last step, hitch and throw. There was no hesitation or wasted motion.

                We can agree to disagree

              2. Watch it again. Campbell is the primary receiver. Gabbert looks off him and goes to the check down, Celek.

              3. I agree with Grant. Did not know that there was a better option, but Gabbert did not place the ball in the right spot. With a better throw, he might have been able to turn up field to get the first down.

              4. True, not a particularly accurate throw. He used a sloppy short-arm three-quarter release on this play because he sensed pressure.

              5. Thanks Grant. Much clearer.

                Yes, take that pic plus the one I posted and you get the progression of the play. At that point he just hit his last step and is going to begin his throwing motion.

              6. Grant,

                As I said, we can agree to disagree. Thank you for the fun debate. As you know, these are the type of discussions the coaches go through while dissecting the film and grading. I remember a ST coach from a Pac12 school at a clinic one time saying how they debated for almost 2 hours on the best technique for their long snappers. Fun stuff.

              7. I disagree Grant. Pass rush is right on top of Gabbert. Campbell’s turn turns him towards the defender who has momentum for a pass to the outside. Campbell would have been hard pressed to make a catch that led him very far to the outside, so it would have needed to be placed pretty close to his body position. The defender may have had a play on the ball if Gabbert makes that throw.

      1. If the blurry image is indeed Campbell that is what they call open in the NFL. If he throws it poorly it could be a pick 6. Maybe he made the right choice since that might not be his best attribute?

  27. Would have been nice to see Armstead and Buckner play to give us a better idea of where the DL is at but kudos to Garrision. He deserves a spot over TJE.

    One thing I noticed was the camaraderie on the sidelines the last two games… Defensive players encouraging offensive players and visa versa. A lot of smiles on the sidelines…. For all the flak Kelly got in Philly, it sure seems like it’s a non-issue to this point (still early of course). The one person who seems on his own though is Kap… Interesting to see all the QBs huddled together watching the tablet and yet Kap is off in his own world like he could care less. Not the best look for someone supposedly trying to improve his relationships with his teammates…

  28. All I know for sure is that exhibition game was probably the most entertaining football the 49ers have played in easily two years. I was impressed with the progress made in all three facets of the game. And Kelly was a joy to watch on the sideline. The players’ body language and interaction was upbeat not like years past where I saw a lot of glum faces and blank stares. Nice work 49ers that was as professional a product as I have seen in some time.

  29. 3 players who impressed me and should make the 53 are Rush, G Smith and Harris. Even though he fumbled on the goal line, Harris has quick hips and can turn on a dime. Smith just looked solid and seemed to have a nose for the ball. Rush, with 3 sacks is exactly what the doctor ordered.

  30. Grant – I love Walsh too but he was by no means perfect. When he drafted Montana he actually intended to get Phil Simms in the first round and then tried to get Steve Fuller in the second round. Do you actually settled for Montana in the third. Then in the 2000 draft ,which Walsh gets off the hook for, he took Gino Carmazzi when they had a local kid named Tom Brady in camp that year. Carmazzi maybe one of the worst pics of all time. I don’t think he ever played a professional down and now he owns an alpaca farm or something like that. Not that Gabbert is going to be an all pro. But for picking up a $2 million free agent he’s definitely got an upside and we’re lucky to have him since Kaepernick fell off the earth. After all – what are other options if Kaep cant play or win the Competition?

    1. That’s true. Although I’m having trouble seeing Gabbert’s upside. He’s like Jake Locker — a gift athlete who struggled in the NFL and college.

    2. Cant forget Druckenmiller, he sure could tow that car!!.

      However, Bill Walsh had that 86 draft, which essentially built a SB team, so for every miss, I will bring up that entire draft.

  31. His upside is his demeanor, his mobility, his potential to hit his second & third read and he does throw a nice long ball as at the end of the Bears game last year. Locker quit, the very fact Gabbert is willing to rectify his career after sucking and getting crushed in Jacksonville is admirable.

  32. Ponder had a great game. He played like a guy in a pick-up game, who had nothing to lose and was facing 3’s and 4’s
    Driskel played a step up from his first game, very concentrated but he has to work on his fake hand-off. It looks so clear when he’s handing off the ball that the D never went after him.
    Gab was the same as last week, some highs some lows. he should be worried about his job!

    1. I’ve been doing some research on Ponder. His 40 at the Combine was 4.65. If watched some youtube on him. He has a moderately strong arm, releases quickly, and shows touch. He also scrambles well. He just got here, obviously, and Gabbert has the edge. We’ll just have to see where this leads. But I see now why they signed Ponder.

      1. I agree with that, George. Ponder looks like he might have something legit. I like the way he scans the field.

        Of course, I may be grasping………

  33. It’s funny that many people are focusing on week 1. I don’t think the plan was for Kaep to start week 1. I do believe TE plan is to get him better. Eventually he will take over the starting position. From the sounds Kaep and Gabbert are having the similar issues. However, Kaep is a bigger threat with his feet than Gabbert. Kaep performed better when he was free to run. It put defenses in a bind. Gabbert will start week 1, but he won’t be the starter for long. Kaep will take over.

    As far as getting a top tier WR in free agency next yr, let’s not kid ourselves. Baalke never gets top tier players in free agency. If Baalke is the their next year, it will be more of the same.

    1. Got to stop him right there:

      Quarterback (2)

      Blaine Gabbert
      Colin Kaepernick

      There is *no* way the team goes into the regular season with just 2 QBs, one of which hasn’t thrown a meaningful pass 1/2 way through training camp, with no one absolutely sure when he actually will.

        1. It’s an interesting thought. If they can safely move Driskel to the practice squad it might happen. That would leave Gabbert, Kaep, Ponder as QB’s, all experienced and all should be better statistically then they ever been in their careers.

    2. I agree with him. The Niners may cut Driskel because they want to save other players who will be more important than a backup QB.

    3. My 53

      Offense

      QB- Kaep, Gabbert

      RB- Hyde, Davis, Draughn, Harris

      WR- Smith, Ellington, Patton, White, Simpson, Campbell

      TE- Macdonald, Celek, Bell, Miller

      OL- Staley, Garnett, Kilgore, Davis, Brown, Tiller, Cooper, Balducci

      Defense

      DL- Armstead, Purcell, Buckner, Dial, Blair, Smith, TJE

      ILB- Bowman, Armstrong, Wilhoite, Bellore, Skov

      OLB- Brooks, Harold, Tank, Rush

      CB- Brock, Ward, Davis, Reaser, Robinson, Johnson

      S- Reid, Bethea, Tartt, Cromartie

      ST

      Dawson, Pinion, Nelson

        1. Hodges is going nowhere, he’ll make the roster, especually ahead of Willhoit, and I am pretty sure Chip is not giving up on Driskel this early. That would be foolish IMO.

          Ponder likely gets cut with the idea that if there is an injury, SF will re-sign him if he is available.

  34. This is how I would carry 3 Qb’s: Place Kaepernick on IR with designation to return week 8. During that time, the team will have tested Gabbert in game situations, Ponder will have been put in if Gabbert fails, (Driskel is not ready regardless and will be PS bound) and the team can choose who to cut or IR 8 weeks in when Kaepernick comes back. If the season is a loss, Gabbert gets the ax. If the season is productive and the team has a chance of making the playoffs, I think you’ll see the team cut OL. Just my opinion though.

  35. They could cut and re-sign Ponder later. But if they cut Driskel someone else may and probably will pick him up since he has a higher upside. I think they will keep all of them and Kaep end up on one of the PUP lists.

    1. 6th round pick If a team takes him off waivers, he has to go to the 53. Each team has their own gems they are trying to protect.

    2. That’s incorrect Matt. Off waivers any team can put him on their PS. Once on a PS if another team wants him he has to go to their 53. Personally I’d be reticent to expose him to waivers. Depends how Chip and Trent see his potential

      1. Thank you for the correction Tuna. I am certainly wrong here. But do you think Driskel would join another team to be put on a practice squad with the QB situation what it is in SF? No matter who the starter is next season, Driskel has real opportunity to sit one more year then become the franchised QB year 3 and sign the large deal year 4. What other team is going to offer him and his agent that opportunity other than SF? For that reason, I think the team would be safe to hide him on the practice squad.

  36. Lost in all the jabberwocky about the QB’s is the fact that even if he sucks, Gabbert might be better than the others. Ponder & Driskel seem highly unlikely that they’ll win the starting job early, and a bit of reach for later too barring injuries.
    At this moment in history CK is an enigma. He’s got so much raw talent that given Gab’s pedestrian (not awful) play, he can’t be quite counted out yet, but where’s the evidence that he can or might beat out BG? There is none. He returns to practice now, so we’ll see. This is definitely a “Show Me” moment for Kap. Gabbert as well.

  37. Seb the 9ers will stow Driskel on the practice squad. I don’t believe they will keep 3 QB’s on the 53 man roster so Ponder will be gone but they will tell him to stay close to the phone in case of injury. imho

      1. I was sitting here thinking the same. I agree with Old Coach that they will want Ponder to be close to a phone if Niners go with only 2 QB’s

      2. Brotha any team picking him up would have to place him on the 53 man roster. I’m not sure how many teams will be looking for a rookie who has no experience with their system in sept.

        1. Old Coach, that’s not right, but apparently a common misconception.
          From SB Nation:
          ” For a player who is released to be put on a practice squad, they are first put through waivers. At that point any team can put in a claim and try to sign him, either to their active roster or to the practice squad with a higher offer.”

  38. Observations from last night:
    Ronald Blair is going to be a multi use stud he reminds me of Kevin Fagan
    Garrison Smith may be a FA gem he and Blair certainly give the team good depth on the D line
    Marcus Rush has a very good speed rusher and could be a 3rd down specialist especially with Kelly’s O creating a huge need for defensive depth.
    The O line is going to be the teams strength.
    The RB’s look out standing [if they can learn to hold on to the ball]
    Gabbert is a C grade QB at best I believe that if you compare his stats at the end of his career to A. Smith it will be no contest.
    That being said I still believe he will be the niners starter even though Kaep has a much higher ceiling I don’t believe he will be able to over come his mental blocks but I will be rooting for him.
    The defensive backfield will be the second strongest unit with the D line coming in a close 3rd.
    There will be improvement this year and we will be back in the playoffs in 17.

    1. Coach, I beg to differ. With the marked improvements in the whole team, including the coaching, They could go 10-6 and have an outside chance at the playoffs this year.

        1. I agree Seb. Seattle has gotten away from their identity. No Lynch, trading Unger, And Sherman looking more and more like a 6th round talent.

  39. Fan Tweet to AD – “I know you not gonna let Trent Brown take your job… right?”

    AD – “Yup. It’ll make the team better. It’s about winning, not my ego. Once Trent figures it out you’ll see what I see.”

    Great attitude from AD.

  40. sebnynah

    August 21, 2016 at 7:51 am

    I think Ponder’s performance just made Driskel expendable. With Kaep Gabbert and Ponder, the Niners are set,

    SEB’s Preseason QB Evaluation GRADES, BY TOMD…………………………………………………………………………STOCK DOWN

    You seem to put way too much stock into preseason games.

    1. sebnynah

      August 21, 2016 at 9:28 am

      You seem place way to much stock in preseason games

      Seb, your quote above had to have a time and a date so fans could see your grading system.
      Please be sure to tell Chip your system–not to judge Kap by preseason games, anoint him, don’t compete him. I’m sure Chip will want to sit down for a cup of coffee and discuss any other football brilliance on your part…TomD

      1. Oh,

        Seb, your stategy of not judging by preseason games will win the locker room over while the rest of the team works/sweats their as-ses off and Kap’s enjoying not working…..Everyone likes to see that on the job site.

        1. TrollD, I see you wanting to engage me, but I promised to be good.

          I will just say that your 0-55 prediction was a little off.

  41. Great job by Tiller, Brown, Kilgore on Hyde’s touchdown.

    http://www.49ers.com/video/videos/Carlos-Hyde-Scores-on-4-yard-TD-Run/95d89798-d0a4-4cd2-84b1-d4ee3d70663f

    Notice how the threat of a quarterback run freezes the edge defender. A good example of the quarterback acting as an “invisible blocker” in this system.

    At some point, DE-OLBs will start crashing down the running back. When this happens…
    1) The QB has the option to keep the ball and run
    or
    2) Kelly calls a run play with the left guard pulling to the right side.

    This is why I think Garnett’s still have a chance to start at LG. Beadles is smart and a good zone fit, but Garnett’s a great puller for a big man. In fact, this is why I think (in part) the 49ers drafted Garnett. To punish outside defenders that crash inside vs the zone run.

    1. Oh,

      and while we make sure not to place stock in Kap’s preseason performance it will win the locker room over from those who have worked/seated their as-ses off in camp while Kap stands in the shade.

      Way to win the locker room over, Seb……(That’s barrel laughs coming from the OL in the locker room who have to block for the anointed one when and if he wants to report to work)

      1. 49ereasons – Thanks. Always fun to breakdown plays. NN went into the quarterback acting as a “blocker” on some podcasts shortly after Kelly was hired.

          1. What people have to understand, the QB acts as a blocker without actually blocking, which gives an advantage in run blocking. We don’t want our QB blocking people, It’s simply the “threat” of a QB who can run, that has the effect.

            I know you understand it Brodie, this comment is meant for others.

          2. The above NN article really lays out the foundation of Chip’s system and should be required reading on this blog!

            1. And for those who think Chip’s run game is all finesse …….

              Kelly’s other bread-and-butter inside run is one that should be familiar to 49ers fans, as it was the team’s hallmark under Jim Harbaugh: the power play. As you can probably imagine, Kelly’s version differs just a bit, but the core principles are the same.

              Power aims to accomplish two basic goals: 1) use the leverage created by down blocks to create movement at the point of attack and seal off the back side; and 2) outnumber the defense to the play side by pulling an offensive lineman from the back side to lead the running back through the hole.

              1. This is why I disagree with pundits that say Garnett’s a bad fit for Kelly’s offense. I think he’s an ideal fit.

                Mildly surprised they traded up for him. Not surprised at all he was the 49ers 2nd pick. Kelly and Garnett were seen chatting at length during the Stanford pro day. Clearly a lovefest from the very start.

              2. That said, Trent Brown’s doing great, but he needs to be quicker on reach blocks to his left. He’s good, but may not be an ideal fit. Time will tell because he’s so young.

  42. Now we’ll get to TomD’s QB Performances:

    1. Blaine Gabbert: As I stated all along, Gabby’s just working on things, nothing spectacular, got a TD drive during his time….Chip, via postgame conference said he feels Gabby’s got a solid understanding of the offense (Kap fans, coaches speak like that just before they hand you the starting job….Kap better show in game 3, because game 4 NFL teams rest starters for reg. season)

    2. I stated before, watch Driskel–he’s will lie in the weeds and make points with the coaching staff vs. 3rd string defense….Guess what fans, Driskel got to played with the second team last night and did a good job for a rook.

    3. Ponder had fun looked good.

    4. Kap?????

    1. Well,

      Lets here the Kap fan supporters….What do ya say?…..

      Looks to me like KAP BETTER PUT ON A 7 STORMS A COMING SHOW IN PRESEASON GAME # 3.

      If Kap pulls another no show that’s it…..Given what we’ve seen so far, for Kap to have to put all of his Chips in one game 3 basket might be asking too much.

  43. Press (PR): Coach Kelly, how do you feel about Gabbert.
    Kelly: Blaine has a full grasp on our offense.

    PR: Coach, can you tell us about Driskel’s performance as a rookie?
    Kelly: Well, as you know, he moved up from 3rd team to 2nd team and looked well, what was he 9/10?

    PR: Coach, how did Ponder look?
    Kelly: 1st game, TD, 7/8.. I thing that answers your question.

    PR: And Kap
    Kelly: Next question please, because we have to wait for the 3rd preseason game, which will, in reality, be his last chance to shine because NFL rest starters for the regular season in game 4.

    1. TomD,
      The formatting won’t smooth the butt hurt emanating from your posts. We get it, you don’t want Kaep on the field. You just wrote three of the most desperate posts I’ve ever seen on this site. You’d rather lose with Gabbert than win with Kaep. Neither are the future or exciting prospects, but Kaepernick is the only one of them that has ever played at a high level in the NFL. That is why Kelly doesn’t shut the door on Kaepernick or anoint Gabbert as the starter. It’s that simple. It doesn’t matter if Gabby has blonde hair or said all of the right things during the offseason. He’s a known commodity without any special undeveloped talents, which makes him expendable.

      1. Big P.

        It’s not that I don’t like Kap. I don’t like the F/O….Have you ever played.
        You can’t keep a job w/o going to work?
        Works the same way in the NFL, can’t win a job on the trainers table.

        1. TomD,
          I don’t think he wants to be here/keep his job. He’s already paid. He asked to be traded and it fell through. Normally I would side with the team but I don’t blame Kaepernick for not being all in after the last couple of years. It’s a dysfunctional relationship. There is no incentive for Kaepernick to perform because the trust is gone. He isn’t motivated by his 2017 salary because he knows he’ll have a different contract during his next stop. Gabbert will always say the right thing because he’s a bad game or two from being out of the league and he knows it. I would tolerate Gabbert if I knew there was a rookie bad ass waiting in the wings. Driskell is not that rookie.

          1. Yeah,

            Big P. If I was Kap, took a pay cut so the front office could spend the savings on upgraded personnel, fired my coach who had my career on the upswing, I’d be juuuust a little pissed.

            We can go through F/O blunders on the offensive side of the football, but this article sums 49er mgmt. well:

            Why have the 49ers ignored the quarterback and wide receiver positions?

            http://www.49erswebzone.com/commentary/1587-why-have-49ers-ignored-quarterback-wide-receiver-positions/

          2. Tom,
            I’ve been banging that drum for years. I have probably been the biggest proponent of drafting and developing QB’s and WR’s. I just don’t believe Baalke is good at identifying talent at the offensive skill positions. He loves to use the #’s game hyperbole as an excuse for drafting WR’s late, but he always seems to identify and pick very specific defensive players. He actions when drafting defensive players contradict his words about drafting offensive skill players. There is a lack of conviction from him on the offensive side that shows me he has major blind spots in that area. I think that’s one of the reasons he likes Gabbert. It’s not about Gabbert being good, it’s about Gabbert not interfering with Baalke’s homegrown defensive masterpiece-at least in Baalke’s mind. The correlation between great QB’s and SB’s is overwhelming. I’d keep investing in the position until I had a great one. Same with receivers, especially with the contact rules these days.

            1. Big P,

              I agree with you on the drafting and development of QB’s. At a minimum, teams should plan to draft a QB every other year (some years, the draft may not break that way, but it should be the intention and it’s clearly not for Baalke).

              I’m not so sure about the WR piece. Perhaps, you didn’t intend to elevate WR to the same level as QB and were only saying It’s an area in which the 49ers have fallen short. It’s true, the 49ers haven’t made much of an investment at WR.

              Relative positional importance in the NFL (IMO):

              QB

              Pass Rusher

              Pass Pro

              Pass Coverage

              Pass Receivers

        2. Great point! Maybe in Sebs and P’s world what you did 3 years ago is somehow considered relevant.
          I don’t care who starts as long as it’s a guy who his teammates can respect and say he earned it.

          1. Another good point Prime, and one that seems to be lost on Grant. Simply handing the starting gig to Colin at this point, without him earning it in the eye of his teammates would be a GRAVE mistake.

            1. 49, give Grant credit, a QB controversy is what brought Maiacco’s blog to popularity. Why would he not continue that biscuit?

        3. Can’t believe I am saying this but I agree with TomD on this one.

          Then again ……… even a broken clock is right twice a day!

          1. P, unfortunately, winning with Kaep is not the inverse of losing with Gabbert. Those are two completely different animals.

            1. Ribico,
              They would be more complimentary of Gabbert after a loss than Kaepernick after a win. Kaep’s recent history is parallel to Gabbert’s entire career. I wasn’t suggesting Kaepernick would win more than Gabbert. I have said many times that I think the results would be similar, record wise. Gabbert has never done anything in the NFL except aid the argument for the rookie salary cap. The QB to take this team anywhere isn’t currently on the roster.

  44. Prime,

    Based on criteria coaches use to similate a reg. season game the best they can–AKA–preseason games the QB comp. stands at Gabbert, Driskel, Ponder.

    Unlikely Kap can unseat any of those in one game–3rd preseason game–4th one NFL starters are rested for the reg. season.

    Baalke and Jed will pull a Bill Walsh. Like Walsh did to Hollywood Henderson in the 80’s, after he came off IR, and ask him, How do you feel? Hollywood replied fine. Walsh cut him.
    Jed, not wanting to pay Kap’s 14 mil next season will cut him after he comes off IR.

      1. Also,

        Kelly’s up-tempo offense requires 3 QB’s since they have the ball more than most offenses so are more susceptible to IR

        1. Seriously folks,

          Kap could be cut as soon as tomorrow. The moment he says he feels fine.

          But you have to remember, Baalke is GM. If he cuts a QB that rode Alex Smith’s coat tails into a playoff, and has never beaten the Seattle Seahawks, Baalke looks bad.

          1. Kaep would be ecstatic if he was cut tomorrow.
            He still gets paid if he gets cut.
            If Kaepernick rode Smith’s tails to the playoffs, then Smith rode Kaepernick’s to the Super Bowl.
            Kaepernick has actually beaten the Seahawks.
            Baalke and the team would look bad by cutting Kaepernick because they would still owe him his salary.

            1. Nothing wrong with cutting a guy who doesn’t want to be there and who’s teammates don’t respect.
              BTW when did CK beat the Seahawks?

              1. As a business and PR move it would be stupid considering the team justified being stuck with his salary by claiming they wanted him there all along.
                You have no idea whether his teammates respect him or not. Alex Smith was so highly respected at one point that his teammates called him ‘Alex the Lion’. It wasn’t a compliment, they were calling him a coward.
                Kaepernick beat the Seahawks in December of 2013. It doesn’t matter but you guys like to throw a bunch of stuff at the wall that doesn’t stick.

              2. P it’s been well documented that CK has alienated himself from his teammates. Noes like that is not good for football that’s a brotherhood.
                And yes CK did beat the Hawks, my bad. He’s never beaten them in Seattle

              3. Big, I must say that you are persistent. Arguing against them is like trying to get the truth from Trump.

                Kaep is here because Chip Kelly is a smart man, and threatened to walk if Kaep was cut or traded. Chip promised him a fair competition, kept his promise, and it looks like Kaep will win by default.

                John Elway is kicking himself. He could have had a SB QB. Since Goff and Wentz went for 6 and 5 picks, a second round pick offer should have been jumped at. They should have done what the Raiders did with Crabtree. Paid him less with a promise to cut a new deal if he helps them win. Playing hardball with Kaep backfired spectacularly, and now the fans at MHR are SOOO happy with the 3 QBs they have right now.

                Kaep has matured. I am astonished that he is still with the team. I admire him for being so forgiving, and believe me, the FO has a lot to be sorry for. I am glad that Baalke finally had a talk with Kaep, something he should have been doing all along. Somehow, the FO forgot Eddie’s philosophy- an organization is built with people, and everyone is important, and everyone should be treated as a valued employee. They treated Kaep like he was a piece of meat. The lies and smears continue today. One rube pontificates that Kaep does not even want to be here. He repeats that as if saying it many times will make it true. No, Kaep plainly said that he was happy to be here, and he was eager to compete.

                It is unfortunate that he had a relapse of sorts, but that is expected in any rehab. Anytime one sits inactive, when he starts to work the muscles, they will get sore. He might have over compensated, too, straining another area while favoring the injured area.

                I think most of the Niner players are like A Davis. They have a burning desire to win. Engaging in juvenile clique behavior with putdowns and shunning is immature and petty. They want to win, and if Joan in payroll could lead them to wins, they would jump on her bandwagon and cheer. Seriously, Kaep gives them the best chance to win. He HAS played in a SB, and came within a whisker of winning it, He also came within one pass of returning. The others have not achieved playoff records or had a winning road playoff record.

                Once Kaep is healthy, and ready to compete, He will show that he is the superior choice. Patience is needed, but many cannot wait.

                Since the Niners beat the World Champions at their place without Kaep, Armstead and Buckner, I think the Niners are poised to return to relevance. Chip really had them humming, and it was music to my ears.

              4. Seb Kap dreamers like you and a select few I respect. I respect the blind love.
                Let’s see what happens and please be a man and no excuses when it’s said and done. Don’t blame the injury, Baalke, Jed or the fertilizer you’ve been sniffing. At the end of the day he’s had an opportunity and now we see what he can do. Fair enough Chico?

              5. Prime, more belligerent blustering and bloviating about being a man. Maybe you should follow your own advice and grow a pair before spewing offal. You sound tough but I bet you are a wimp. The ones that talks the loudest usually are overcompensating.

  45. Tweets re Kelly’s presser from the usual beat writers…
    “Chip Kelly says Eli Harold just got the wind knocked out of him yesterday.” – Biderman
    “Chip Kelly says Kaepernick was “fine” after more extensive throwing session before game. Plan is to fold him back into practice tomorrow.” – Barrows
    “Chip Kelly says Colin Kaepernick will throw during practice tomorrow, but not necessarily during 7-on-7s or 11 on 11s.” – Our Man Grant
    “Sounds like Gerald Hodges will play in base and Ray Ray Armstrong will play in sub-packages.” – Our Man Grant
    “Chip Kelly: #49ers RB Shaun Draughn got hit in ribs in practice vs. #Broncos, but will be fine.” – Branch
    “Chip Kelly said he had no update on LB/ST Nick Bellore’s knee condition. He has yet to speak with medical staff.” – Maiocco

    – Great news re Harold.
    – Hope its nothing serious about Bellore.
    – Hodges is athletic, be he gave up a big play yesterday going into the wrong gap.
    – Glad Draughn is also not serious hurt.
    – Good that CK’s seems to be on the mend.

    1. Grant, where are you getting your info on Hodges in base, Armstrong in sub-packages? Is that just based on how they played yesterday? Or did Kelly say something?

      1. Without answering for GC, sometimes I wonder if water cooler jiving among those who cover the team doesn’t become consensus by repetition. Someone offers an idea or opinion, there’s some head bobbing, and soon it’s a presumption.
        Not that that EVER happens amongst fans and blog commenters.

        1. I’m guessing it comes from this quote from Kelly about yesterday’s game, when asked about the LBs fighting for the job next to Bowman:

          “I think they all had their pluses. They all have done some really nice things. [LB Gerald Hodges] Hodgy had a fumble recovery and was very productive. [LB] Ray-Ray’s [Armstrong] done a really good job in coverage in some of our dime and our sub-packages. [LB] Mike’s [Wilhoite] just really steady in terms of how he plugs and plays and probably could play both positions behind NaVorro if NaVorro were to be injured and play the WILL. So, they all have their pluses and they’re all doing a good job. So, I think it’s a positive situation for us.”

          Based on that, I can see why one would think they are looking at Hodges in base and Armstrong in sub-packages, with Wilhoite as Bowman’s backup.

              1. Well, I’ve popped down to LA for a concert or San Diego for a game, but maybe not for college boys from a middlin’ program I’m not familiar with.

              2. Yeah, Brisbane to Sydney really isn’t that bad – just a couple of hours flight. But as you say, for a game between two teams I don’t really follow its not a trip I’m itching to make. Especially since I hate flying!

  46. Grant: “Young was always accurate, even in college.”

    In Young’s first four years in the NFL, his highest completion percentage was 53.6%.

    1. Ex-Thanks for looking that up. It didn’t ring true to me, but I wasn’t sure I was remembering correctly. He was a wild barbarian in his youth in LA and Tampa, I’d have been surprised if that Steve Young was accurate as he was so erratic on the field. I was highly skeptical when Walsh traded for him.

      1. Many believed Steve would never develop into an efficient pocket passer, and would always rely on his legs too much.

        I remember as if it were yesterday. Steve was erractic at best when it came to accuracy durring a better pasty of 4 seasons and now he’s in the HOF.

      1. My guess, Grant tells us something like “comp % encompasses too many factors to draw conclusions based on one type of measurement”

        “Trust me, not your own lying eyes, Steve was always accurate”

        1. I just remember what Steve Young himself said. He said he relied on his athleticism, and was undisciplined and lazy. Walsh beat that out of him, and he was fortunate to sit and study for years behind the master.

    2. No problem, guys.

      On top of Young’s shaky accuracy early in his NFL career, apparently he completed 44% in high school (it may have been in only one of his years, I’m not sure). This was revealed by Tom Tolbert and Ralph Barbieri on Young’s weekly show. They mercilessly needled Young with this stat, Young never denied it, and was mortified, although he did say that running the wishbone, his passing opportunities were limited. So, I’ve always assumed the 44% was “accurate”.

      1. I can so see him as a wishbone QB. He was once asked if he shoulda/coulda been a running back. He said he would’ve embraced any position that gets to call the plays. I’ll always remember his SuperSpazWhiteBoyRumblingRamble against the Vikings.
        Okay, so a friend posed this question to me. Who from Niners’ history would be the ideal RB for Kelly’s system? Carlos Hyde is promising. But history?
        1/ Roger Craig
        2/ Frank Gore (young)
        3/ Garrison Hearst
        4/ Ricky Waters (higher in a different system)
        I didn’t have my in personal eyeballs on the Million Dollar Backfield, so I left them out.

          1. I think Craig caught only 2 passes while at Nebraska, but became a really good pass catcher. He also was a FB, blocking for Wendell Tyler so he was the better blocker of the group.

            Chip would have loved him in his system.

        1. BT,

          I don’t think you could go wrong with any of those choices.

          Craig would definitely check all of Kelly’s boxes for RB. He was a work horse runner and a third down back rolled into one.

          Gore was obviously a great runner, but what’s forgotten is he was a pretty good receiver earlier in his career. I’m not sure what happened to him in his later years in that regard. Lack of opportunities, maybe, but it seems he dropped more than his far share when called upon, too.

          Garrison Hearst is underrated a little bit, IMO. Maybe not underrated, but rather forgotten. He was a great back and would’ve been a really good fit for Kelly’s system, too. Had he not broken his ankle in 1998 against the Falcons, the 49ers might’ve won their sixth SB.

          Ricky Watters seems like a good fit for Kelly’s system, too. Why do you think his skills don’t match (I’m assuming because of your side note that he would be higher in a different system).

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