49ers 6, Broncos 10: Grades

SAN FRANCISCO – Here are my grades for the 49ers’ 10-6 preseason loss to the Denver Broncos.

QUARTERBACKS: C. Kaepernick was perfect – four completions in four attempts for 38 passing yards. He also converted a third down with a six-yard scramble. His backups, Colt McCoy and Scott Tolzien, played dreadfully. McCoy completed three-of-four passes, threw one interception and left the game with a neck stinger. Scott Tolzien completed 15-of-26 passes for just 158 yards (6.07 yards per attempt), and he threw an interception. B.J. Daniels did not play any snaps at quarterback.

OFFENSIVE LINE: B-. With the exception of Anthony Davis who killed the 49ers’ first drive with a false start penalty, the 49ers’ first-string offensive line played well. They opened up huge holes in the running game, as usual. The 49ers’ second and third-string offensive lines played horribly, though. McCoy and Tolzien were under constant pressure, and Anthony Dixon had very little room to run.

RUNNING BACKS: B. LaMichael James picked up the yards his offensive line provided for him, but he did not create any yards on his own. When the 49ers’ first-team offensive line left the game, James struggled to gain positive yards. Anthony Dixon played better than James. Dixon gained 27 yards on seven carries, and he caught three passes for 18 yards.

WIDE RECEIVERS: C+.  On the first drive, Anquan Boldin caught two passes and Marlon Moore made a spectacular catch. He’s leading the competition to be the 49ers’ starting split end Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers. Kassim Osgood caught three passes for 34 yards. Ricardo Lockette forced two defensive pass interference penalties. Lavelle Hawkins dropped a pass and caught zero. A.J. Jenkins caught one pass but fumbled it.

TIGHT ENDS: B. Vernon Davis caught the first pass of the game, but he only played on the first drive. Garrett Celek caught zero passes, and neither did MarQueis Gray. Second-round pick Vance McDonald practically played the entire game. He was targeted a game-high eight times, caught four passes for 66 yards (16.5 yards per catch) and dropped one. When he caught the ball, he was a load to take down.

DEFENSIVE LINE: A-. The first-team defensive line held the Broncos’ top-two running backs, Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball, to just 18 yards on 8 carries. Demarcus Dobbs played well in particular. He had 2 tackles and a half of a sack.

LINEBACKERS: B+. Michael Wilhoite played most of the game in place of the injured Patrick Willis. Wilhoite finished with a game-high 10 tackles. Rookie inside linebacker Nick Moody had four tackles, but he left the game early with a knee injury. The outside linebackers played particularly well. Dan Skuta had two sacks. He’s probably going to make the team. Parys Haralson also had a sack.

CORNERBACKS: B. Tramaine Brock gave up a couple of completions to Peyton Manning, but Brock held his own for the most part. Perrish Cox more than held his own. He knocked away two passes as an outside cornerback. He was the 49ers’ best cornerback today. Nnamdi Asomugha played well too, though. He didn’t give up any catches, and he made a strong tackle.

SAFETIES: B+. Eric Reid didn’t start but he played most of the second half and finished the game with six tackles. He’s a hard hitter.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A-. Phil Dawson hooked a field goal wide left, but he made two others. Perrish Cox gained 15 yards on a punt return and 33 yards on a kick return. He’s making it tough for the 49ers to cut him. Kassim Osgood and Ricardo Lockette both made impressive tackles on kick coverage. And special-teamer specialist Bubba Ventrone pulled his hamstring.

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    1. That’s JH reward for cutting Josh last year instead of Tolzein. Especially considering how Josh beat Tolzein out for the job. Take a look at Josh’s stats tonight for the Bengals.

      1. Josh Johnson looked like a starter for the Bengals. He ran, made guys miss tackles and threw on the run. He’ll be a solid backup. If teams mimic SF, I’m sure he’ll have some pistol plays drawn up and come into the game for 8-10 plays.
        I’ll close with my disclaimer. For 3 games last year I thought Tolzien played better than JJ. That 4th game JJ came out of his shell. I am not a JJ fan, but watching him last night compared to the statue we have in Tolzien in terms of mobility, I think JH might of made the wrong decision.

      2. josh johnson is 0-5 as a starter in nfl games that count…what he does in practice games is of little consequence

    2. He tore it up for Atlanta this week! He was too expensive for a 3rd string qb last year so the niners cut him.

  1. Wow, I was so pulling for Jenkins to make a catch and gets some mojo. He seems a bit lost. He doesn’t seem to play with any urgency. He was open a few times but Tolzein was under seige. After that game and the fumble you are just going to hear the bust label more and more. If I were him I would ask Jerry Rice to give some private coaching.

    1. I thought all this negative talk about him was undeserving, but now.. I see what Grant means. Should have used that 1st round pick on somebody else.

    2. Though AJ through a nice block on a run, he seems to hit the turn with little provocation. The fumble was bonehead. He better show something soon.

    3. I don’t want to be a defender of Jenkins but when you watch the replay he was open a lot, the QBs just didn’t throw his way that often. Now the fumble, no excuse there.

      1. he beat the corner on the pass of mccoy that was picked off—he may be the best deep threat of all the niners receivers…still, the play i was most disturbed by was when he was running a drag route right at the line of scrimmage, and the defensive tackle just knocked him down, letting tolzien have no where to go with the ball….he still gets off his feet too much and isnt strong

    4. Yeah I think he will be gone after this season, and I think that
      he can not handle those hard throws by Kap. If I were the coach I would look for a trade with some one.

  2. I felt quite a charge here at AJ’s fumble. Can we cut him now? I think fans no longer have much belief in him—which makes it that much more difficult for him to begin helping the team……..rather than continuing to hurt it.

  3. Kap better slide on those runs in the upcoming season. In QB land there seems to be a serious nose bleed drop in elevation between he and who ever the backup is. Now I miss Alex.
    It also looks as if we cannot afford to loose a starting tackle. But the D line looks to have some serious depth this year. If this game is any example the D line is going to be scary good. Williams and Dorsey were solid at the nose. Parys H is back and Corey L is an exciting surprise. And did I almost forget Dobbs.
    Yes it helps that Denver’s 2nd team O line was nothing to brag about and yes it did not look good when that same second team SF D line got thoroughly gassed after the SF second team offense gave them no rest at all.
    Still I think Fangio’s defensive front is going to put on a show this year. And if that is true then that might just be enough for the back field to look good as well.
    Special teams looks like it will be better this year as well.

    Super bowl bond ? …. not based on this pre season game.

    1. You miss Alex? Give me a break. Learn how to spell “lose” and “bound” and your comment that this team doesn’t look Super Bowl bound really eliminates any attempt at credibility. Read my lips: it was the first preseason game.

  4. The blocking of the backup O-line was so bad it was hard to evaluate the rest of the offensive players. Most of my observations are about the D.

    - Though Corey Lemonier got suckered inside on a run play, he showed impressive quickness in the pass rush. He seems a few ticks quicker then Cam Johnson.
    - Great to see Haralson back. He was solid as usual.
    - Ian Williams was a stud. Holds point, pressures gaps.
    - Aldon is back to his pre-labrum form. Got the pressure but also crashed along the line in run support.
    - Nnamdi and the rest of the CBs tackled well.
    - Reid tackled well and seemed like he belonged on the field. Mature for his rookie status.
    - McDonald showed why he was worth the 2nd rounder. He ran by defenders. He caught over defenders. Improve the inline blocking and cut down on the clanker drops and he’s a star.
    - Lockette runs very, very fast. And he’s big. If he can develop WR skills look out.

    1. McDonald reminds me of a young Vernon Davis. He had the drop issues as well. Still, the upside of being able to line Davis up at WR is like having our own Julio Jones on the outside. Boldin lined up opposite of him with McDonald playing TE and there are going to be some small CB’s who suffer playing sf.

      1. Yep. A rookie named Jerry Rice had some drops back in the day too, but he came around. Others (Stokes, Woods, ?), not so much.

    2. totally agree with everything Brodie. One more thing to add: we might not have a “superstars” at the CB and WR positions, but we have depth! Cox looked like a stud. Namdi looked solid! More, Osgood, Collie all looked good. Lockette and Jenkins showed they at least have a pulse! The depth of the front 7 was obvious too. No were to run, and no time to throw for Denver.
      Ried looked the part of 1st rounder ready to start, but i want to see how he defends the deep pass plays.

  5. Wow not just the fans who whiff on this one, even Grant isn’t very good at assessment apparently.

    Tolzien is absolutely the #2 QB. He threw off his back foot with authority and quickly. He is a prototypical Bill Walsh type QB. Did any of you count up how many WR drops there were?? Bad protection from 3rd string O-line and was hooking up with the other great draft pick, Vance McDonald. Really like that guy.

    Colt McCoy is exactly the same guy from Cleveland, that bomb he threw up to AJ I knew the minute he threw it not to trust it…sure enough way too much arm on it and INT.

    The problem with Grant & others is that if you look simply at stats, they don’t tell the story. Tolzien looks incredibly comfortable in this scheme and you can tell he knows it backwards and forwards.

    1. Tolzien looks great 90% of the time and then tries too hard and makes horrible decisions 10% of the time. That pick had absolutely no chance, the WRs busted the play, he shouldn’t pulled the trigger.

      1. Plus he’s playing against the 2′s and 3′s, not the 1′s and 2′s. there’s really no game planning in the preseason, s it’s hard to figure out just by game film.

      2. Besides the drops, it’s obvious some of the blame on the INT by Tolzien was a WR running a wrong route. Two guys ended up in the same place twice last night. It wasn’t his best game but far from awful. I’d like to see him with the 1′s OL to see if he scans the field or looks off a side and throws to another receiver if he has the blocking time.

  6. To the dude who said we don’t look super bowl bound after this pre-season game, just give up on thinking you know football now. Anyone that thinks pre-season football is ANY indication of what the regular season and playoffs will look like will never get football. Now, the most disappointing aspect of the night would have to be AJ. I can only imagine how frustrated the coaching staff is and how upset they are with themselves for drafting AJ in the first round. I saw what they saw in AJ but I also saw that it was a reach. AJ will barely make the 53 man roster and it this year will be his last chance to prove himself. Reid just might be the best 1st round draft pick since Willis, unless Davis was drafted after, can’t remember. If things continue the way they are going it seems like we have found our NT replacement and FS replacement. I even feel comfortable with Craig Dahl back there, he had a great game. Collie looks like he could be a solid number 2 if he stays healthy. I also liked Chad Hall, he could be a poor man’s Welker, he’s got strong hands for a small guy.

    1. I enjoyed your comments, but I think Aldon Smith also deserves consideration as the best 1st round pick since PW. Right on about Collie and Hall! I think our wideouts will be fine, except for Jenkins of course. Someone pointed out that the Dline should provide more of a push this year, so I am not as concerned about the secondary as some people are. I think this team will be better than last year’s.

      1. Collie a solid #2? Not on a team that has Crabtree Boldin, Moore, and that’s moving Davis to WR to keep Celek (blocking down field) and McDonald on the field. Collie is like a porcelain doll. He’s one slant route away from ending his NFL career.
        I love your hype for the team. However, you undermined your thesis half way through your comments. You start with the opening line of “Anyone that thinks pre-season football is ANY indication of what the regular season and playoffs will look like (they) will never get football. ”
        Then you follow it up with,” I even feel comfortable with Craig Dahl back there, he had a great game. ” Even more contradictory statements precede and follow that about the game and how players will look in the regular season because of this one game.
        It’s great to have football back, but let’s not judge anyone yet on football knowledge. We’re all rusty. It’s our preseason too.

  7. These grades seem fair to me. The starters looked really good, the backups looked… like backups. We still don’t have a good idea of who the #2 receiver will be but otherwise a pretty good showing for the 1st preseason game.

    One other downside: backup QB. Heaven forbid Kaepernick get hurt. We have Colt McCoy looking like the guy who’s dad coaches him from the sideline and Tolzien looking like the guy who studied under Alex Smith for two years.

  8. About AJ Jenkins, I have observed that when athletes with mettle make mistakes, they blame only themselves, and they do not lump their mistakes in with the mistakes of others. To do so would be a form of diluting their responsibility. Below are AJ’s words in response to why he didn’t do well tonight. I hope I am wrong, but I think they provide some insight into the kind of player he is.

    “It’s the first preseason game of the season so we all have to work on something. I’m sure not everyone played their best game because it’s early in the year.”

    1. Hmmm…with AJ is not the case of just today’s game. He hasn’t played well in a year.What’s his excuse?

      It doesn’t matter. I’ve said it all along: he will be cut. No way in hell Harbaugh keeps him around taking up space as the last WR in the roster. He is the worst WR in the roster and this is only the first pre-season game. I imagine the other WRs will step up their game as well.

  9. Grant

    Perrish Cox was never going to get cut. He’s big, cheap, quick, young, multi-dimensional, and bears the imprimatur of Donatell.

    What made you think he was on the bubble?

      1. He was cleared of any wrong doing in that off field stuff and the civil suit brought against him was tossed. Why don’t you give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s far from being a bubble player.

      2. Pete
        Bennefit of the doubt? You must be a very devout Christian to believe in the immaculate conception.
        Cox denied ever having sex with her yet she is pregnant with his child. Thats quite the story you want us to believe. The 9ers signing asomugha and Wright show that they r not fully satisfied with their CB so id say he is on the bubble, but he played well and could stick around

  10. It’s doubtful that Kaep will get hurt, as he takes most snaps from the shotgun and/or takes his drops quickly, doesn’t take hits and avoids contact when running downfield, and even if he was hit, he’s built like a MAC truck, so it’s unlikely McCoy will ever see the field, but he’s a good quarterback.

    Tolzien, on the other hand, looked terrible today, but it’s impossible to gauge him properly behind that line play. Still, his decisions were horrendous and those happy feet are far too familiar. Even his quick-release is ugly. I’m looking for something redeeming, but I’d like to see what Harbaugh’s project, Daniels, can do.

    1. Tolzien looked a bit like Alex Smith out there. He made a couple of nice throws, (1 to convert a 4th down) but checked down to the easy stuff too often just like Smith.

  11. Tolzien appeared to have a couple pretty good drives going ..
    and then … something would happen … like (maybe) too many
    Broncos in his face …
    The 2nd / 3rd stringers on the OL .. should ALL be on the bubble ..
    that is.. if this game is any indication …
    Let’s see what they do facing a hostile crowd and Alex’s new team,
    (next week) ..

    But … I was impressed with Lockette’s big hit on the kick return, and Reid is starting to come along as well .. He made a couple really good tackles… and I’m thinking .. with time .. he’ll be a good Safety ..

  12. I feel like Tolzien is soooo close to being good. Sometimes it seems like when he takes a 7 step drop and starts to feel the pressure from the D linemen, he panics and makes a big mistake. I wish he would step up in the pocket to escape the D linemen and buy a few more milliseconds when he throws. On the short drops when he gets no pressure he is really exceptional. Can coaching fix him at this point?

  13. Disagree on the O-line grade. They were horrible after the starters left the game.

    My bright spot and one that I was looking forward too was V McDonald. He was getting open and making the catches (and some tough ones) when in his range. He gets an A in my book. I hope he can grow into the next B Jones.

    Sour spot…. Tolzein and Jenkins..
    ST looked lost and flustered at times. I know the O-line wasn’t great but like LMJ not being able to make plays on his own I felt ST couldn’t do it either
    AJ Jenkins didn’t look hungry after the fumble. Looking at his body language after the fumble he looked depressed. I really wanted to see him in the coaches ear asking questions on what he did wrong. I don’t know if this guy has that hunger. The Bust label is still rolling along. He’s got to gain some confidence real quick or he’s gone.

  14. Any doubt about who’ll be leading the league in sacks after Week One?

    “SAN FRANCISCO — Aldon Smith didn’t need long to reprise his role as a pass-rushing menace for the 49ers in Thursday night’s exhibition opener.

    Smith pressured Peyton Manning into a third-down incompletion to cap an optimistic opening series against the Denver Broncos.

    Smith, who had a franchise-record 19½ sacks last season, pushed past All-Pro left tackle Ryan Clady and then hit Manning just enough so a third-and-19 pass failed to reach Wes Welker.

    Smith celebrated by lightly tapping Manning’s backside, and Smith then joined most of the 49ers’ first-string defense on the sideline for the rest of the night.

    Smith, the 49ers’ 2011 first-round pick, had offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum.”

    He’s going against the NFL’s top sack-sack in the Mindwasher, Aaron Rodgers, who’ll be playing behind his familiarly porous OL, which will also be lacking its best player, LT Bulaga.

    I say Aldon gets 10.5 sacks in the first game.

    1. Tarzan says “I say Aldon gets 10.5 sacks in the first game”

      Is that the pro scout speaking or the retired rich guy sipping on Stock 84?

  15. Vance McDonald is going to be a beast. He’s going to be a slow churning 1-2-punch with Vernon Davis. I’m excited about that. Eric Reid is also going to top-notch. He still has some developing to do, but he has the chance to start week one…not likely, but very possible. Tolzien I think wins #2 if last night was any indication of what we have ok backup QBs. McCoy has too much experience to play that crappy.

    WRS: Lockette and Oagood will make the team. Chuck Jacobs looks interesting, but I don’t know if he can make it. If we carry 8 WRs (which is unlikely) he can beat out Jenkins. All signs point to coach running short on patience with Jenkins and giving him excessive opportunities. If last night was any indicator of what Jenkins has to offer, then he may not make the 53. Our WRs will be – Crabs, Boldin, Williams, Collie, Patton, Lockette, Osgood. Osgood has great value on special teams, and coach sees the potential with Lockette. I just don’t see a realistic scenario where AJ Jenkins makes the team.

    1. Amendment to WRs: Marlon Moore makes the team too. We can get by with that many guys because Crabs is out for a while. Also I didn’t forget about Manningham, I just don’t see him making team if he’s not 100% before the end of camp. I can’t see us cutting someone who can produce in favor of a guy who might not be able to anymore.

    2. McDonald is who stood out to me as well. He looks like the biggest damn guy on the field. Like his reaction after the drop — he was pissed.

      1. Yeah, I think his nickname needs to be “Big Mac” because that dude is a giant. He looks like an offensive lineman with WR speed. I feel bad for any LB or CB that ever has to cover him, because whichever way his body is moving BEFORE contact that’s the direction EVERYBODY is going.

  16. My assessment of the game, it’s preseason, a time to determine what type of depth you have. Lets just say that if CK goes down, the season is over.
    Neither guy looked good and they had no support in pass blocking or the run game.

    1. Daniels if given an opportunity might fare better with his athleticism behind the struggling back up offensive line….

  17. Your grades are totally off. Tolzien looked great considering the second-string O-line wasd terrible. It looked like Smith during the Singletary days. The backs were so-so. Recievers were at best average as were the tight ends.

    Tolzien is the backup QB. If he was playing with the starters he would have been much, much better. His arm is a lot stronger this year and he has a quicker release than almost anyone in the league. McCoy won’t make the squad.

      1. I agree also. That “neck stinger” might just be flattery when cutting him. It’s a shame, I was hoping McCoy would flourish in SF behind our line.

  18. Being pre season, I was impressed with McDonald, Reid, and Lemonier. Is Kilgore the new center? I thought McCoy and Tolzien didn’t have a chance to speak of, Tolzien had a few drops thought he played okay. Dixon will make the team on effort alone. Its the first pre season game and it showed for both teams, who by many are picked to go to the super bowl.

    1. Rib
      But how funny were the 9ers TV announcers (ryan i think) “kick sails just wide of the upright” just wide??? maybe my TV angle was off but it looked like he missed it by about half the field. I did like that he was 7 for 7 from 50+ last year

    2. Probably the easiest wind conditions he’ll ever see at The Stick. Okoye might be worth a look if that’s all we’ve got.

  19. The first string offense stalled out as per the usual. Those need to be TD’s, not 3′s. No different than before. AJ looks like he needs to play, a lot, in college, to improve. If he wasn’t a first rounder, I don’t think he would even be on the team. I hope I’m wrong. McDonald looks like a beast out in the pattern, a much bigger/better threat than Walker. If he can improve his blocking, we’ll have the real deal in TE packages. The LB’s were decent, except for the OLB’s in coverage, there was a ton of PA roll outs they bit hard on and left the leakers open. Biggest surprise for me was Lemonier, he is ALOT bigger than I expected. He didn’t look as big in his college highlights. Looks more like a 4-3 DE than a true OLB. Aldon smith without the elite explosiveness. Ian Williams showed some nice things. Reid is definitely a hard hitter and fast, but is going to have to learn how to hit hard AND wrap up at the same time like Goldson. He missed some tackles and bounced off a couple of RB’s. ST coverage still needs work, Lockette’s coverage was good, but the guy never should have fielded the ball.

      1. Goldson was a sure tackler, for the most part. He tries to blow people up and liked to pile on a ton. I meant get the guy on the ground. Reid bounced off a bunch of guys last night.

      2. John In SoCal,

        Goldson would, indeed, blow guys up. When he actually hit his intended target. There were just too many times when he would go for the big hit, instead of a more sure tackle, and as a result, whiff all together. He’s much more suited to the strong safety position, IMO.

    1. Seattle first second and third stringers all put points up. By points I mean TDs. Who would have throught Jackson could throw 2 TDs and Brady Quinn even had a TD.
      I bring up Seattle though not to point out the score, but because they had no pass rush on Rivers who was sacked second most in the NFL last season(49 times). They also couldn’t protect Wilson who was running for his life much like SF’s backups.
      Antonio Gate scorched them down the middle. I think VD and Boldin lining up at WR with McDonald at TE is going to give Seattle fits.

  20. A few observations of the game last night:

    The Good

    -Boldin appears to be the replacement for Walker in the formation on passing downs. His alignment on the short third down completion was where we used to see DW.

    -LaMichael James looked explosive and powerful on the opening drive with the starting unit. I think he is going to take over the role that we saw Hunter in prior to the injury.

    -Marlon Moore made a very nice grab on the 3rd down play. He looks the part, and if they keep giving him opportunities could be a factor.

    -Brock played decent in his first start. Gave up a short pass underneath, but later was stride for stride with the receiver on a fade and did a good job getting his head turned and locating the ball, which was poorly thrown.

    -McDonald looks smooth, and despite an early drop showed well. Nice job of going up and getting the ball on a couple occassions, and nice speed to turn the short drag route on his first reception into a 19 yard gain.

    -Lemonier sure knows how to dip and turn the corner. With a year of development he could take over Haralson’s role as the primary backup OLB. Speaking of Haralson, it is really nice to have him back this year. He looked really good.

    -Hope Nick Moody’s knee injury is not too serious. The rookie was impressive last night and his special teams ability is needed.

    The Bad

    -As for the sloppy play of the offense starting in the second quarter, I chalk that up to the play of 2 guys who will not be on the 53 man roster, Patrick Omameh and Kenny Wiggins. The backup offensive tackles were brutal, and their inability to hold up effectively shut down the offense.

    Not only did Omameh get beat repeatedly around the edge in pass protection, but his slow feet caused him to not be able to come down quick enough to cut off the linebacker (his responsibility) who blew up the running play in the backfield, leading to a fumble and TD for the defense.

    -Cam Johnson looked lost at ROLB. The only way he is a 49er come the regular season is if he gets on the practice squad.

    -Colt McCoy – Did not play well in the 2nd quarter, and then suffered a stinger in his throwing shoulder. In his defense, Scott Tolzien did not look so hot in the 2nd quarter either. The poor play of the tackles made it nearly impossible to grade either of the two based on their play before halfttime. Anything more than a quick 3 step drop was asking for the QB to get hit.

    The bigger picture with his injury is that if it is something that lingers on the 49ers are in trouble. Tolzien played well in the 2nd half last night, but that is nothing new for him. He has shown the ability to do well against guys who are 3rd and 4th on the depth chart previously.

    -AJ Jenkins,

    1. “The backup offensive tackles were brutal, and their inability to hold up effectively shut down the offense.”

      Omameh, Tribue, Nettler and Looney were awful. Now we know why the Niners brought back Snyder. As awful as Snyder is, he is the best back up lineman on the roster.

      I see the Niners stacking a couple of them in the PS..but it doesn’t look for some of them.

    2. The problem with the offense after the 1st team left the field was OT. Pathetic. Makes it Impossible to evaluate McCoy or Tolzien’s potential. They don’t see Jenkins running free on a couple of plays. The Def TD. The rhythm disappears when the edge is not blocked.

    3. The problem with the offense after the 1st team left the field was OT. Pathetic. Makes it Impossible to evaluate McCoy or Tolzien’s potential. They don’t see Jenkins running free on a couple of plays. The Def TD. The rhythm disappears when the edge is not blocked. If we lose Staley or Davis, we have to move a guard outside. Very disappointed in Looney’s progress.

  21. Pat White didn’t look bad at all in Washington. He scrambled late in the game for a TD, converted a 2 point conversation and avoided pressure. He is the 4th stringer though and will probably be cut.

  22. What’s with the pathetic slobs at the stick that can’t wad up their trash or throw it in a trash can? Flying bags and hot dog wrappers on the field was embarrassing!
    As for the game, Corey Lemonier and Ian Williams impressed me the most. Tolzien and McCoy were hideous.
    I love Harbaugh but the fluorescent green clipboard in his butt is a bit nerdy for me. Doesn’t he see himself on film? Damn

  23. It is Shark week … and AJ Jenkins seems to be the blood in the water around here.

    I watched the fumble about 10 times … he’s fighting for extra yards … he’s a tackle break away from taking it to the house. Amazing how high the stakes are…if he does score…it would be a Jenkins love-fest this morning.

    1. I think it would have taken much more than a TD for a Jenkins love fest. We wanted to see what we were sold by Harbaugh in the media this last week. One broken tackle in the second quarter would not have been enough.

    2. Referring Jenkins to chum is accurate.

      If, if ,if…you have 2 of them in one sentence. If Omameh makes his block Harper doesn’t fumble and Denver doesn’t score a TD. If McCoy and Tolzien don’t make terrible throws the offense has 2 less turnovers. If Anthony Davis doesn’t jump offsides maybe the first team O scores a first down.

      How about focusing on what did happen?

      1. I won’t use “if”.
        How about, would Kaep have thrown a better ball on McCoy’s INT? Thought Jenkins had a step on the defender. A lower arc pass that Kaep is known to throw could be a potential TD.

      2. Albert,

        It’s still a hypothetical. Who know’s? For sure it was a poor throw. He was behind the CB, but he was still on his back hip with a safety coming over the top. What would the result have been? Let me check my magic disco ball.

    3. if he does score…it would be a Jenkins love-fest this morning.

      You’re joking, right?

      1. I’m not joking.

        If, (yeah hammer, it’s a hypothetical) AJ breaks that tackle and scampers 50 yars for a TD…most comments in here would be talking about his breakaway speed, or how he’s finally figured it out … and Baalke made the right pick.

        My comment is more about the fickle nature of sports fans … especially football fans.

      2. paulbleedsblue:

        I understand that, you know as well as I do that when commenters here have concluded a player is a bust, positive performance in one preseason game isn’t going to sway them. Hell, history shows that positive performance in one and one-half seasons won’t sway some of them.

      3. Paul,

        AJ has been designated a bust by the message board scouts. He has a target on his back that will not disappear until he does. There is nothing he can do at this point to change his fate. We have seen it play out before.

    4. I totally agree paul, That ball needed to be thrown on a rope, instead, it looked like a pop-up in a baseball game. A better throw, or a non-fumble on the other play, and everyone would be sighing in relief. Instead, we get a fumble, and everyone is still on the edge of their seat.

    5. It is not just the fumble…it is a year and a half of bumming around Niner training facilities.

      About the fumble: If he scores, good for him, and no lovefest from this fan. After all, he does he paid, rather well, to perform….

  24. It looked pretty much like a lot of first preseason games I’ve seen over the years. Overall I thought my performance as a barbecue chef far exceeded that by the PK, the OL back-ups, reserve QBs, or Lowell’s morning column.
    Lowell today gives us ‘The Meaning’ of every play in the first offensive series. Meaning? Definition? Platonic meaning? Metaphysical meaning? Spiritual meaning? Is he Sun-Tzu now? Going to found the new Est? A Wise Yogi in the Himalaya? Well, maybe the Oakland Hills. I think Lowell was bored and trying to entertain himself with that one.
    So the Duchess of Goat Hill (my wife) says, “Who is that guy?”
    ‘Colt McCoy’
    “Where’d we get him?”
    ‘Cleveland’
    ” Looks like we should have gotten a Hatfield instead”

    1. Tuna – Ya think “Johnny Football” could be a good backup for CK? Just gotta keep Johnny out of the bars in North Beach.

      1. Couldn’t keep him out of a bar with a cattle prod!
        I didn’t get cheated, so what the heck.

  25. Thought it was funny that we have barely heard Cory Lemonier’s name mentioned during training camp by any of the media observers in their various camp reports but the kid shows in his first few plays that he has talent and looks like he is probably a keeper.

    1. He did not fly under my radar. Although Auburn was painful to watch as a team, Mr. Lemonier shined. I said before, he has what it takes to become a prolific pass rusher in this defense.

      1. I remember that before the draft someone posted a mock draft here and had us taking Cory at 34. I was thinking it was you Razor.

  26. I’d like to view the game tape to see how open Jacobs was. Tolzein was constantly checking down if he didn’t have the time to throw it downfield and it seemed like he didn’t.

    Jacobs caught a tough a pass and I’d like to see him play with the first unit a bit.

    He’s the anti-AJ.

    1. “I’d like to view the game tape to see how open Jacobs was.”

      From Barrows: “Not to belabor poor A.J. Jenkins, but many of you have been asking whether he was open throughout the game and the 49ers’ quarterbacks did not look in his direction. The answer is, yes – at times. The 49ers like to drag Jenkins across the field on shallow routes to take advantage of his catch-and-run ability. This is something he did a lot at Illinois.
      Jenkins had room to roam on two of these routes but Scott Tolzien went in different directions on both throws. Earlier in the game, Jenkins was running such a route when Tolzien, under pressure, threw earlier than Jenkins expected. The receiver didn’t get his head around and the ball was behind him and incomplete. Jenkins does not have the trust of the quarterbacks at this point, which is one of the reasons why the 49ers give him so many reps. That play was an example why.”

      If you get a chance to rewatch the game go back and look at the series in which McDonald makes his first catch for 19 yards. The play in which Barrows is describing above with Jenkins not getting his head around is 2 plays later.

      Both of these plays are very similar. The difference is that when McDonald makes his break he has his head around looking at McCoy by the time he hits his 3rd step. Jenkins starts his route split out wide by the numbers, comes across the field and never turns his head untilt he pass whizzes by him between the hashes.

      “In the third quarter, the 49ers seemed to have a designed play for Jenkins. He was running down the line of scrimmage as Tolzien rolled out in the same direction. The play seemed to be one in which the quarterback would dump the ball to Jenkins and he would theoretically catch it on the run and then whip up field. The Broncos, however, snuffed it out well, got penetration and the linebackers tossed Jenkins to the ground. Tolzien had to throw the ball away.”

  27. About Jenkins, there is something I hope one of you can shed some light on.
    Spaceborn mentioned in a past blog that if AJ is cut, they take over a $4 million cap hit. Short of trading him — and I doubt they could at this stage — is there any way to avoid this kind of a hit?

    1. If they traded him would they have to eat the 4m? On the other hand, who wants him at that price?

      Another reason why I’m hoping he starts showing up… that he’s a slow developer and the light bulb will come on soon.

      1. If they were able to trade him, the other team would assume his contract and remove the cap liability, I believe. But Baalke would have to cast a magic spell over some GM. Someone said earlier that knowing what we know now, we would have never drafted him. I think that’s true. I also think no one else would have either.

      2. @ George:

        If they were able to trade him, the other team would assume his contract and remove the cap liability, I believe.

        That’s not correct. The cap hit for trading Jenkins would be the same as the cap hit for cutting him. In both cases, the 49ers would no longer have his 2013 salary counting against the 2013 cap (nor would future salaries count against future caps). Also, the unallocated portion of his signing bonus would count against the cap the same in both cases (either all of it against the 2013 cap or 1/2 against the 2013 cap and 1/2 against the 2014 cap).

        Those options are also the same in that I don’t see the 49ers doing either one.

    2. George, here is a link to spotrac, a good site to see what the 49ers cap hits are for each player. You can look at this season’s hits as well as future years like when Jenkins contract ends in 2015. It shows his base salary, signing bonus and the (dead money) that the team would incur if they cut him. This is broken down for each year of his contract. What I was discussing was that when you cut a player under contract, the (dead money) is what the team is on the hook for as a cap hit. The teams can decide if they want to take the dead money cap hit all at once or they can spread it out for the remainder of the player’s contract. If the 49ers cut Jenkins and went this route, they would be on the hook for about 1.4 million a season until 2015. His cap hit this season is about 1.6. 2014 is about 1.9 and 2015 about 2.2 million. So the 49ers can either keep him and pay him – or they can cut him and deal with a cap hit not all that much less than it would take to keep him.

      http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/san-francisco-49ers/cap-hit/

    3. Thanks, guys! I hope they can do a Jedi mind trick on him. He has great measurables, as we all know.

  28. Lemonier +1
    Dobbs +1
    I. Williams +1
    P. Haralson+1
    Dorsey +1
    Reid +1
    Cox +1
    Osgood +1
    James +1
    Dixon +1
    CK +1
    Boldin +1
    Tolzien -1
    McCoy -1
    Jenkins -1
    Harper -1
    Dawson -1
    Overall a decent showing by the starters both O and D. Special teams coverage was very good and will get better as they thin the roster. I predict that the D and ST will be back to 2011 levels and as long as CK stays healthy the O will be improved. Get your reservations for the big apple in Feb!!!!!

    1. Very encouraged by Williams play. Ray McDonald recently hinted Ian would be an upgrade. Yup… with Crabtree out, the winning formula might be closer to the 2011 format. Stifling D and great ST.

      1. Hell yeah Claude thats why i think we will be in NY this feb. I strongly believe that the D will be back to 2011 level especially after Carradine gets healthy.

    2. Good call coach, Dorsey’s name has not been mentioned much today. He didnt play a lot, but when he did get into the game, the announcers were talking about him. I focused on him that play and watched him shove the linemen all the way back into the QB’s face! That D-line is a HUGE asset.

  29. I thought tolzien looked okay. Had he had our starting o-line he would have done much better. People are over-reacting. McCoy will clean up his game and Tolzien provides good depth.

    Stop all this JJ talk. I trust Harbs over any of you regarding QBs

    1. Probably why coach said he needs playing time. He needs confidence and swagger. Only way to get those things is to make a play. Then make another play, and so on. It is a building process with this kid. Excited to see how he responds next week.

      1. “Probably why coach said he needs playing time.”

        Last night Jenkins played 59% of the offensive snaps, 11 more than the next WR. Every receiver other than Lavelle Hawkins ended up with more receiving yards than Jenkins.

        He was targeted 4 times, with the following results:

        1) Never looked for the pass from McCoy
        2) Caught it, then fumbled it
        3) McCoy Int, overthrown and it didn’t look close
        4) Chad Hall beats him to the ball on a scramble drill

        To me Jenkins has the look of a guy for whom the game is moving too fast.

    2. Hardly have to lift a finger for anything but a Mai tai and still I’m getting press! Thanks for the plug, CB! You’re awesome!

    3. Im hoping this was a typo on his part “Another thing working against asomugha is that he is a physical guy who throws his body around and that physicality DOES NOT match with what the 9ers do on D” WTF??? Id say physicality is the exact style of our D

      Am I missing something?

  30. Another positive I failed to mention… a much quicker tempo on offense.

    Part of it was the vanilla preseason scheme which has less shifting, but they broke huddle and got to the line faster. Could be due to Kaeps improved knowledge of the system, or maybe the streamlined the play call verbiage.

  31. Offensive line snap breakdown by percentage
    Looney 77%
    Omameh 77%
    Kilgore 56%
    Netter 44%
    Tribue 44%
    Bykowski 41%
    Wiggins 38%
    Snyder 33%
    Staley 23%
    Davis 23%
    Iupati 23%
    Boone 23%
    Goodwin 0%

    Not surprised the blocking fell off when the starters left. The 49ers value versatile backups, so they can carry fewer o-linemen on the final roster. With the exception of Looney and Kilgore many of these guys are just training camp bodies.

  32. Grant,
    Fair assessments overall.
    AJ will either have to show some passion or he will spiral down the depth chart.

    I really think that S.Tolzien is a keeper. I liked his cool under pressure and his ability to still make throws even when unable to plant himself in the pocket.
    I believe that he will be the #2 QB by the start of the season.

  33. Boobie Dixon needed to get spelled by someone but there was no one left, I guess. I’d like to see Jewell Hampton get healthy and get in there and show his game. Next year Boobie will have Lattimore too. Besides the 2′s & 3′s OL poor play, it seemed like Denver knew we were going to pass rather than run Dixon over and over again.

    1. As I understand it, Hampton is healthy now. I noticed they weren’t playing him and then I remembered that he hadn’t shown he can block behind the line. Harper had.

    2. Anthony Dixon did look good. Showed why he is a valuable member of this team: not only did he rack up yards running and receiving, but he made plays on special teams. I think he will survive the cuts once again. He’s a solid back-up at tailback, fullback and a special teams stand out.

      Also, guys like Lockett, Moore and Osgood all have excellent chances of making the team for the same reason: value on special teams.

      1. Jshaw when Dixon was first drafted he was a dancer he would dance around in the back field occasionaly breaking a long run but getting hit in the back field way to often. Coaches got on his case and he became a hit the gap that was called with no vison runner. He ran up the backside of his own offensive linemen more often than not. Last night he seemed to run hard but with vision it took him awhile to develop but i believe this yr he might contribute more than just on special teams.

      2. I agree Old coach, he seems to have put it all together. At 230+ it was frustrating to see him dance around back there. He has gotten better every year…..because every year his roster spot is on the line! Kudos to Harbaugh’s mentality of “competition” for everyone at every position!

  34. I have now read 2 of the 4 beat writers I follow describing Jenkins as not making a play on the ball on the McCoy interception.

    What do you guys think about that play?

    My take is that the ball was so far over his head he didn’t have an opportunity to make a play on it.

    1. didn’t look like he let up to me watched it 3 times I think people want to see him fail. I swear all this talk sounds like the same about Crabtree before last year.

      1. I don’t compare Jenkins to Crabtree on any level.

        The rub against Crabtree last year was his penchant for getting hurt at the start of TC. It had nothing to do with his ability to catch especially given the fact that he led the team in receptions in 2011.

        Jenkins is being measured by what is seen in TC. And so far, his actions have fallen short of what is required of a #1 pick.
        I don’t want to see AJ fail for a variety of reasons.
        1. blemish on Baalke/Harbaugh.
        2. AJ carries the stigma of a bust.
        3. wasted pick.
        4. leaves gap in the lineup needing to be filled.

        AJ has to show some passion and urgency. Seize the opportunity!

        If I were AJ, I would watch every move that Austin Collie makes in TC.
        Collie is literally playing for his football life because he knows that he is being given another and perhaps a last chance.

    2. That ball was way overthrown. Jenkins had no chance. That ball needed to be outside, away from the safety.

      1. I think lots of fans of are blaming this INT on Tolzien, when in fact, Colt threw the bomb way over AJ’s head so yeah totally agree, this is the same McCoy who threw lots of INT’s in Cleveland.

        Unless there was another INT I missed, Tolzien threw 0 INT’s and was the victim of lots of poor play by his surrounding cast. Really would love to see Scott play against the 1st stringers.

      2. There was another INT that you missed sled. First 49ers possession of the 2nd half.

        2nd and 5 at DEN 44 S.Tolzien pass short left intended for C.Jacobs INTERCEPTED by K.Webster at DEN 35. K.Webster to DEN 35 for no gain (C.Jacobs).

        “Really would love to see Scott play against the 1st stringers.”

        So would I. That way we can finally put an end to the discussion about how good he is. He’s the perfect 3rd string QB, smart guy, so he is good in the QB meetings.

    3. Seems like they’re piling on to me, Jack. Looked like AJ was at least 3 full strides away when the interception was made. The ball was just plain overthrown and, imho, there was nothing AJ could do about it.

      The fumble on the other hand… :-/

    4. JH
      I thought that the throw was badly overthrown, if the safety wasnt there AJJ has a chance to run under it for the catch but McCoy put so much air under it that all aj could do is hit adams after the easy pick. I cant blame aj on that one. I wonder if CM remembered the long td he threw to aj in practice a few days ago vs scout team and tried to recreate it but he didnt bother looking the safety off first

      1. That’s a real good take Bos, it may have been. Since Grant saw the play live at practice maybe he can let us know if it looked like the same one.

  35. If what people are posting here regarding Jenkins and the cap is accurate then i see Jenkins being around this yr. He might not be activated but he will be on the 53 man roster so you might as well get used to it and move on to another subject.

    1. You are probably right. I guess they try a sports psychologist on him, if they haven’t already, and keep playing him as much as possible.

  36. Niners need to waive Jenkins during the 53 cut down. It would portray the 9ers brass as humble and players would realize that consistent play dictates a roster spot and not status . At this point Jenkins is a PS player at best!

  37. On totally unrelated, but AWESOME note: This week the PGA Championship is in my home city Rochester, NY, (so is Bills training camp…but no one is really talking about that right now) so the place is swarmed with celebs. I was in line at my fav café getting lunch, and who is standing right next to me JIM NANTZ! First I’m like “I know that guy”, then I’m like “oh, s#!% that’s Jim Nantz!” I didn’t want to be all fanboy so instead of asking for an autograph I just snapped a pic on my iPhone. Besides, he was with his “mil$” girlfriend and he looked like he was in a rush so I didn’t want to bother him.

    Totally random but thought it was a pretty cool experience!

  38. Been screaming for 5 years plus that we need deep-threat wr’s to open up
    offense and take pressure off run and short pass attack. Our brain trust not only picked AJ- they have whiffed continually on other guys. Ravens picked up the wr Mellote with the 2nd to last pick in last years draft. He had a long
    td catch last night!!

  39. Just going to throw this out there:

    In the eyes of those that call Jenkins a bust, what kind of production during the season would it take for you to reconsider? I’m just wondering how high the bar has been set such as would 51 catches for 750 yards do it? Less? More?

      1. +1 (ironic)

        How many other WR’s from last year’s draft caught at least 1 pass last year? Twenty-something, right? I don’t think the kid’s a bust (yet), but I sure would like him to show SOMETHING positive at game time… some flash of talent to give us hope our first round pick wasn’t a complete and total WHIFF.

        For this season? How about some pedestrian numbers like 30 recs for 350yds and 2 TD’s? I think I’d be ok with that.

      2. Auto,

        As pedestrian as those numbers sound, only 2 49ers WR’s had 30 or more receptions last season.

      3. Mr. Automatic, your prediction sounds pretty close to the numbers a lot of fans (myself included) were giving him in the off-season during discussions on here. I don’t recall many having great expectations after his first season, which is certainly understandable. It was just after reading all the “bust” labels I’ve seen since last night and today, I was just trying to see if the bar height has been changed because of camp struggles and a fumble in a preseason game. Thanks for the response!

      1. Thank you. That’s good news. If they keep 4 ILB’s who do you think stays, Moody or Stupar?

      2. Moody for mine. I think he’d make a very good ST player this year, that can develop into a good backup ILB.

      3. I agree with you Scooter. Here is what I have:

        QB (3)
        Kaepernick
        McCoy
        Tolzien

        RB (4)
        Gore
        Hunter
        James
        Dixon

        FB (1)
        Miller

        WR (6)
        Boldin
        Williams
        Patton
        Jenkins
        Moore
        Collie

        TE (3)
        Davis
        McDonald
        Celek

        OL (8)
        Staley
        Iupati
        Goodwin
        Boone
        Davis
        Looney
        Kilgore
        Snyder

        DL (6)
        J Smith
        Williams
        McDonald
        Dobbs
        Dorsey
        Tukuafu

        OLB (5)
        A Smith
        Brooks
        Haralson
        Lemonier
        Skuta

        ILB (4)
        Willis
        Bowman
        Wilhoite
        Moody

        CB (5)
        Rogers
        Brown
        Brock
        Asomugha
        Cox

        Saftey (5)
        Whitner
        Dahl
        Spillman
        Reid
        Robinson

        Specialists (3)
        Dawson
        Lee
        Jennings

        I think the 2 areas that are most intriguing are WR and CB, and how many will they carry at each.

        The signing of Wright is an interesting one. He provides more flexibility than either Asomugha or Cox based on his ability to play both inside and outside, while they are relatively one trick ponies. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next 3 weeks.

      4. Based on that I take it you think Tank will stay on PUP to start the year. Probably right. I think that will be pretty close to the starting 53-man roster Jack.

        I mentioned in another thread I think Jenkins is on the outside looking in for a roster spot. If they keep 6 WRs, which given the health concerns of Williams, Patton and Collie they may well do, Jenkins has the disadvantage of not really being a ST contributor.

        Wright will have to beat out one of Rogers or Asomugha to make the team.

      5. Scooter,

        I thing Rogers is safe. Asomugha or Cox, with the edge to Cox because he can contribute on Special Teams.

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