SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out during the 49ers’ 17-9 preseason victory over the Cowboys.
- DC Robert Saleh. Upgraded his blitzes and pressure packages since last season. The 49ers’ blitzes consistently forced the Cowboys quarterbacks to throw low-percentage deep passes with no success. Saleh is improving.
- WR Jalen Hurd. Caught two touchdown passes. Already seems better than Dante Pettis, the starting flanker. Hurd is the backup flanker. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hurd passes Pettis on the depth chart by the end of the season.
- WR Deebo Samuel. Gained 14 yards while running an end around, and caught a 45-yard underthrown deep pass from C.J. Beathard. I wouldn’t be surprised if Samuel is the starting split end by the end of the season. He already seems better than Marquise Goodwin and Richie James Jr.
- WR Jordan Matthews. The 49ers primary slot receiver while Trent Taylor is injured (more on Taylor below). Matthews caught one pass for 12 yards.
- TE Ross Dwelley. Caught one pass for 21 yards and drew a defensive pass interference penalty. Clearly the second-best tight end on the team.
- TE Kaden Smith. Caught a 17-yard pass over the middle. Seems more talented than Levine Toilolo, the veteran who is competing with Smith to be the 49ers’ No. 3 tight end.
- QB Nick Mullens. Played against the Cowboys first-string and second-string defense, and completed 11 of 17 passes. Two of his longest passes were dropped by James and Kendrick Bourne. Mullens also threw a touchdown pass and an interception. He was the 49ers’ best quarterback in this game.
- QB C.J. Beathard. Played against the Cowboys third-string defense, and completed 13 of 17 passes. Also threw a touchdown pass and an interception, and injured his right thumb. Probably didn’t play well enough to draw trade interest.
- P Mitch Wishnowsky. Averaged 49.5 yards per punt and downed three punts inside the 20-yard line. Impressive.
THE NOT SO GOOD
- WR Trent Taylor. Suffered a Jones Fracture in his foot and had surgery to repair it. Will miss the rest of the regular season and probably part of the regular season. Kyle Shanahan said the 49ers hope Taylor is ready for Week 1, but don’t expect him to be ready. This is a big blow to the team. Taylor was the most consistent target in the pass game during camp after George Kittle.
- WR Dante Pettis. One of three starters who had to play in this game. Pettis received just one target and caught no passes. The 49ers seem to be losing confidence in him, and he seems to be losing confidence in himself.
- WR Richie James Jr. Caught six passes for just 31 yards, and dropped a well-thrown pass downfield. Also made a nice a catch that didn’t count because of a penalty. Seems like a career backup.
- WR Kendrick Bourne. Dropped a pass. And during one play, when the tight end shifted over to Bourne’s side, Bourne stayed on the line of scrimmage and then moved back off the ball as it was being snapped. He has been in the league too long to make those type of mistakes. He needs to play better to deserve a spot on this team.
- CB Akhello Witherspoon. One of three starters to play in this game. Gave up a 16-yard catch to Michael Gallup.
- FS Adrian Colbert. Ejected from the game for committing an illegal hit on a defenseless player. Seems to get worse every week.
- LB Dre Greenlaw. Bit on a play-action fake and gave up a long catch, and committed a roughing-the-passer penalty. Needs to play with more discipline.
- OT Shon Coleman. Injured his right ankle and left the field on a cart. The 49ers may need another swing tackle to replace Coleman.
- KOS Wishnowsky. Booted four kickoffs and none of them landed in the end zone. One landed out of bounds. The 49ers may need a new kickoff specialist.
- Injuries and discipline. Four players left the game with injuries: Raheem Mostert (concussion), Coleman (ankle), Najee Toran (hand) and D.J. Jones (knee). One player broke his foot and didn’t even play (Taylor). And the rest of the team committed 18 penalties for a whopping 216 yards. Same old 49ers only with different names and numbers on the jerseys.
— Grant Cohn (@grantcohn) August 11, 2019