49ers 24, Cowboys 21: The good and not so good

San Francisco 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard (3) passes against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of an NFL preseason football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)

SANTA CLARA – Here’s who stood out during the 49ers’ 24-21 preseason win over the Dallas Cowboys.


1. DE/DT Jullian Taylor. The best 49ers player on either line during this game. Started at defensive end and played 32 violent, powerful, relentless snaps. Should make the team with this performance. Taylor will be terrific if he stays healthy. The 49ers drafted him in the seventh round with pick No. 223.

2. DT DeForest Buckner. Played only six snaps, but recorded half of a sack and made it look easy. Beat rookie left guard Connor Williams.

3. WR Richie James. Every 49ers quarterback’s go-to receiver Thursday night. A perfect slot receiver for this offense. Should be Trent Taylor’s main backup.

4. TE Cole Hikutini. Made an 18-yard catch over the middle. Should become the 49ers’ primary pass-catching tight end while George Kittle is out with a shoulder injury.

5. RB Raheem Mostert. Ran for two big gains after avoiding tackles in the backfield. Finished with eight carries for 57 yards – 7.1 per attempt. Too good not to make the team.


1. CB Jimmie Ward. Gave up a 30-yard touchdown catch because he turned his head to find the ball and lost it in the sun. The rookie wide receiver who caught the touchdown pass, Michael Gallup, saw the ball just fine. Ward’s problem isn’t the sun. It’s him. He’s a lousy cornerback.

2. NT Earl Mitchell. Played nine snaps and stopped trying hard after the first three or four. Just sort of stood there and went through the motions the rest of the time. Got manhandled in the run game by Travis Frederick and Zack Martin.

3. RG Mike Person & RT Mike McGlinchey. Failed to pass off a “Tough Stunt” on third-and-10, and allowed DeMarcus Lawrence to run unblocked into Garoppolo. McGlinchey was late to slide to the inside, and Mike Person made no effort to reach out and knock Lawrence off balance as he ran full-speed toward the franchise quarterback. Teams will test the right side of the 49ers O-line with Tough Stunts all season.

4. TE Garrett Celek. Whiffed on a block at the point of attack during an outside zone run to the left and got Jerick McKinnon tackled for a six-yard loss.

5. QB C.J. Beathard. Completed only 50 percent of his passes and threw a pick while playing against backups. Looked like a Division III quarterback.

BONUS: Here’s my next-day Periscope report.

This article has 78 Comments

  1. I know it’s preseason and all but the offensive line looks horrid. JG’s quick release may be the only thing that keeps him off of IR. How was the guard position so overlooked in the draft and free agency?!

    1. Can’t solve all problems in one draft. Garnett is a former #1 pick who’s out injured and so is free agent pickup Cooper. Those are two primary candidates to fill that spot at RG.

  2. Hikutini doesn’t look like a TE. James either makes the team or will have an injury pop up in the next couple weeks. The o-line doesn’t look any better than last year yet. Garoppolo made a couple tough throws and missed a couple easy ones. The defense looks just like last year, but it should since they didn’t add to their weaknesses there. Looking forward to the regular season so I don’t hear Tim Ryan sucking up to Jed.

    1. Couldn’t agree more re Tim Ryan. Lucky that I wasn’t watching the game on a full stomach. I would have lost dinner. I tried turning the sound off. But that didn’t work either. But Just a HORRIBLE sucky-a**ed announcer,.
      Preseason and he never got the opportunity, but I’m not a believer in McKinnon. either. He hasn’t shown anything in 4 years. Now miraculously he’s a top-five running back? Serviceable, but should be a second, third stringer.

  3. Did Coleman Shelton start at R Guard last night?

    It is very dissapointing if he did….that means all through out last year + before + during training camp we still haven’t figured out who is starting at RG

  4. Victor Bolden Jr. needs to be added to the good list. Even though Bolden was playing against backups and scrubs, he still made some nice catches, including one when Mullens threw the ball behind him.
    Thomas also deserves to be on the good list because he acquired the second half of that sack with Buckner. If Buckner and Thomas are healthy, the interior of the DL is going to be great this season.
    The not so good needed to include the injuries the team suffered last night.
    Other observations: Ward made a mistake that I would not expect a five year vet to make, and the team needs to trade for a RG (if possible) before the preseason ends because the team cannot afford to try to count on the players they have for the position right now.

    1. Mid I agree with you for the most part but I am tired of hearing what if with Solo Thomas. If he is healthy, if he can play the right position, if he can do this. I mean yesterday he looked quicker and got in on the assisted sack, but he still looks like he has so much more work to do to develop his pass rush skills.

      1. Ive got to agree with PT here. Thomas looked ok I guess but I still saw him run right into the middle of the blocker on a couple of occasions. He’s an easy man to block more than half the time. Teams were comfortable leaving a TE to block him one on one last season – and they blocked him with ease. I’m not encouraged by the defense after that showing.

        1. This game is about speed. Power to a degree but if you don’t have that fast twitch, you are not gonna do too much.

      2. I am not trying to be rude Prime, but some of those “if” arguments are just plain ridiculous for a few reasons.
        First, I did not single out Thomas in my comments. I included Buckner and Thomas together, and I did so because of the issues that the team has had with the injury but the past few seasons. If either one suffers an injury that takes them out of the lineup, then the front four will be in trouble. Second, Thomas was unable to participate in off season workouts until he graduated, and that tends to put any rookie behind the eight ball. Third, Saleh was trying to figure out where Thomas fit best during his rookie season, which is something that occurs with rookies from time to time. Fourth, it is always important to know what a player is capable of doing so that he can be put in the best position to do his job in order to help his team win. That happens with QBs, RBs, hybrid DBs, etcetera. Finally, complaining about the “if” factor of a second year player during the preseason is just nitpicking.
        Like I said, I am not trying to be rude, but you are expecting a second year player to be the next Bryant Young or something. Unless he looks like the defensive version of A.J. Jenkins, I say wait until during the season to see if Thomas is unable to realize his full potential. If not, then you can point out how bad he is.

        1. I would never pretend to know the learning curve of a NFL player or his ceiling as everyone peaks and develops on their own timeline. All I am saying about Solo Thomas is that as the 3rd overall pick, he has not shown the value of what a DL chosen at that spot is worth.
          If for some unfortunate reason he was lost for the season, Jullian Taylor, Ronald Blair, Arik Armstead could easily replace his production. The point is the dline would not be in trouble if he is lost for any amount of time.
          Now I am willing to give him a full year in this scheme and in this defense to see if the label BUST is warranted. He is under the microscope as is any top 5 pick. So its okay to have a high expectation of him. I am not giving up on him, I just don’t see the speed and tenacity required to play his position.

        2. if the coaching staff has to ” figure out” where he fits best…we need a new coach…

    2. Mid,
      I like Boldin, but for me, he falls in the CBCO (can’t be counted on) category.
      Boldin will miss the first 4 games of season for violating the NFL substance policy.
      I know that he’s not the first and the last to be punished for this. My biggest issue with Boldin was his response that he did not know that what he took fell under the NFL guidelines.

      Every player needs to know the substance abuse policy, there is no gray area here.
      Boldin needs to grow more brain matter.

  5. I don’t think Robert Saleh was very good last night either. I know it was a vanilla defense but first thing, Jimmie Ward should not be playing as a corner. He is a free safety. Why they keep experimenting with him is unusual.

    A lot of missed tackles and the 1st unit dline got pushed around too much. For a defense that keeps preaching all gas, no brakes and violence, I didn’t see any of those last night.

    One bright spot, Jullian Taylor. That’s it!

    Todd Gurley, David Johnson, and maybe Rashad Penny are licking their chops right now having to face this run defense.

    1. You must have gone to the bathroom when Adrian Colbert was playing. He reminds me a lot of Ronnie Lott and will make the Pro Bowl. Tartt is also very good and this may be the best combo since Lott and Williamson…

  6. Agree with you across the board here Grant. I would have added Powell to the bad list and Bolden to the good but overall it wasn’t a great night with the injuries and the dominance by the Cowboys first team offense/defense.

  7. I have been saying the 49ers should keep Ward as at worst he is a good backup. But if the plan is to play him at outside CB then let him go. He’s not a fit. He needs to keep the play in front of him.

    Unfortunately he also hasn’t shown the range to play single high FS. Which basically limits him to the slot. They seem pretty comfortable with Williams and Reed there.

    So time to let him go. See if they can get anything in a trade for him. If not, just release him.

    1. At his salary, the team probably feels that they need to have him play outside CB, which is the much higher paid position compared to safety. But as a backup at safety, he is far too expensive. Colbert has the FS position locked up and Reed is showing very well. His only value is that he can play all of the secondary positions as a backup to the starters. I guess there is value in the concept; after all, they kept Beadles on for that very reason.

      Am I correct that the only value in releasing him is that it frees up a roster spot on the 53? As I understand it, his 2018 compensation is fully guaranteed, so he gets paid no matter what. There might be an offset clause though, which could help if he signs with another team.

      I’m still not a big Saleh fan. I do wonder if he had a hand in getting the team to pickup the 5th year options on both Ward and Armstead. Just because the team has extra cap space, that shouldn’t be a license to just throw money out the window.

      1. “Just because the team has extra cap space, that shouldn’t be a license to just throw money out the window.”

        Why not? It doesn’t effect them next year anyway and it’s not your money.

        1. “it’s not your money”.

          I’ve seen this statement a few times from people and find it ridiculous. I’m concerned about money mismanagement when it affects institutions or people I care about. The fact that it’s not my money has nothing to do with anything and is meaningless.

          1. I agree with you Cubus. You have to be smart about who you pay and how it affects future signings or soon to be free agents.
            Just because you have a surplus doesn’t mean you still can spend for the sake of spending. I think the Rams will have problems in future years.

      2. Yes, only value in cutting him is to free up a roster spot. If the team can’t find a role for him then that’s what they should do though. Keep a player they actually intend to develop rather than a one year stop gap back up that doesn’t fit the scheme.

        1. “that doesn’t fit the scheme”

          But surely they should know before this season started if Ward fits the scheme or not. I think it’s driven more by the compensation Ward is receiving. I’m sure JL doesn’t want to admit at this point that they made a mistake in picking up Ward’s fifth year option (who would want to admit that?). And now that they picked up Armstead’s 5th year option, it might even further increase undesirable scrutiny.

  8. – Echoing Grant’s tweet yesterday, it would have been nice to see the route run by Pettis on the long catch. I think the visual part of the broadcast was a Dallas station.

    – Armstead was an iron man in college. Seemingly a glass man in the NFL. Will the reverse magic apply to Taylor, who was hurt alot in college but seemed durable last night?

    Note: I like Armstead. Still hold put hopes that his injuries will level out in a law of averages way. I think he jas rare talents.

    – Banner plane over Levi’s “Put Buckner in bubble wrap until game 1”

    – Ward did his best Culliver imitation on that long pass. Was stride for stride, then slammed on the brakes just at the wrong time.

    – McGlinchy confidently stood next to Joe Staley like a seasoned vet. That has to count for something.

    – Under react to preseason games and Training camp reports, bot good and bad. McGlinchy might be just fine. Pettis might need more seasoning.

    But injuries are injuries, preseason or not. Even if a player’s ready game 1, his absence is a major preparation disruption. He will also enter game 1 less physically prepared, more likely to get another injury.

    1. ” Under react to preseason games”. You’ve got to be kidding. From now on until the end of season, every Monday is Overreaction Monday!
      Yon Culliver was a man of many (failed) moves. I recall where he would go step-by-step with the receiver, and then at the last moment would turn his head in a direction away from the ball. There was another move where he lost his balance trying to turn around too sharply…
      I tend to trust Lynch when he says that McGlinchy is one of those guys who learns quickly from his mistakes and tends not to repeat them. I think that Spoon is another one of those guys.

      1. Spoon is a smart player.

        Its every fans prerogative to under-react and over-react as they please. Monday after he regular season game one, I plan on over-reacting to every little thing the team does.

        I plan on under-reacting (except for injuries) to everything in preseason… with the possible exception of the first have of preseason game three. That’s when starters get the most reps.

        Along with Lynch and Shanahan… another Irishman, Scot McCloughan, thinks McGlinchy was a really good pick. I think many 49ers fans were thrown for a loop because they were expecting a defensive stud or lucrative trade-back.

  9. Jimmy Ward. Not a good look for “The Jimmie” in his first appearance of the season. I’m sure John Lynch regrets picking up his 5th year bonus. That happened before they knew what they had in Adrian Colbert, and it left them with a player in search of a position, with a guaranteed salary that no team would want to pick up. I know the party line is that he can start on the inside, or he can start on the outside, or he can start at FS. But I’m not buying it. I guess the versatility is a plus, but where’s the starter quality? Can’t even let him go, because we’re paying him whether he’s on the team or not.

    1. “I’m sure John Lynch regrets picking up his 5th year bonus. ”
      If I were to guess, I’d doubt Lynch has any such regrets. I am not sure what you are complaining about. That Niners have two starter-quality FS and hence one has to be a backup? Why would it bother anyone (other than maybe Jed) if the Niners pay Ward $8M while being well under the cap? Ward will probably be a backup at FS and slot and will probably play sparingly along the sidelines. For Ward the most important thing is to stay healthy.

      1. I think its okay to have depth as long as that depth gives you a contribution on the field. Ward hasn’t done enough on the field to warrant a $8 million dollar salary. Now that’s the contract and the obligation of the club to pick up, but if that spot and money could be used for a better piece, Id send Ward packing.

        1. “I think its okay to have depth …”
          I’d think that it’s absolutely essential to have depth if a team is to have any meaningful post-season aspirations, and preferably quality depth. And it’s fine to overpay if a competent backup is available who can play multiple positions. This is a one-year overpay by about $3M for a team awash in cap space. No big deal. I’d think that front offices should be judged (and judge themselves) by conditions and information they had at the time when the decision was made — not using 20-20 hindsight.

      2. Picking up Ward’s 5th year bonus gives the team a less than stellar player without a starting job, at an $8.5m salary, which is fully guaranteed for the season, making him untradeable. Depth is good, but the price is too high and it’s not just the money. Ward can’t earn a starting spot, and now you can’t even get picks for him and develop another player. Do you honestly think Ward sticks past this season?

        I like John Lynch but he’s still new at this, and Ward is one of his “learning experiences.” Had he instead signed Ward to a new contract, he would now have the flexibility to trade him for picks after Colbert’s emergence. Instead, he’s got an albatross with no future.

      3. “Why would it bother anyone (other than maybe Jed) if the Niners pay Ward $8M while being well under the cap? ”

        Disagree with you on this one, Mood. If it were a one time occurrence, then I wouldn’t have so much of a problem with it (it happens to all GMs). But with the Armstead’s 9+ million dollar option being picked up, it’s starting to look like a pattern.

        I’m starting to get the impression that it is not that hard to find quality DL. I was a big fan of Sheldon Day last year and he’s proving it again this year (IIRC, he was picked up as a cut from the Jaguars). And J Taylor looks very promising. Armstead is redundant and not needed.

        No, it looks like the money needs to be spent on the OL – even moreso given our $136+ million dollar QB.

  10. Dodged some bullets, and returned fire. Buckner/Thomas are going to be our deluxe combo for years. Pettis/Bourne/James look like the future at the position, and Taylor has left Armstead packing. Looking forward to the sequel without anymore injuries….

    1. Razor,
      I agree on Buck and Solly. They are going to make each other great for years to come.
      I’m excited to see these two play this year and for Buck to receive honors at seasons end.

      I thought that Sheldon Day showed flashes last night. DJ Jones could get plenty of reps this season as well.
      Mitchell has looked good in TC but he didn’t make any noise last night.

      I want to see Armstead stay on the field because he showed up in his rookie season and played well.
      If he can play our Dline will continue to improve. Also, I believe that Jullian Taylor has suddenly lit a fire under AA to hopefully speed up his healing.

  11. The thing that worried me the most happened – injuries. Judgement time will come in due time.

  12. You could have finished Ward’s paragraph with “The rookie wide receiver who caught the touchdown pass, Michael Gallup, saw the ball just fine” and not “he’s a lousy corner back.” This in essence is why you are a complete prick and hack journalist. Your job is to report what you see, not beat down the players with your pointless jabs.

    1. A corner that can’t run, turn, and locate the ball isn’t worth spit, let alone 8.5 million.

      1. August 10, 2018 at 3:38 pm
        I agree. But this wannabe journalist could try to show some class instead of always acting like a child. Then again, like father like son so I shouldn’t be surprised.

      2. Seriously dude….you concluded after one pass play and one preseason game he can’t run, turn and locate the ball……a 1st rd pick talent isnt worth a spit……

        Just proved again what a dullard you are….on another serious note there is no difference between you and seb…..

        Please let’s not dumb down the content on the blog…..a little common sense please

        1. He hasn’t been able to do it since he got here. He’s a down hill, make plays in front of him player. At 8.5 million, he’s being paid like a starting corner but he’s not capable. No wonder Tylenol doesn’t alleviate your headaches, because it’s up your ass….

    2. The Niners do not read the blogs…. JG told us. ;p
      And even if they did read them, they would never let anyone know that the criticism upset them.
      They are all grown ups, and should expect criticism. It is part of the job description. Grant is just doing his job, and doing it well, because this is the only site that does include factual and well reasoned critiques. Many argue the merits of the reasoning, but that is what a spirited discussion should be.
      Grant will not beat down the players. That is what will happen in the evaluations, and JL and KS will be the ones making the difficult and painful decisions.
      I imagine Ward is not looking forward to the film study next week. We all saw what he did. It is hard to dispute what happened. Maybe a bug distracted him, but certainly, he did not have a clue where the football was.

  13. Julian Taylor may turn out to be a beast. The guy had suited up for just 25 football games in his life (15 in college and 10 in HS) before playing with a first-string NFL defense yesterday! Unbelievable.

      1. Mood

        Yes, Jullian Taylor is a physical ‘beast’….What has me drooling is when Kentavius Street joins the flock off IR…(y’know…the guy with the 700 lb dead lift)

        Gonna’ be some bone-crushing hits in next years TC…fortunately, I don’t think that Garnett will be there…

  14. The OL didn’t create holes, Jet had no chance.
    Pettis looked like a rookie playing his first preseason game, but flashed.
    JG converted two third downs.
    The WR position is deep.
    Ward can’t play CB.
    Foster’s pass breakup was outstanding.
    Julian Taylor and Richie James are gems.
    Buck is still good.
    Injuries suck.

  15. I agree. But this wannabe journalist could try to show some class instead of always acting like a child. Then again, like father like son so I shouldn’t be surprised.

    1. No, the Press Democrat is employing him. You must be thinking of Maiocco and Barrows. They lost their gigs, so they had to go to the Athletic.
      Show some class? Try some yourself.

  16. So McGlinchy gets picked off by his own RG during a stunt on one play… What was the rest of his performance like?

    1. That one was more on person who should have come off his man and picked up the end while McGlinchey stepped down.

      He didn’t seem to get much of a push in the run game.

  17. Now I will be the first to admit if I’m wrong, but I believe the OL will be just fine. It takes OLs time to gel, even last year’s mess drastically improved by the end of the year.

    Niners should trade Trent Taylor for a CB.

    Julian Taylor is better than Armstead, Richie James is better than Trent Taylor.
    Mullens is probably better than Beathard, who is terrible.

    1. and Raheem Mostert may well be the most talented RB on the team. He’s Pro Bowl qualify on special teams and runs as hard as any of them…

    1. If Geoff Schwartz says the Glinch played well, I will take his word for it. Good to hear.

    2. McGlinchey was the last player I was worried about. He’s about as ready made as they come at the position in today’s college game….

  18. A person of interest:
    According to PFF via Matt Barrows, Person didn’t allow a quarterback pressure on any of his 25 pass-protection snaps. Also, after the first series, he blocked well for Williams including the TD dive. He should make the team if they cut Garnett.

    1. That’s a perfect example of the problems with some of PFF’s stuff. The guy that smacked Garoppolo on the curl to Goodwin was Persons responsibility to pick up.

          1. Hate when an opinion is uniformed

            Literally laughed out loud.
            That’s an all net shot Hammer. I’ll give you that.

      1. Jack, and that’s why I said it. Everyone is making conclusion and opinion on one ridiculous pre season game that the Niners played. My statement is just as ridiculous as others that are based on one pre season game that the Rams played. I was just trying to offset the good and bad based on the first pre season game.

  19. I feel like Julian is already light years better and has shown more in one game than S Thomas has in one season..Never liked the pick last year’s draft day,he was a combine warrior with one great game ,happens every season and someone will draft that player it never fails.Unforunately for us Lynch fell for it with Thomas.I also worry that after this injury he might go the Borland route,he seems like a soft player to me.

  20. Kendrick Bourne hard a good game as did Victor Bolden. Bolden made an acrobatic catch to keep a drive alive, but also got pass interference calls on Anthony Brown. Two of the balls were badly under thrown, but they salvaged the plays. That’s the mark of a pro.

  21. Tim Ryan is bad enough. His sucking of all appendages 9er mgmt. just makes him look weak. But Teddy Football (Teddy LickBall) is not listenable, at least to me. He’s not been listenable for years. He will cover owners on anything. If an owner shot someone on 5th Ave., there would be Teddy saying hey, why did that person get in the way of that bullet. Just be neutral is all I ask. His spots on KNBR. are a joke. At least Tim keeps it to football on the interviews.

    Mark Davis would love Teddy L-Ball on his broadcasts.

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