49ers 41, Chargers 6: Grades

Here are my grades for the 49ers in their 41-6 preseason win over the San Diego Chargers.

QUARTERBACKS: B+. Colin Kaepernick completed three short passes and then left the game.

Colt McCoy was decent, completing 8-of-15 passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.  His longest completion was a 12-yarder.

B.J. Daniels played well, better than McCoy. Daniels completed 5-of-9 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown, and he ran 6 times for 54 yards and a touchdown. I don’t think the 49ers can afford to try to put him on their practice squad. Another team probably will pick him up. I think Daniels has earned a spot on a final roster.

WIDE RECEIVERS: A-.  Quinton Patton and Lavelle Hawkins were the stars. Patton ran a quick screen pass 45 yards for a touchdown, and Hawkins tipped a pass over the middle to himself and broke two tackles and ran 30 yards for a touchdown. Patton will make the team, and he could be the No.2 receiver before the season is over. If Hawkins makes the team, he probably would make it as the No.6 receiver.

Marlon Moore played the first series and caught a pass on a screen. He broke a tackle and gained 11 yards. He most likely will be the starting split end Week 1.

Jon Baldwin played with Colt McCoy and caught two short passes. He also let two other errant passes clank off his hands. I expect Baldwin to make the team. He’s the only big deep threat and red zone threat wide receiver on the team and Kaepernick needs someone to fill that role.

Chuck Jacobs caught a touchdown pass. If he makes it to the 49ers practice squad, he’ll be a good developmental guy for the team.

Austin Collie dropped a perfectly thrown deep pass. He’s out.

RUNNING BACKS: D. LaMichael James was bad – two carries for negative four yards – and then he left the game with a knee injury.

Anthony Dixon was even worse – he ran seven times for 12 yards – although he made some good blocks at fullback, played well on special teams and caught a TD pass from McCoy.

Kendall Hunter gained 14 yards on four carries. He looks fast, but he doesn’t yet show the explosiveness and quickness he showed last season before he tore his Achilles.

TIGHT ENDS: C. Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald and Garrett Celek each caught a short pass. MarQueis Gray hardly played. Expect him the 49ers to stash him on their practice squad.

OFFENSIVE LINE: D. The first-team offensive line struggled creating holes in the running game, and the second-team offensive line just struggled. McCoy and Daniels were running for their lives all night. Offensive line is one of the thinnest position groups on the 49ers. They can’t afford any injuries to their starting five.

DEFENSIVE LINE: B. The starters didn’t play a single snap. The second-team couldn’t stop Fozzy Whittaker from running the ball up the middle. He rushed ten times for 59 yards. As thin as the 49ers’ are at offensive line, the defensive line might be just as thin. Glenn Dorsey hasn’t done much this preseason, and who knows when Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial will be ready to play?

LINEBACKERS: A. Cam Johnson was the player of the game. He had six tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, 2 QB hits, 1 blocked punt and 1 TD. I think he’ll make the 53-man roster.

The other backup outside linebackers – Corey Lemonier and Dan Skuta – also played well. Both recorded one sack. If the 49ers hadn’t traded Parys Haralson, he might have been the sixth-best outside linebacker on the team.

Michael Wilhoite intercepted a pass. Nate Stupar made nine tackles. Nick Moody made one. Any chance Stupar makes the team over Moody?

CORNERBACKS: A. Perrish Cox, Tramaine Brock and Michael Thomas each gave up a few catches, but they were short catches and they didn’t give up any yards after the catch. Thomas played particularly well against Keenan Allen in the slot. Brock undercut a route and picked off a pass. He’s a good fourth-string cornerback.

SAFETIES: B. Eric Reid and Donte Whitner didn’t play. Neither C.J. Spillman nor Trenton Robinson did much. Craig Dahl played well, six tackles and an interception. Robinson may not make the team if the 49ers want to keep six wide receivers.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A-. Phil Dawson made a 47-yard field goal and a 40-yarder but missed a 52-yarder.

Both Patton and Hawkins had good kick returns. The 49ers have about five good kick returners – Kyle Williams, James, Cox, Patton and Hawkins.

Cox gained 21 yards on two punt returns. He’s been an effective returner all preseason.

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