The 49ers and Raiders square off tonight in week two of the NFL preseason. The 49ers offense showed last week that they've got a lot of work to do. The starting defense looked fairly solid, but the reserves struggled a bit after that. As we head into tonight's game we'll be looking for a greater level of consistency on defense and some signs of life on offense.
In looking at tonight's game, are there any specific things you're looking for in regards to particular player performances? When it comes to preseason, we don't really need to pay attention to guys like Patrick Willis, Justin Smith and Frank Gore. We love seeing them perform well, but there preseason performances will not sell us on their greatness any further than we already believe.
The preseason is a chance to better assess guys like Tramaine Brock. These are guys that have flown under the radar and can build off strong practice performances to make a name for themselves. There's a good chance Brock will get another start tonight and he'll need to take full advantage of it if he wants to secure more than just one of the last roster spots. Another example would be Chilo Rachal, a man bemoaned by many 49ers fans but lauded by Jim Harbaugh. I'll be paying particularly attention to Chilo tonight as first team defensive linemen are likely to bring more to the table than the 49ers backup defenders.
One guy that is hard to judge in the preseason is Anthony Dixon. We've seen running backs have enormous success in the preseason only to disappear when the season starts. For the Dixon doubters, is there anything specific he can do tonight that will buy some credibility in your eyes? There are times we see the dancing and there are times he seems to show the drive to go north and south. It would be nice to him just taking care of business.
And of course, as with anything else surrounding the 49ers, it all comes back to #11. Alex Smith struggled to get anything going against the Saints, but apparently has looked good enough in practice to secure the starting position. Once again we get to watch and wonder if he'll get it done, even if just in a preseason game. Will you be paying particularly attention to anything with Alex or have you resigned yourself to an ignominous fate?
Who else will you be paying extra close attention to tonight?