Finally, we have 49er football.
This means, though, that we can now delve into the position battles we have been so meticulously following this summer. We have actual game footage, results, gut-opinions and well-wrought conjectures. It's time to apply this knowledge in the ultimate gush of coach-analysis that occurs every year after the first pre-season game.
So, this post is a sort of introduction of what we will be doing all week here at NN. Certain writers, including myself (please, hold your applause) will provide some in depth examinations of key position battles heading into the season. After the jump, though, I hope to lay the foundation for such discussion. As such, I will give you guys a lot of hard data with not so much analysis. Feel free, in the comments, to start shaping that discussion by using the data. That's what it's there for. And (spoiler alert!) on Sunday, I will provide my thoughts on the back-up RB position battle.
So, follow me after the wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey jump.
One of the more interesting battles was helped along by Frank Gore's day off. As I mentioned above, I will go into this battle a bit more tomorrow.
Dixon: 12 carries for 46 yards
Cartwright: 6 for 44
Jacobs: 4 for 31
Hunter: 5 for 24
James: 3 for 15
My quick analysis on this position battle revolves almost entirely around the decision to put Tolzien in before Johnson. I don't know if this is just the plan until next week, during which it will be reversed. I don't know. That said, I might be a little disappointed if the coaching staff doesn't let Tolzien build off of what I thought was a very strong showing (although, against scrubs).
Tolzien: 10/13 for 84 yards with 1 INT
Kaepernick: 5/9 for 40 with an impressive 94 rushing yards for 1 TD
Johnson: 2/4 for 30 yards
Not too many stats to present in this case, but I will say a couple of words quickly before somebody comes along with more in depth analysis. I thought both players looked pretty darn good. I was especially happy to see Boone work well with Davis. The right side of the line looked solid. Boone worked up to the second level for blocking, which is the type of thing Gore thrives off of when he runs up the gut. In pass protection, Boone likewise looked good, though it was hard to really evaluate because he didn't play all that much. I was happy with what I saw.
For the most part, I paid most of my attention to Culliver and Cox, both of whom sort of underwhelmed. In fact, pretty much the whole secondary was a bit inconsistent. Nothing too much, and surely not a major problem. I think I just have too high of standards of this defense going into the first pre-season game. In regards to Culliver, the man was basically absent for large portions of the game, which isn't necessarily a bad thing for a CB. That usually means his coverage was solid. Cox seemed to vacilate between shining moments (like his interception) and some inconsistent coverage.
Cox: 1 INT with 4 Tackles
Culliver: 1 Pass Interference
I see this battle as less of a battle, as I do think the depth chart is almost set, being some combination of Crabtree, Moss, Manningham, Williams, Jenkins, and Ginn. That said, the depth beyond that is impressive, and I wouldn't mind seeing a worthy Palmer or Owusu cracking the 53-man roster. While it almost certainly won't be at the expense of Jenkins, it was a bummer seeing a couple of drops on his part. Palmer, too.
Owusu: 3 catches for 35 yards
Palmer: 3 for 21
Jenkins: 2 for 20
Williams: 2 for 12
Tyms: 1 for 12
Swain: 1 for 4 with a TD
Here's Fooch's original look at some of the various position battles back at the start of training camp