Just like last week, I will be examining the different position battles we have followed this offseason, more than likely highlighting the two I find most intriguing or changed due to the most recent pre-season game. It is beneficial, therefore, to have a "just the facts" post going into the week so that we all can start with a similar foundation for discussion.
I will lay out the stats of the major players in the major battles for last night's game. Before each set of statistics, though, I will also provide brief snippets of post-game reaction. I haven't sat on these ideas for a while. They are raw. Like, man, if you got a black eye and needed a raw steak to throw on it, this article is just for you. Note: I write by carving letters into raw meat.
Also, please note that while I will be providing pure, un-adulterated opinion in a rapid reaction fashion, I am not as stoopid as some others who do the same. Use these reactions to shape discussion, or ignore them and jump straight to the stats. Either way is cool, so long as you guys and gals can comment away to your collective hearts' content.
Tap two mana, draw a card, and follow me after the jump.
So the majority of the game was pretty disappointing. There are many reasons for this, but one of them was QB play. Alex was okay. I'm still tired of seeing him get all deer-eyed when the pocket sort of begins to crumble, leading him to hold onto the ball a bit too long. Then again, the line just was not giving him time, so I should probably hold my horses on this one.
But, I bring up the disappointing nature of the game because I think it is typified by the back-up QB play. I wanted to see them all take major steps forward so that this battle could be sorted out. They didn't. Mediocre play is what we got (sans-Johnson, maybe?), which is okay. For now. I'll probably write about this battle later in the week, so stay tuned in for more.
Alex Smith: 5/9 for 49 yards (and a miscommunication which should have been a pick).
Colin Kaepernick: 4/8 for 19 yards.
Josh Johnson: 4/6 for 64 yards and an affinity for AJ Jenkins (and for over-throwing Jenkins).
Scott Tolzien: 4/9 for 23 yards.
The obvious topic of discussion would be the injuries - and thank God they are getting sorted out. As a result, though, we didn't really get to see too much concerning this battle. I probably will chose to focus more specifically on other battles this week, therefore. But, a couple things ought to be said.
For one, it's great to see Frank Gore back on the field. He looked excellent. The burst and vision we want to see were there. I think he can have another productive season - at least, productive for his age. I also have complete confidence giving a few of Gore's snaps to Kendall Hunter. Kendall is really coming into himself. He displayed excellent pass protection on a few plays and he carries the ball exceedingly well. For his size, too, he can really take a hit and not fall over.
Rock Cartwright demonstrated my assertion that any sort of offensive production from him would be God-sent. He's a special teams guy. And, Anthony Dixon. Well, I really like the man, but I think he's running himself into a deeper and deeper hole.
Kendall Hunter: 6 carries for 46 yards.
LaMichael James: 4 carries for 19 yards.
Anthony Dixon: 5 carries for 12 yards.
Frank Gore: 2 carries for 12 yards.
Brandon Jacobs: 1 carry for 8 yards.
Rock Cartwright: wins the awesome name contest, but only carries the ball 4 times for 4 yards.
Starting Right Guard:
I'm curious about what was up with the line to start the game, so I am going to re-watch it tomorrow. As such, I think I will write up a more in-depth post about the guard position for later this week. I'll keep my comments brief, here, as a result.
It does deserve to be said that so far Alex Boone has not done much to cause him to lose his job. Also, Leonard Davis didn't play in the game, so there is that. More hard hitting analysis just like this coming up later this week.
We didn't quite have as much excitement this week with the back-up WRs this go-round. I really liked how well A.J. Jenkins was beating his defender, even if he was overthrown a couple of times. He needs to be consistently beating scrubs if he wants a shot at the real defenses.
I was mostly upset that Nathan Palmer only showed up to drop a pass. He was a guy that had some dark horse potential, but he has cooled off a lot since camp. Brian Tyms showed up in a nice way and Chris Owusu continues to have a funny name to say with a mouthful of pizza.
Randy Moss: 3 catches for 24 yards. Dude looked good. I was a doubted this off-season, and I sort of still am, but he is starting to win me over.
Brian Tyms: 2 for 20.
Kyle Williams: 2 for 13.
A.J. Jenkins: 1 for 32.
Ted Ginn Jr.: 1 for 24. He's been looking good, which is to say, he has been catching the football at a higher than Ginn-rate. There should be some sort of Ginn-coefficient or ratio or something that makes me look like I know math. No, the Ginn Catch Constant. If he is above the threshold of catches, then we can be happy - even if it is worse than league average. Below, well we can just wait and see. Like with Rock, if Ginn can contribute anything to the offense (especially with his speed) then we should be very happy people.
Chris Owusu: 1 for 5.
Brett Swain: 1 for 5.
Michael Crabtree: 1 for 4. (Pre-season games missed this year: zero).
I would put up a back-up CBs section, but with Cox out of the game, I don't think much battle-wise can be learned. That said, I think Tramaine Brock should get a tip o' the cap for some nice open field tackling. He demonstrated why his name is in the running.
I also wanted to find a position battle for Eric Bakhtiari, but I don't think he is battle specific people in his position group so much as he is battling everybody else on the roster. It's a bit of an uphill battle for him, but with seven tackles, he looked darn impressive.