We're back for another week of arrow up/arrow down. User Mickey Pain helped me out by putting together the arrow up, arrow down and no change graphics. Nothing like smiling and screaming Jim Harbaugh to get you excited!
For those wondering, one of Jim Harbaugh's favorite phrases to describe players in camp has been arrow up. He does not mention arrow down as he is generally a positive guy when it comes to his players. But I figured we could take his arrow up and use it to break down which players are building some positive momentum heading into the third week of the preseason.
Once again, we're breaking this up into offense, defense and special teams. I'm going to go through each position and list out who is arrow up, who is arrow down, and who has no change, followed by some comments on the position. I'm sure some will disagree, so feel free to speak up.
If anybody is a lock to be arrow up this week, it's B.J. Daniels. The 49ers rookie QB had a solid showing in the fourth quarter against the Chiefs, driving the 49ers to a come-from-behind touchdown. It's one drive in one fourth quarter of the preseason, but the momentum is swinging up. It's even more so given the struggles of McCoy and Tolzien. Both are competing for the backup QB spot, but neither has excelled consistently. Tolzien has had some moments, but for both guys, offensive line troubles, and some bad decisions have cost them.
Frank Gore sat out the preseason opener, but he made his appearance in Week 2 count, breaking off a 52-yard run on his first touch. Not too shabby. Jewel Hampton gets an arrow up simply for getting on the field. I had him arrow down last week, but that was before learning an injury had kept him off the field. He was in for 19 carries on Friday, and while he only rushed for 33 yards, he gets the arrow up because those were the first 19 carries of his 49ers career. He spent last season on the NFI list and then inactive at the end of the season, so congrats to him for at least getting on the field. Now we'll see if he can build on that performance.
I left Marlon Moore in the arrow up column primarily because even though he hasn't played much, he seems to have locked up a roster spot, and apparently maybe even a starting role. That's strong momentum if I've ever seen it. Patton gets an arrow up because he has been cleared to practice, and was in uniform for Friday's game, even if he didn't play. Chuck Jacobs is arrow up for his second straight solid performance, hauling in the game-winning touchdown.
Correction on this one. I did a double-check and Celek definitely struggled against the Chiefs. He struggled blocking, and he struggled at times in the passing game. I don't think either is necessarily ahead of the other, but Celek goes from seemingly locked in at No. 3 to being in a tight competition with MarQueis Gray. Right now, Gray is the better receiving option, and his blocking is coming along. This is a matchup I want to track closely this weekend.
If Patrick Omameh is not among the first cuts next week, I would be surprised. He handled right tackle duties, and continued to struggle. Defenders ran around and through him way too frequently. Carter Bykowski had some positive moments, but he was physically overwhelmed and seemed to have issues with his assignment at times. Obviously we don't know all the specifics of his assignments, but he gave off the aura of being confused.
Adam Snyder is listed at guard, but he played left tackle this week. I actually was impressed with his work for the most part. He's not Joe Staley, but he looked comfortable, and generally like he belonged on the football field. That's always a plus!
Interior Offensive Line
The 49ers gave their offensive line considerably more time this week, with Colt McCoy and Scott Tolzien both getting some snaps with the first string line. Mike Iupati and Jonathan Goodwin had a couple miscues, but for the most part, the starters were fine.
The backups were once again shaky, although we saw some improvements. Joe Looney got more snaps at guard this week, and I thought he looked a bit more sharp at times. Inconsistency is still a problem, but I thought he was OK. He went in at center a bit later, and while he had his struggles, again I thought he showed improvement.
I'd love to hear people's thoughts on all this, but particularly on the offensive line. It's easy to overlook them when the plays start happening. Feel free to drop in your own arrows up and down!