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49ers vs. Broncos: Offense arrow up, arrow down

The San Francisco 49ers have one preseason game under the belt, which means it is time to start assessing who improved their stock, and who saw their stock fall. We start with the offense.

Ezra Shaw

During training camp, one of Jim Harbaugh's favorite phrases in describing a player is "arrow up." When a player is performing well in camp, they are arrow up. I thought we would use that phrase to go through the roster and describe who is looking good after the first preseason game. Jim Harbaugh does not use the phrase arrow down, but obviously that is the easy counter to arrow up.

I thought we'd break this up into offense and defense posts to focus the discussion a little bit. I'm going to go through each position and list out who is arrow up and who is arrow down, followed by some comments on the position. I'm sure some will disagree, so feel free to speak up.


Arrow Up
Colin Kaepernick

Arrow Down
Colt McCoy
Scott Tolzien

No change
B.J. Daniels

Thursday was not a good day for the backups. When Colt McCoy hurt his shoulder, the team gave Scott Tolzien an extended look throughout the second half. I was thinking of including him in arrow up because the team gave him so much time, but his performance was too inconsistent to earn an arrow up. B.J. Daniels did not get any snaps at quarterback. Maybe the team wants to hide him and slip him to the practice squad, but it also might be that they really want to see if Scott Tolzien is worth keeping around moving forward.

Running Back

Arrow Up
Anthony Dixon

Arrow Down
D.J. Harper
Jewel Hampton

No change
Frank Gore
LaMichael James

Dixon did not blow us away on Thursday, but he looked solid, hit the holes fairly well, and looked great on special teams. Harper got the nod over Hampton as one of the backups, but he struggled in his two runs, and had the fumble. James got the start with Frank Gore resting, and he did some good things. He didn't get a chance to show off his skills in the passing game, but he made it through uninjured, so that's what we like.

Wide Receiver

Arrow Up
Anquan Boldin
Marlon Moore
Kassim Osgood
Austin Collie
Chad Hall
Ricardo Lockette

Arrow Down
A.J. Jenkins
Lavelle Hawkins

No change
Quinton Patton
Kyle Williams
Chuck Jacobs

Anquan Boldin and Marlon Moore had limited playing time, but both looked solid in their work. Kassim Osgood looked as good as anybody at wide receiver, although his real work will be on special teams. That group of Collie, Hall and Lockette all showed some things, particularly Collie. For now it's more of a modest arrow up for that group.

We've had plenty of discussion on Jenkins, and to some extent, the arrow down might be unfair. He did some good things, but people will remember that fumble. We'll just hope for a strong showing next week.

Tight End

Arrow Up
Vance McDonald

Arrow Down

No change
Vernon Davis
Garrett Celek
MarQueis Gray

McDonald looked strong in the receiving game on Thursday, leading the team with four receptions for 66 yards. He showed off his leaping ability, as well as what he can do on a catch and run. He looked solid when he was blocking in space. We'll see how he improves blocking on the line, but as an offensive weapon, the potential jumps out.

Offensive Tackle

Arrow Up

Arrow Down
Carter Bykowski
Patrick Omameh

No change
Joe Staley
Anthony Davis
Kenny Wiggins

It was not a pretty day for the reserves on the offensive line. Omameh is the most clear-cut arrow down, but Bykowski had a holding penalty on a big Dixons run. I'm going to go back and check out the specifics for an offensive line oriented post, but it was not the greatest of days.

Interior Offensive Line


Honestly, it was difficult to assess the interior of the line given some of the struggles on the exterior. For example, Joe Looney got center work, and aside from a penalty, did not seem to do to poorly. This is a bit of a cop-out, but I'm going to spend some time this weekend re-watching the game and focusing entirely on the offensive line.

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.