The San Francisco 49ers played their first preseason game, and while the snap count doesn't tell us a lot, it does provide a few interesting nuggets to ponder. The 49ers have a 90-man roster, but injuries and resting veterans left them with 68 players at their disposal. A few players got big snap numbers, with some going to young players that needed the team, others were camp bodies running out the clock. You can view the full game book HERE.
The leading snap count on defense went to Corey Lemonier, who had 70 defensive snaps, and 14 special teams snaps. Chase Thomas played 47 defensive snaps, Dan Skuta played 30 snaps, and Ahmad Brooks played 12 snaps. Aaron Lynch got 9 special teams snaps, but no defensive snaps, and Aldon Smith did not play following a lengthy trip to New York City to meet with Roger Goodell.
Lynch only recently came off the PUP list, so my guess is the team wanted to work him back in slowly. I have to think next week we see him get a large chunk of snaps against the Denver Broncos. Lemonier, Skuta, and Lynch will all look to claim their share of playing time during Aldon Smith's eventual suspension. Matt Maiocco reported the 49ers were bracing for a 6-8 game suspension. I still think it ends up around 4. Either way, the 49ers will need to figure out a short-term solution. If Lemonier in particular is able to stand out, it adds to the long-term rotation as well.
Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial got extensive work, logging 60 and 56 snaps, respectively. The 49ers were down to 4 healthy defensive linemen late in the game, and at one point, Will Tukuafu got some defensive snaps. He has focused on fullback the last year, but the team needed an extra body on defense. I suspect he might get some more work there next week, unless the 49ers add another defensive lineman to the roster.
On offense, Ryan Seymour led the way with 35 snaps, while Derek Carrier was second with 30 snaps. Given how poorly Jonathan Martin performed, there are some potential openings in the reserve spots on the line. Seymour can play guard and tackle, so he will be a guy to watch. I want to go back through and check out his work. He retains practice squad eligibility as well.
Carrier is competing for the third tight end role, and with Garrett Celek on the PUP list with a back issue, Carrier has a strong chance of claiming the role. Asante Cleveland and Kevin Greene will get preseason work, but neither seems like a strong possibility to supplant Carrier or Celek. And as long as Celek remains hurt, Carrier has a huge opportunity in front of him.
The 49ers did not play Tramaine Brock, Garrett Celek, Michael Crabtree, Anthony Davis, Glenn Dorsey, Frank Gore, LaMichael James, Brandon Lloyd, Ray McDonald, Trey Millard, Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, and Glenn Winston.