Thus far, Fooch has taken a look at interesting San Francisco 49ers position battles on offense and defense, and I'm lazy so he's going to talk about special teams as well, likely tomorrow. This is all in advance of the team's second preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. But before he takes an overall look at things, I wanted to talk about the return game once more.
Previously, I wrote about running back Jarryd Hayne and wide receiver DeAndrew White making things interesting at the returner position after strong performances in the preseason. Those guys looked great returning punts and kicks, and I think they could definitely win the starting job despite the 49ers saying Reggie Bush was their returner prior to that game.
Bush didn't play in that game, and I have to wonder if he'll play in this one. At some point, the 49ers will need to see him, both on special teams and as a running back, but he might have more value for them than you might think. The Bay Area Sports Guy put together a real solid article on Bush potentially being the team's No. 3 receiver behind Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith, and I think that holds a lot of weight.
I also think Bush will play a big part in how opposing defenses cover the 49ers, even if he is past his prime and won't actually put up the yardage the team seems to expect from him. All that considers, it makes sense he won't play much in the preseason. I just have to wonder if he'll be returning at all, or if he was just a starter as a placeholder.
Regardless, we should see plenty of Hayne and White on Sunday against the Cowboys, and that has me excited. If I had to guess, I'd say that Bush probably isn't actually a factor returning kicks, though I don't quite agree that he's out of the running for the punt job. But if he's not, I hope we see him sooner rather than later given the positives we saw from Hayne.
That was just the one game, and Hayne obviously has a whole lot more to prove before we claim he should be the starter. But it sure was an encouraging beginning, and I'm excited to see what he does going forward. The same goes for White returning kicks -- I'll be paying special attention to those guys on Sunday.