The San Francisco 49ers have all sorts of questions to answer, and that has boosted them on one preseason watchability scale. NFL.com writer Gregg Rosenthal put together his preseason watchability rankings, and the 49ers come in third.
The top group of four teams are bunched under the headline “Quarterbacks battling.” It includes the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Rams, 49ers, and Philadelphia Eagles. The regular season is about the team, but the preseason is about individual competitions. And given the high profile nature of the quarterback position, it makes sense that serious QB competitions would be up top. He had this to say about the 49ers preseason watchability:
August is Chip Kelly season. Sam Bradford threw roughly 10 well-placed passes last year around this time under Kelly in Philly, and suddenly the Eagles became a trendy playoff pick. Now, of course, Kelly is in San Francisco, and the coach indicated the preseason will largely decide the battle between Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert, which has looked tight in practice. It has also inspired actual headlines like: "Kap vs Gabbert: 49ers fans will likely hate the winner and loser."
Put aside the cynicism for a minute, and you'll see two quarterbacks with raw skill and a coach unafraid to be aggressive. The 49ers are such a strange team, but Kelly makes them fascinating. The defensive front seven is better than you think, especially if rookie DeForest Buckner makes good on his camp buzz. Two of the three starting receiver jobs are open, as is the tight end job. The football dork in me loves it all.
The Broncos and Eagles already got one game under their belt. The Broncos had no trouble beating the Chicago Bears. Mark Sanchez had an interception, but otherwise was solid in his debut, completing 10 of 13 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles edged out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-9, and we got the first glimpse of Carson Wentz. He did some good things, he did some bad things. It was a rookie debut in so many ways. Fooch’s update: Wentz also suffered a hairline fracture of his ribs and will miss much of the preseason. Whoops.
The Rams are currently playing their preseason debut against the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers get going on Sunday when they host the Houston Texans at 4 p.m. PT on NFL Network.