The San Francisco 49ers had plenty of good and bad to take away from their preseason opener, and some of the good comes from the rookies. Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster got extensive work, finishing in the top five in defensive snaps. The 49ers spent a lot more time on the field on offense (83 snaps) than defense (52 snaps), but the rookies acquitted themselves well in their first game action.
Pro Football Focus put together a “refocus” of the 49ers-Chiefs preseason opener, breaking out the top five graded players, and also offering details on players of note. I am not a huge fan of PFF grading, but their discussion of notable performances offered up some of the more detailed stats they track that I do find valuable.
Solomon Thomas was the highest graded player on either side of the ball. According to PFF, he had a hit and two hurries on 20 pass rush snaps, and also had two run stops on seven run snaps. They tracked him as playing nine snaps from the edge, right over the tackle, and three in the interior.
Reuben Foster was in the top off of PFF’s grading. He showed off his coverage work when he broke up a potential touchdown. He was targeted a second time, and while he gave up a catch, he got a quick tackle for only a three-yard gain. PFF gave him the highest coverage grade for either team during the game.
Another notable rookie performance came from the team’s leading receiver. Kendrick Bourne finished the game with four receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown. According to PFF, when he was targeted, the quarterbacks’ passer rating was a combined 141.4. Bourne benefited on the touchdown from his defender falling down, but he did a great job making a statement in his debut performance.