The 49ers head into their second preseason game in Houston tonight. Kyle Shanahan confirmed that the first string will get some playing time leading up to their “dress rehearsal” in Indianapolis next week. As the game progresses, we have a few players to keep your eyes on as they face the Texans in their second preseason game.
Joshua Garnett and Jonathan Cooper
The competition at right guard has been described as “open.” Veteran Mike Person has been holding down the spot with both Garnett and Cooper both slowly working their ways back from injury. Facing the Texans, both players should see some time in the game to try to prove they deserve the spot but more pressure is on Garnett to show he can be a viable option on the line.
With Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida both out for the remainder of the preseason, the competition for the third running back position will be on display in Houston. Shanahan says that because Raheem Mostert and Joe Williams got quite a bit of time with the ones earlier in the week, McNichols will see some time to run with the first string of the offensive line in front of him. That way the coaching staff can make a more education decision when it comes to who will make the 53.
While McNichols will be getting his shot, so too will Williams. After sitting out his first year in the NFL he has come back in better shape and a with new outlook on what it takes to be an NFL running back. He has a lot to prove to the coaching staff that just added Alfred Morris to the mix. Shanahan is watching to see how much the running back from Utah wants it.
With the wide receiving group being as deep as it is, Bourne needs to have a consistent game to help prove he should be on the 53. He has had great practices where he has made phenomenal plays and then others where he has not been at the top of his game and dropped passes. With Richie James flashing as much as he did in the first game, Bourne has his work cut out for himself.
Richard Sherman will likely sit out for the second game no matter how bad the veteran wants to play. This means Jimmie Ward will have time on the field opposite Ahkello Witherspoon with the ones and maybe more after that. The coaching staff is regularly complimentary of the defensive back who could play at all secondary positions but now that he appears to be healthy, he will have to show he can walk the walk.
The inside linebackers have been on a rotation to compensate for all of the injuries they have been dealing with. They also have to prepare for Reuben Foster’s two game suspension. Warner is finally healthy should see a decent amount of time on the field with a different rotation of partners on the inside. Warner is known for his coverage skills which should be great to watch in a live game situation.