Back with a weekly install of this series, this time taking a closer look at a handful of plays that stood out from the 49ers’ win over the Minnesota Vikings in the second week of the preseason. While many players did not suit up in this one for the 49ers, there were still some impact plays from players who are slated to play a major role on this team in 2022.
For those who are not familiar with this series, after reviewing the game film, I chose five plays that stood out to me. Plays that significantly impact the game’s outcome will generally be weighed heavier during the decision process, but that is far from the sole deciding factor. So, without further ado, number five.
5. Jason Poe-ncake
Jason Poe has quickly become a fan favorite, and for a good reason. The rookie offensive lineman is one of the more unique athletes in the league and has shown an array of physical skills that have jumped off the screen during this preseason.
On this rep, he is lined up at the left guard spot. The 49ers call a power trap, with Poe pulling across the formation to engage the edge defender on the play side. While the defender was in a good position and was able to get low before impact, that was not enough to stop the Poe-sized freight train bearing down on him.
Jason Poe pulling from the LG spot and annihilating the edge defender on the play side— Jordan Elliott (@JLeeElliott) August 22, 2022
Poe was fired up after this pancake, and rightfully so pic.twitter.com/hvXkAg5l3k
Poe is able to flatten the edge defender and create a lane for JaMycal Hasty. Poe was fired up after this pancake, and for a good reason. It was a great rep and showcased how hard it is to out-leverage Poe. You can go low, but Poe will still find a way to win, as he has done over and over throughout the preseason.
I know there are a lot of readers who are looking to get their Poe fix, so I am going to include one more play from this game as a bonus. Poe shows off his agility on this rep, quickly getting to the second level to engage the middle linebacker and create a running lane for Tyrion Davis-Price to pick up a nice chunk of yardage.
Jason Poe - mover of men— Jordan Elliott (@JLeeElliott) August 21, 2022
One thing that consistently stands out to about Poe, is his agility and the way he is able to move in space
Quickly gets to the second level and helps clear a running lane for a nice gain by Ty Davis-Price pic.twitter.com/ZFQMBGWe0m
4. Under Pressure
One thing that stood out immediately when DeMeco Ryans took over the reins as defensive coordinator was his willingness to get a bit more creative than his predecessor with the pressures he dials up.
On 3rd & 8 on the Vikings’ first possession of the game, Ryans dialed up a blitz that wasn’t overtly complicated yet highly effective. I liked a few different things about the play, but let’s set the stage before we dive into each one.
The 49ers roll out an overloaded front with three defensive linemen to one side of the of the line and Samuel Womack showing press coverage over the slot receiver to the overload side.
Ryans has Womack blitz from the slot, which will be an essential task for Womack to master as he appears to be first in line for the starting nickel cornerback for this defense. That was something K’Waun Williams excelled at, and if Womack can be consistently effective in that area early in his career, the 49ers’ defense will be in a great spot.
Samuel Womack has made huge strides in recent weeks and currently appears slated to be the starting nickel corner for the 49ers— Jordan Elliott (@JLeeElliott) August 22, 2022
One thing that role will be tasked with frequently in this defense is being capable of effectively bringing pressure when DeMeco Ryans dials up a blitz pic.twitter.com/HqFGvaICIY
Here is where things get interesting. Ryans is going to run a stunt with Alex Barrett and Drake Jackson off the right side, but because Womack is blitzing off the same side, the 49ers defense has a numbers advantage as one of the offensive linemen will be responsible for picking up Womack off the edge.
The pressure is designed to free Jackson up as he loops around to the A gap, but while making his move to the inside, Jackson slips and falls. What happens next stood out to me the most in this play.
Jackson is immediately able to rebound and get back on his feet. His effort is on full display as he charges the A gap and engages the running back, attempting to pick him up in the backfield. Jackson explodes into the backfield and is able to affect Kellen Mond’s throw as he is releasing the ball, which ends up getting intercepted by 49ers safety George Odum.
DeMeco Ryans dials up an effective pressure here by running a stunt with Alex Barrett & Drake Jackson while blitzing Womack from the slot to free up Jackson as he loops into the A gap— Jordan Elliott (@JLeeElliott) August 22, 2022
Jackson slips but never gives up on the play and his effort leads to a bad pass that is picked pic.twitter.com/07VAkqruqB
Jackson has immense physical tools and the ability to get stronger and faster over time. However, one thing that can’t be taught is the innate level of hustle Jackson displays daily. Jackson has a relentless motor, and when you pair that with the developmental track he is on, it becomes easy to envision an extremely high ceiling for a player who is already flashing immense levels of talent early in his NFL career.
3. The Davis-Price Is Right
The 3rd round pick out of LSU has been coming on strong in recent weeks, and he had a couple of very nice runs in this game. However, one of these runs stood out above the rest, as it showcased Davis-Price’s ability to finish off runs with power, which could prove invaluable when the 49ers are operating with a lead late in games.
This one is pretty straightforward. The 49ers’ offense is going to run power to the right side out of a shotgun formation with Davis-Price flanking Nate Sudfeld to his left. Price breaks three tackles on this carry and finishes this run with authority as he flattens a defender trying to bring him down in the open field.
Tyrion Davis-Price breaks three tackles on this carry— Jordan Elliott (@JLeeElliott) August 22, 2022
Good balance through contact, and finishes this run off with some authority pic.twitter.com/chgm7l4IYp
You want to see these kinds of runs from a player the 49ers invested a top 100 pick into. Davis-Price continues to get better the farther we get into the preseason, and I expect him to have a considerable role from day one when the regular season rolls around.
2. If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late
Jackson makes another appearance on this list, and the breakdown on this one will be much shorter than his previous spot. It’s higher on the list because of the significance behind the play and what it means moving forward.
Minnesota runs a reasonably simple screen to the halfback off-play action, and for the first 80% or so of this rep, Jackson is losing his rep against the right tackle. What makes this particular play stand out to me is how Jackson was able to take a play where he was being soundly beaten and recovered to make an impact that took away positive yardage for the Vikings’ offense. Here is the play I am referencing.
The most encouraging thing I saw from Drake Jackson last night was his ability to recover on a rep he that was objectively losing, and still find a way to positively impact the play— Jordan Elliott (@JLeeElliott) August 21, 2022
#74 won the battle, Jackson won the war pic.twitter.com/JxRlw4FMdX
Not only does Jackson have great instincts for the football, as this is the second week in a row we’ve seen him force an incompletion by getting his arms in the throwing lane, but it also comes back to what I touched on earlier. Jackson has a motor that does not stop, and that kind of effort on a play like this makes all the difference in the world.
Jackson may have lost the battle, but he won the war. And that’s what matters at this level, and it’s not about how you start plays; it’s all about how you finish them.
1. Kinlaw and Order
You had to know this one was coming, right? This was the cutup I was the most eager to get to upon diving into the game film, and I truthfully could not stop thinking about it after watching it unfold live.
On 3rd & 7 from their own 16-yard line, the Vikings came out looking to throw the ball and extend their drive. Kinlaw lined up at the 3-technique, matched up with rookie right guard Ed Ingram.
Kinlaw opted to use a ‘club’ move on Ingram, which targets the shoulder of the offensive lineman as the landmark. Kinlaw is able to strike Ingram on his inside shoulder and out leverage him to clear a path through the A gap. Kinlaw explodes upon creating that lane to the quarterback in the backfield and wraps up Mond for a sack that ends any hopes the Vikings had of marching deep out of their own territory.
Javon Kinlaw uses a ‘Club’ move on this rep, which targets the inside shoulder of the right guard as the landmark— Jordan Elliott (@JLeeElliott) August 21, 2022
This allows Kinlaw to maximize his superhuman strength to out leverage the guard, and explode into the A gap for the sack
Sky is the limit for Kinlaw moving forward pic.twitter.com/553KO0aMcm
This was extremely encouraging for a number of reasons. Among them was seeing Kinlaw truly dominate a rep, allowing him to maximize his superhuman strength with textbook hand placement on an inside move like the ‘club.’
It also showed a level of burst from Kinlaw that hadn’t quite been there in recent years, which I would presume had a lot to do with the injuries he had been playing through. This rep gave us a glimpse into what a healthy Kinlaw can do for the 49ers not only now but moving forward as he really begins to hit his stride at the NFL level.
Kinlaw is a transcendent athlete and has the drive and the work ethic to be an extraordinary player in this league. If he continues to progress the way he has been as of late, we will see the perennial pro bowl ceiling that Kinlaw possesses sooner rather than later.