Cleat Geeks

49ers Preseason Week 1 Recap

49ers Preseason Week 1 Recap

The season is almost upon us. This is my first article in quite some time due to other commitments. CleatGeeks have been kind enough to assign me to the 49ers for the foreseeable future.

So, what can you expect from me throughout the 2018 season? Each week look out for a recap and a preview of 9ers’ games. These articles will also update you on any roster transactions, injures and of course, juicy gossip.

For now, let’s focus on our first (of many) victories of the season. In Preseason Week 1 we travelled to Dallas for a much awaited skirmish. As with all games in August there was an air of disappoint. But, if you pull back a few layers there is much to unravel. Let’s start with the bad.

Injuries

 At this time of year all fans, across the world are watching with baited breath, praying that their team battles against the odds and remains healthy. In light of the recent Derius Guice news (torn ACL) it is worth us keeping a positive head on our shoulders. Yes we had injuries but for now, they seem fairly light in comparison.

Soloman Thomas – DE – ConcussionImage result for solomon thomas 49ers

Gary Gilliam – OT – Concussion

George Kittle – TE – Shoulder

Matt Breida – RB – Shoulder

Malcolm Smith– LB – Hamstring

Eli Harold – LB – Knee

At first glance, this list looks catastrophic for the team. The main concern came with Kittle and Breida who seemed to suffer serious shoulder injuries. And let’s not forget that concussions are ALWAYS serious, regardless of how quickly a player bounces back.

However, the Faithful got lucky this week and all six instances appear to be relatively minor. Solomon Thomas and Gary Gilliam are now both in the concussion protocol and are likely to be ready for week 1 (phew).

George Kittle was feared to have suffered some kind of collarbone injury (see Aaron Rodgers) but further tests reveal there is no structural damage. The news is identical for Matt Breida (no structural damage) and both palyers should be good to go for week 1. (@MaioccoNBCS)

Image result for malcolm smith 49ers

Furthermore, Eli Harold- an up and coming contributor appears to simply have a knee bruise. As of the 10th of August there is no news on Malcolm Smith. Hopefully it is nothing major after losing him to a torn pectoral last year. Yes, we have a solidified LB core with the addition of Korey Toomer and Fred Waner but a veteran present is never to be under estimated.

Top Player Performances

Another section I will be trying out for this season is the ‘Top Player Performances’. For the Preseason this will focus on players who, following a game, performed well enough to improve their roster position or improve their chances of maintaining a job. For this reason, it is unlikely that bona fide starters will be on this list- unless of course, they wreck the field. This week we have quite a few names.

Pita Taumoepenu – LB – 2 tacklesImage result for richie james 49ers

Richie James – WR – 4 receptions for 46 yards and 1 TD

DJ Reed – DB – 2 tackles 1 assist

Julian Taylor – DE – 2 tackles 1 assist and a sack

CJ Beathard – QB – 10/20 for 181 yards and 1 INT

Nick Mullens – QB – 11/13 for 141 1TD yards and 1INT

Now, the box scores only tell half the tale- as usual. Let’s start at the top. Pita has been on the 9ers since last year and was drafted 202nd overall. So far he is yet to make an impact in the regular season but will soon become a house hold name.

With the ability to rush the passer and punish the run, Pita showed his natural instincts against the cowboys and was frequently around the ball. Although he only racked up 2 tackles one of these was for a loss. He certainly passed the eye test and could be the home grown talent this team relishes. Oh and he added a tackle on ST for good measure.

All of a sudden the 49ers now have an excess of WR talent. Richie James is currently buried on the 9ers depth chart, look for that to change. Not only did he score the team’s winning TD (see Nick Mullens later) but with the ball in his hands he turns into a RB. Showing exceptional vision and toughness for a WR, James could solidify his place as the team’s number 5 or 6 receiver. One thing can be certain; James, Robinson and Bourne (also Victor Bolden Jr. didn’t look half bad) are going to have to fight this off-season. If it were up to me we’d keep them all, sadly it is not.

DJ Reed set the tone from the moment he stepped onto the field. With K’Waun Williams currently battling some nagging injuries, Reed has been taking over as the slot/nickel cornerback. Totalling 3 tackles, Reed showcased his field awareness and vigor. At only 5’9” and 188 lbs he sure plays much, much larger than that. He allowed 3 catches for a total of 9 yards. Without picking favorites (yet), Reed is going to be the guy I’ve got my eye on the most this Preseason.

Unleeeeessss I change my mind and instead switch to Julian Taylor. At a monstrous 6’5” and 280lbs, Taylor was selected at 223rd overall in this year’s draft. After his first outing, this seems like a STEAL. To say he was all over the field would not do him justice. He may have only totaled 3 tackles but he also added: 1 sack (for -9 yards!), 1 TFL and 2 QB hits. Not. Too. Shabby. Currently a third stringer behind some legitimate competition, Taylor will have to work hard to over take players such as; Cassius Marsh, Ronald Blair and Jeremiah Attaochu. But, these guys aren’t exactly All Pros and that’s how Taylor looked last night.

Image result for nick mullens 49ers

Lets pool this 2 guys together. Beathard and Mullens impressed me a great deal in this game. They kept the ball moving, showed accuracy and poise. With Jimmy G hailed as the next coming, these guys will hopefully have to sit and watch this year. But, as the Eagles proved last year, a back-up QB can be the most valuable player on your team.

Beathard showed some promise last year before the arrival of Jimmy Jesus and I slept slightly better at night knowing he is waiting in the wings. Mullens- an undrafted sophmore, led a game winning drive and for that, he earns himself a place on this week’s Top Player Performances. Oh, and he also led an additional TD drive and completed a 2-Pt conversion.

Good Start- Keep Going

 These section is dedicated to those players who showed some flashes of excellence. Perhaps they didn’t jump off the page as some of the others did but had a good day nonetheless. Again, this are guys we should keep our eye on as they get more and more snaps and more chance to prove themselves.

Joe Williams – RB – 11 Carries for 27 yards and 1 TDImage result for elijah lee 49ers

Raheem Mostert – RB – 8 Carries for 57 yards and 1 fumble

Kendrick Bourne – WR – 3 receptions for 31 yards

Elijah Lee – LB – 7 total tackles

Joe Williams showed why the hype was high on him last season before being placed on IR. He had several runs in which his power was evident and of course, punching in a Goal Line TD helped his performance. As with the receiving core, the 49ers are deep at running back so he has a lot to play for. Expect to see many more carries from him over the next few weeks.

The same can be said for Mostert. His performance was overall more impressive than Williams. With exceptional burst and speed it is easy to see why Raheem has a place on this roster. A Special Teams ‘Demon’ I expect him to make the final cut. However, he does have a fumbling issue dating back to last season. He needs to improve his ball security but other than that, he’s a good young player.

Image result for raheem mostert 49ers

The Darling of the 2017 off-season/Pre Season, Kendrick Bourne is now a household name. His performance was good but limited. As mentioned with Richie James, the receiver battle is going to be hot this year. Let’s see how he falls on the depth chart come September.

A few missed tackles and bad positioning was the only thing keeping Elijah Lee off of the previous list for Top Performers. Now, perhaps you could argue a switch of him and Pita but personally Pita jumped off the screen and his limited snap count was the only thing holding him back. Still, 7 total tackles (6 solo!) is nothing to be sniffed at. I’ll say it again, out LB core is suddenly looking like a commodity rather than a hindrance.

Thank you for reading! As the weeks progress expect to see more sections added. The updates will keep coming and so will these articles. Any feedback is welcome and encourage. Follow me on Twitter @Murphy123George

Cheers guys!!

George.

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