Sure it was only a preseason game, a mere exhibition in early August when the faint sounds of training camp battles and ice machines can be heard for miles.
A win is a win however and as of now the San Francisco 49ers are 2-0 this preseason after defeating the Oakland Raiders 21-20 at Candlestick Park last Saturday evening.
Being a newly anointed season ticket holder for these 49ers I was lucky enough to be at the game and see firsthand how the aforementioned battles were playing out in a live game. Here are some of my thoughts after last week’s game.
The quarterback battle is no closer to being decided then it was when camp opened. Neither Shaun Hill or Alex Smith have set themselves apart from the other and with this being the case then the nod at this point would have to go to Hill.
I think most who peruse these pages know of my desire to see Smith be named the starter for opening day but perhaps I should clarify my stance. I only want to see this take place if and only if the former #1 pick is deserving of such an honor.
He has yet to distinguish himself as anything more than a backup and not even a good one at that. Until Smith TAKES the starting position from Shaun Hill then the latter should be named the starter.
So the 49ers have dropped Zak Keasey… all I can say is it’s about time. I suppose I understand why he was kept on board as long as he was being that the team didn’t have Moran Norris last season, (another one of Mad Mike’s genius moves) and he was used often in the fullback position.
Now though, Norris is back and all signs appear to point to a return to the quality rushing attack the 49ers employed during the 2006 season.
Now since Keasey has been released the team signs former Arizona Cardinal Eric Green to add some depth to the secondary, the same secondary that picked off the Raiders quarterbacks five times in practice earlier last week.
Nate Clements had three all by himself and could be heard yelling “They can’t compete with this!” as he was running untouched downfield for what would have been a pick six in a real game.
I have to say that one man I am taking issue with even though I am sure he is giving 100% every day is Manny Lawson. He has been tasked, along with fellow linebacker Parys Haralson, with getting after the quarterback and as far as I can tell he has yet to do so.
The knock on Lawson’s game the past few seasons was that the defense which Mike Nolan had in place did not play to his strengths.
Too often he was having to drop back into coverage, something he was simply not adept at. He has improved this part of his game, however his true calling since being drafted was to be a QB killer. I know only two preseason games has been completed but he has posted a mere four tackles and no sacks.
Unless he finds an avenue to opposing teams signal callers then the idea that the 49ers will have a pass rush to be proud of might just go out the window.
No movement on the Michael Crabtree situation… I have to say that I am surprised by how this has transpired thus far. Here we have a rookie and while I agree he should have been taken higher then tenth overall in last Aprils draft (thanks agains Al) he simply wasn’t.
Never before have I seen a player attempt to get even more money from the team who selected him based on where he thinks he should have been drafted.
You were drafted number ten overall and number ten money is what you’re going to get Mr. Crabtree. I believe the 49ers have made their stance abundantly clear when it comes to this situation and now the question becomes is whether or not the first round pick is willing to leave millions on the table by not signing this season.
Can I just say that Glenn Coffee looks absolutely amazing this preseason? I knew what the team had when they drafted him in the third round, a tough downhill runner who doesn’t back down from defenders and instead attempts to run through them.
He has shown as much and more in these first two games and has added a degree of shifty allusiveness once he hits the open field. He is going to be a welcome addition to this team and most notably to Frank Gore.
By spelling the starter when he needs to rest (something Gore never wants to do) Coffee will result in less wear and tear on his body, equating to less time on injury reports come Monday mornings this season.
Last but not least today, just got the news that the team has named Shaun Hill as the opening day starter in Arizona. While I do expect this to change at some point in the season I see it as the best and most logical decision at this time.
As I stated earlier, Smith would have had to do something to set himself apart and take the job from Hill and he has failed to do that.
Let’s hope Hill succeeds and can be as competitive this season as he was last when he was promoted to the starting position.