Red and Gold Report- 49ers Preseason Preview
By: Matt Andruscavage
The wait is over! 49ers football is back and tonight’s game features the Houston Texans.
This will be the debut of new 49ers Head Coach Chip Kelly as well as the many new faces of the team.
Here are 10 Things to Watch and Know about tonight’s matchup:
10) When and Where?
The game will start at 4pm PT and will be at Levi’s Stadium.
9) What does the 49ers’ Depth Chart look like at this point?
Here is the unofficial depth chart straight from 49ers.com – Depth Chart
The most notable items on it are first, there is no official Quarterback, but due to arm soreness, Blaine Gabbert will start in tonight’s game. Secondly, Trent Brown is listed as the Right Tackle, but most expect Anthony Davis to retake that spot.
And finally, the inside linebacker spot opposite NaVorro Bowman is still up for grabs. There is a three-way tie between Ray-Ray Armstrong, Gerald Hodges, and Michael Wilhoite.
8) Players to watch – Ronald Blair, Tank Carradine and Corey Lemonier
49ers fans are hoping that this is the year Tank Carradine emerges, especially with Aaron Lynch missing the first 4 games. Carradine has been moved to outside linebacker and it seems to be a much better fit for him. Matt Maiocco reported that Tank had his best day in camp this past Tuesday as he recorded two would-be sacks and just looks way better at his new position.
Ronald Blair has also been turning heads in camp and figures to be a part of the rotation on the defensive line this season. He should see a lot of playing time tonight.
And lastly, this preseason is probably Corey Lemonier’s last chance to impress as he is likely on the bubble to make the roster. Hopefully, he can make it and show the fans why he was drafted high in 2013.
7) Players to watch – DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead
The potential for this Oregon duo is limitless and it will be fun to watch the “Twin Towers” in action this preseason. They both fought through injuries during camp, but should be ready to go tonight.
6) Players to watch – Mike Davis, DuJuan Harris, and Kelvin Taylor
The backup running back spot is still up in the air, but the preseason should feature Davis, Harris, Taylor, and also last year’s pickup Shaun Draughn. All should see action and the roster picture should be a little clearer after tonight.
5) Players to watch – Zane Beadles, Anthony Davis, Trent Brown, and Joshua Garnett
While there are other players to watch like John Theus and Fahn Cooper, the Right Tackle, Right Guard and Left Guard positions are going to get a lot attention. Anthony Davis will likely be starting in Week 1 against the Rams, but keep on eye on Trent Brown.
An interesting thing happened on Tuesday as Joshua Garnett was moved to Left Guard in place of Zane Beadles and Andrew Tiller is still in play for the Right Guard position. It’s unclear as to whether or not that move means anything, but we’ll know a little more tonight.
4) Players to watch – The Cornerbacks
The 49ers seem to have a load of corners who are competing for four or five positions.
At this point, Jimmy Ward and Tremaine Brock are penciled in as the starters, but there are lots of possibilities.
Keith Reaser and Rashard Robinson have made a lot of noise in camp and it will also be interesting to see where Dontae Johnson, Kenneth Acker and Will Redmond fit in.
I’m most interested in Redmond as he could be the steal of the 2016 49ers draft.
3) The Obvious – Expect a vanilla offense
I think most fans have their expectations tempered for preseason outcomes, but just in case, don’t expect elaborate schemes from Chip Kelly in these games.
It will be a basic offense and defense designed to allow the coaches to evaluate players. We might see a little more on August 26th when the Packers come to town, as the third game is typically when the starters play the most.
2) Players to watch – The Wide Receivers
Torrey Smith is the number two receiver. That’s about all that is sure at this point. Bruce Ellington is the favorite at slot receiver, given his abilities seem to fit what Chip Kelly looks for at receiver, but watch undrafted rookie Bryce Treggs, who has been impressive.
Last year’s redshirt pick DeAndre Smelter is healthy and has a chance to win a starting position, but has been outplayed by Quinton Patton. The preseason will give us a much better idea of where Smelter may fit in, but it may also be Patton’s last chance to make an impact.
Jerome Simpson, DiAndre Campbell, Dres Anderson, Aaron Burbridge and DeAndrew White will also see action tonight.
1) Players to watch – the Quarterback battle
Blaine Gabbert is set to start and it is unclear how much playing time Colin Kaepernick will get, but until a Week 1 starter is named, nothing is certain.
Gabbert is the early favorite, but a lot can change in four weeks.
No matter who you’re personally pulling for, I think all 49ers fans can agree that both players playing at a good or high level is needed for this team to be competitive this year and it will be interesting to see how both fit into Coach Kelly’s scheme.
Follow me on Twitter @mtascavage