Red and Gold Report – Packers at 49ers Preview

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The third exhibition game is usually considered the "dry run" before the regular season and gives coaches and players somewhat of a barometer as to where things stand. The starters will play more than in previous weeks, but make no mistake, this game is still much more about getting the roster figured out.

Here are the key items to know for today's match-up against the Green Bay Packers.

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The Red and Gold Report – 49ers/Broncos Recap

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Broncos Recap and Notes for the Week

If you watched San Francisco's 31-24 victory over the Denver Broncos this past Saturday, then you have to be encouraged a little about how things are progressing. While there were a few items of concern, Saturday was an overall positive. Here are Game Two's "Good, Correctable, and Concerning" :

The Good

The quarterback competition got a little more interesting as Christian Ponder got into the mix. Blaine Gabbert was 6 for 9 and tallied 69 yards, but was replaced by Jeff Driskel and then Ponder, who scored on a 22 yard zone-read keeper and then later threw a 30 yard touchdown to receiver Dres Anderson.

Ponder looked very comfortable in the offense, going 7 for 8 for 86 yards and a touchdown. Colin Kaepernick will be back for Friday's game against the Packers, but the competition doesn't appear to be won by Gabbert at this point.

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Christian Ponder on a zone-read

Vance McDonald continues to make strides as he again led the team in receptions and now has five for 92 yards and a score.

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3 Observations from the 49ers/Texans Game

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49ers Football is back! As the game unfolded, there were definitely expectations for the starters and what it ultimately boils down to is, everyone who cheers for the 49ers wants to see quality football and a win.

Last Saturday's game did not feature a high-powered offense or a stifling defense, but that was not the goal. Coach Jim Tomsula did not game plan to beat the Texans, but rather, was looking to evaluate the second and third strings.

Here are three observations or take-aways from the first preseason game:

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The Three Most Important Training Camp Battles

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As training camp looms near for the San Francisco 49ers, there are going to be several excellent position battles. Here are the three most important:

1) Right side of the offensive line

Candidates - Alex Boone, Marcus Martin, Joe Looney, Brandon Thomas, Trenton Brown and Erik Pears

With the surprising retirement of Anthony Davis, the right tackle position is now up for grabs and fortunately for the Niners, there are a couple good candidates to take the job.

The most likely replacement for Davis is veteran Erik Pears, the 49ers' free agent pickup this offseason.

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What Will the Defensive Line Look like in 2015?

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There have been a lot of theories as to what the defensive line will look like for the 2015 San Francisco 49ers. The bad news is, many in the media are pessimistic due to the losses on a very steady unit from the past four seasons.

Justin Smith retired after his left shoulder, which gets the brunt of the contact playing on the right side of the line, "didn't respond" the way he wanted it.

Ray McDonald was released and is now likely out of the league.

The good news is, there is a very deep group of promising young players poised to step in and make their mark.

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Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee has suggested that Glenn Dorsey will take over for Justin Smith on the right side on base downs and will be replaced by Tank Carradine on nickel downs. He also believes Quinton Dial will start on the left side and standout nose tackle Ian Williams will resume his starting role in the middle.

This is a very plausible theory as Dorsey is very versatile and can play both end and tackle. Dial has good size and seems to be a good fit on the left side on base downs, especially against the run.

So where do the rest of the guys fit in and do any of them have a legitimate shot to start?

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