Every year, the NFL with it’s media and fans go through the same cycle. When the preseason first starts, everyone seems to reiterate that they understand that preseason doesn’t matter and no one should take it too seriously. This mentality usually holds up for the first week, but as week two and three comes around, it gets thrown out the window.
There is no denying that the 49ers have struggled and it is a bit worrying. However, if you only listened to some analysts and experts, they’d probably tell you the team is in trouble and the fans should be panicking. Is this really the case?
Many people will point to the 49ers’ stats during this preseason. For instance, the 49ers are last in total offense with only 239.3 points per game and about the middle of the pack in defense with 332.3 yards per game. The 49ers have also been outscored 24-64 in three games this preseason.
Looks bad, right? Well it might actually mean something it wasn’t the preseason. The 49ers are used to preseason struggles.
2011 #49ers were outscored 41-10 in first halves of first three preseason games, then went 13-3. Can be tough to read preseason.
— Mike Sando, ESPN.com (@SandoESPN) August 24, 2014
The 49ers starters are not the ones who are getting outscored and not putting up stats. It’s the 49ers’ second and third string players who are responsible for it. After all, the preseason is meant for evaluation.
Let’s take a look at Colin Kaepernick’s, and thus the first string offense’s, snap counts for each game:
Kaepernick’s snaps: Seven.
Kaepernick’s Snaps: 16.
Kaepernick’s Snaps: 23.
Can someone really blame the 49ers’ stats this season on the first team offense when second and third string players are playing the majority of the game?
There is no doubt that the 49ers have had some trouble getting into a rhythm on offense. All anyone needs to do to see it is watch the games. But when Frank Gore is averaging one carry a game and Jewel Hampton is getting carries inside the red zone, it’s hard to look to far into it.
The 49ers aren’t the type of team to tip their hand in the preseason, and no one should expect them too this year either. There is definitely cause for concern, but not enough warrant panicking.
If the 49ers play this bad during the season with key starters like Anthony Davis, Antoine Bethea and hopefully Alex Boone back, then everyone should start to sweat. Until then, just enjoy the football that is on your screen while it’s still there.