5 Things To Watch In 49ers’ Final Preseason Game

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The Starting Offensive Line

The offensive line as a whole has been pretty mediocre, but Iupati takes the cake. Case in point, he was a -2.4 on on Pro Football Focus’ rating scale because he was bullied all game in San Diego. This includes two quarterback hits — one resulting in a strip-sack — and a -2-yard loss on a LaMichael James run.

With fellow guard Alex Boone still holding out and those those talks nowhere close to being done it falls to third-year player Joe Looney.

Looney is pretty inexperienced and has only appeared in four games through two seasons with the San Francico 49ers. The fourth-round pick out of Wake Forest is very good in the run game, but like a majority of the offensive line leaves something to be desired when it comes to pass protection.

At center the 49ers decided to let go of Jonathan Goodwin in favor of the younger Dan Kilgore, who now takes over as starter. There was a bit of a competition at the center spot until third-round pick Marcus Martin went down last week with an injury that will sideline him for about half the season. Fortunately for him it was a dislocated kneecap and not a season-ending ACL tear. Yea, I said fortunate.

Kilgore steps in as someone with plenty of experience in-game, though not as a starter. That doesn’t mean the coaching staff doesn’t believe in him though:

"“He’s a very athletic center; he has a good combination of strength and quickness; he has a quick mind,” Harbaugh said. “He has done a good job of making the calls and understanding the system. He’s on a streak of not missing a call for … I can’t remember the last time he missed a call. So it’s been good – been very pleased, knock on wood.”"

That’s certainly very good to hear, but of course we won’t know until the regular season starts. For know we’ll take the expert’s (Harbaugh’s) word for it.

Add in the fact that right tackle Anthony Davis has yet to take any preseason snaps and you have yourself a recipe for disaster.

Davis has been nursing a shoulder injury and while he’s been out Jonathan Martin has stepped in. Martin has not faired well though and had a pretty ugly -3.4 rating in his first game as a 49er. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt for now, but believe me when I saw pray with everything that you’ve got that Davis is healthy week 1.

Can they make it work? Let’s nope so, especially for Kaepernick’s sake. He’s already been under some heat this preseason and it hasn’t looked good. Also, the running game will need the offensive line to be at the top of their game in order for San Francisco to maintain their elite level of dominance in the run game.