49ers Preseason: Things to Watch for Against the Texans


The preseason is finally here. The tumultuous off-season is coming to end. The 2015 San Francisco 49ers’ team bears little to no resemblance to the ones of yesteryear, and because of that, the preseason may just be worth watching this year.

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The defense has practically been replaced with new faces and the offense has been shuffled a bit as well. New names with old numbers will be taking the field for the 49ers, and they will have to prove that they can replace those that the 49ers lost this off-season.

The next four weeks will determine who stays and who goes. The offensive line is still not set in stone, and the 49ers will surely try many combinations to get an idea on who deserves the spot.

Besides players like Joe Staley and Alex Boone, the other three spots are up for grabs. Daniel Kilgore will most likely take back the starting center job when he returns from his injury, but for now the spot is open.

Things will get competitive as Joe Looney, Erik Pears, Brandon Thomas, Marcus Martin, and Trent Brown will all be competing for three spots.

Behind the line, the one player that has brought the 49ers the most press and probably will have the most eyes on him, is Jerryd Hayne. Hayne has given the 49ers a newly tapped market of Australian fans, as he was a huge star down under. However, it is still unsure if his play can translate to the NFL. It’ll be fun to watch if he can take the hits and do all things that NFL running backs are asked to do, despite the fact that he picked up the game only a few months ago.

It’s been awhile since the 49ers have had a true threatening passing attack. With the addition of Torrey Smith, the 49ers finally found the speed to match Colin Kaepernick‘s arm. Speaking of which, has Kapernick’s new throwing motion improved his skill as a passer?

Smith can open up a whole new dimension on offense. Rookies DeAndrew White and Dres Anderson have been getting talked up a lot in camp, but will the hype translate onto the field?

On defense, there’s a million questions to answer. The preseason games should finally give us the answers we need.

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49ers assembled a golden roster via NFL Draft despite misses
49ers assembled a golden roster via NFL Draft despite misses /

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  • With Aldon Smith‘s release still fresh in our minds, a lot of eyes will be on the OLBs. Who will step up to replace Smith’s role? We know Ahmad Brooks is a starter, but which of the young guys will be starting next to him? Will Aaron Lynch continue his hot streak? He may have to lose some weight first. Can Corey Lemonier movepast his sophomore slump and build on his promising rookie season? Will Eli Harold leapfrog over everyone and earn that starter spot? Only time will tell.

    On the inside, all eyes will be on NaVorro Bowman. The entire football world wants to know if he is back to form. Now it’s unclear if he will even play, but if he does, everyone will be holding their breath until he makes a hit and gets up fine.

    49ers’ fans will be looking at more than just Bowman however. They will be watching to see who is playing next to him. Michael Wilhoite has the upper hand on the starting spot next to Bowman, but he is battling an injury. This is Nick Moody‘s time to prove himself and steal that spot.

    One could write for days about each player on the defensive line as they are all pretty much question marks. So rather than do that, I will just write that the entire defensive line will be fun to watch.

    It’s time for players like Tank Carradine to prove themselves, and the world will see if Arik Armstead lived up to his first round pick status. Does Darnell Dockett still have enough in the tank? Dockett, Glenn Dorsey, and Ian Williams are all coming back from injuries, so we will see if they can return to their former selves.

    Finally, the cornerbacks will be under the microscope quite a lot. Besides Tramaine Brock, no one knows who will even see the field. It could be anyone. Dontae Johnson, Keith Reaser, Kenneth Acker, Shareece Wright, Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt, all of these guys are fighting for three or four spots.

    Not everyone will make the team, so they if they don’t make the field, they might not make the team. Out of all the position battles, this one may be the most intense.