I’ve said before that I don’t take a lot from preseason. I take more heed in practice, if the player can execute the plays given against the defense that knows the offensive plays the best, as they see them every day in practice. I use the A.J Jenkins example, how was he going to execute the plays in the game if he couldn’t even do it in practice. However, I must admit, preseason is a good tool to gauge rookies and backup player’s development during game play, regardless of the fact that it is normally against the opposing team’s second or third team, or the first teams watered down playbook.
With that being said, I actually sat down and watched the first half of the San Francisco 49ers Week 3 Preseason game against Minnesota, and I must say I came back pretty impressed with a few players, and pretty unimpressed with a certain newly named backup Quarterback.
I’ll start with Colt McCoy first. I hope that Colin Kaepernick doesn’t get hurt, because McCoy is one of the more blahze (sic?) quarterbacks I’ve seen in a while. He can’t really throw the deep ball, he makes dumb decisions, and he can’t run as well as he used to. Maybe he has PTSD flashbacks of James Harrison when he is running around, no one knows for sure but him, but that is my theory. I know the issue of PTSD is kind of insensitive, but, after I got hit like this I’d have PTSD too. I’d never want to pick up a football again, and I’d definitely NEVER watch Hard Knocks on HBO featuring the Bengals and their new Outside Linebacker James Harrison. But, thankfully for me, I am not Colt McCoy. I’m just a dumb writer.
But, as we get back on track, McCoy sealed the backup QB job last night going 11-15 with 109 yards and an INT and a sack, with an average of 7 yards per pass, and a final quarterback rating of 65.7. If that doesn’t get the fans of the San Francisco 49ers riled up with hope if the savior of the franchise goes down, then I don’t know what will!
Will all the Colt McCoy bashing aside, I did come away impressed with a few of the receivers on this team vying for a job. The first receiver, who caught my eye… and 4 passes for a total of 35 yards and a Touchdown was rookie fourth round pick out of Louisiana Tech, Quinton Patton. Patton caught a 5 yard touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick in the first quarter, capping off an 11 play, 84 yard drive. Patton looked good as a route runner, and showed pretty good speed. The thing I came back most impressed with though were his hands. He was targeted six times, and grabbed 4 receptions, and one of those targets was a Colt McCoy interception, which he threw right to Minnesota Linebacker Chad Greenway. The Niners were very impressed with Patton when they drafted him, and it, although it was his first official NFL game, as he has been sidelined with a broken finger, it seems as if those impressions are warranted, as Patton looks like he could be an impressive NFL Wide Receiver. Patton did get flagged for taunting after celebrating after his touchdown, but I think the flag was for the terrible touchdown dance he did after his score. I gave it a 3 AT BEST. If you’re going to get flagged, at least make it for something worthwhile, not a crappy TD Dance like that.
The second receiver I came away impressed with was Free Agent signee from the Miami Dolphins, Marlon Moore. Moore demonstrates a game speed that no one else on this team has. He is a bona fide deep threat, and I could see him coming out of nowhere to have a pretty decent year for the 49ers, especially if Kyle Williams injuries remain nagging. He reminds me of another receiver who shares his namesake, Lance Moore. He’s roughly the same height, same weight, and plays the deep threat receiver that Lance Moore plays with New Orleans. If Marlon Moore can represent even half of what Lance Moore is to the Saints, then they found a player worth keeping.
Former Cal Bear LaVelle Hawkins moved himself closer to a roster spot with a 105 yard kick return for a touchdown, as well as 1 catch for 22 yards, on which he was penalized for “head butting” former Cal teammate Desmond Bishop. On that foul, Hawkins barely tapped Bishop on the head with his helmet, and was not being malicious, as he was giving his former teammate a love tap, and the referee didn’t get it. However, his other personal foul for taunting on his 105 yard kick return touchdown WAS warranted, as he high stepped into the end zone a la Dion Sanders (LOVED that by the way, they need to bring the high step back), but where he really went wrong was taking off his helmet on the field. Which the rules clearly state you cannot do. I don’t think that should have any effect on his roster spot. I do think he will make the roster as an extra receiver behind Boldin, Moore, Williams, Patton, and Baldwin (who also impressed with 2 receptions on 3 targets, for 23 yards.) and could be the lead kick returner, as the 49ers have not has success in finding a lead KR this training camp and preseason.
Niners fans let out a collective exhale after the performance we saw from some on the receiving core last night, indicating that we will be just fine once the regular season starts. We still know that the top two targets are going to be Davis and Boldin, and I think now fans are a little bit more comfortable with the extra offensive targets like Patton, Moore, Baldwin and Hawkins. We will see even more of them as the Niners wrap up the preseason next week against San Diego. Look for the four receivers mentioned to get the bulk of the playing time, as the 49ers will sit most of their starters for the whole game.