The San Francisco 49ers promise to have an eventful quartet of preseason clashes; here are four reasons why you can’t miss any of the Niners’ preseason action.
“I can’t even watch the preseason.” “The games don’t mean anything.” “The starters barely play.”
You’ve heard it all from the supposed football fanatics who take about 0.3 seconds to thoroughly dismiss the entire preseason.
While it’s true that no one is going to confuse the preseason opener with a high-stakes division clash in Week 15 or an epic postseason tussle, the preseason produces its fair share of excitement, provided you look hard enough.
It’s the calm before the storm. The appetizer before the feast. Heck, it’s the chance to once again simply watch pro football!
1. Men are fighting to play professional football for a living
What’s one of the reasons the NFL is so popular in this country? In a word: drama. Drama on who said what or who’s going to start at quarterback in the lead-up to games, drama on the field in the form of two-minute drives with everything on the line, drama away from the gridiron through Twitter beefs and nightclub shenanigans.
While all those examples put eyes on the product, what’s more dramatic than watching players battle for roster spot? Many of these men are fighting for their livelihood, their dream, the chance to earn a financial payoff for all the hard work they’ve been putting in since Pop Warner.
Niner tie-in: It’s hard to know exactly how the 53-man roster will shake out, but players around the league can help their cause with a stout performance in the preseason, and the Niners are no exception. Take, for example, defensive back Tarvarus McFadden, who went undrafted due in part to a poor 40-yard dash time (4.67) and faces an uphill battle to crack the roster. A ballhawk who picked off eight passes during his sophomore season in 2016, the Florida State product isn’t without tantalizing upside, but McFadden’s NFL future could be on the line during San Francisco’s four preseason tilts. If he doles out a few punishing hits or notches two or three pass breakups, McFadden’s chances to make the Niners (or be signed by another team if he doesn’t stick with the red and gold) will grow by leaps and bounds.
Guys like seventh-round rookie receiver Richie James and embattled third-year guard Josh Garnett are in a similar position as players that could significantly help their stock with strong preseason play.
2. We get to see top free agents and draft picks get their first game action on their new squad
They won’t play for all four quarters, they won’t dive deep into the playbook, and how they performed in the preseason with their new squad will be all but forgotten once the regular season starts, but it’s still a striking image when you witness a big-name player competing in game action with their new team for the first time.
Niner tie-in: Training camp is one thing, but Richard Sherman as a 49er is going to become a very real concept whenever he takes the field rocking the red and gold (he’ll be held out of the preseason opener against Dallas due to hamstring tightness). Ditto for fellow enticing free agent signings Jerick McKinnon and Weston Richburg and top draft picks Mike McGlinchey, Dante Pettis and Fred Warner.
3. We can watch our favorite team without stressing out
We all love football, but let’s be honest: Watching your favorite team in a critical seesaw battle late in the regular season is a grueling, stressful endeavor. And the playoffs? You’ll be lucky if you haven’t lost your voice screaming at the TV by midway through the second quarter.
But the preseason provides a laid back, casual atmosphere for even for the most maniacal of hardcore fans because – as preseason naysayers are so quick to point out – winning and losing doesn’t mean much.
Instead, you’re finally getting a glimpse at your team’s newcomers and mainstays playing together for the first time. You’re impressed with what you’re seeing from that third-year receiver who may finally be primed for a breakout. You’re happy with the strong open-field tackling, but you’d like to see the pass rush put a bit more heat on the quarterback.
Niner tie-in: Embrace the casual atmosphere of San Francisco’s preseason opener against Dallas on Thursday because it won’t be long before you’re living and dying with every play during Week 1’s tough test in Minnesota.
San Francisco started 0-9 last season, so to say it’s important to get off to a good start this year would be an understatement. It won’t be easy, as the first half of the Niners’ schedule is at the Vikings, home against the Lions, at the Chiefs, at the Chargers, home against the Cardinals, at the Packers, home against the Rams and at the Cardinals. Scoring some tough early-season victories will be paramount if the Niners are to fulfill the fans’ prophesy of becoming a playoff team.
4. The preseason separates the real fans from the bandwagon fans
We’re not saying you’re a lousy fan if you don’t park yourself in front of the television for all 16 quarters of your favorite team’s preseason contests. The games air on random nights at seemingly sporadic times, and people have lives away from watching modern-day gladiators slam into each other in full-speed collisions.
But real fans have a knowledge about their team that extends beyond the starting quarterback, the top running back, one receiver and one defensive standout. They want to know their team inside and out, and they want to understand what is expected of each player and what they all went through to be here. And the preseason is your only chance to get a good, long look at the roster from top to bottom. It’s fun to pick out two or three roster hopefuls and root for them to make a big play, thus increasing their chance to crack the 53.
Injuries are bound to happen in the NFL, and depth charts are certain to fluctuate based on performance, and a real fan is invested in battles for starting gigs and roster spots.
Niner tie-in: Niner Faithful are a passionate bunch, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who claims to be a diehard San Francisco fan who doesn’t have a strong knowledge of the roster. 49ers fans will be watching the preseason with baited breath, hoping that their personal favorite roster longshot turns some heads and sticks with the team into the regular season.
49ers vs. Packers: San Francisco Week 6 Game Balls & Highlights
We hand out a pair of game balls to the San Francisco 49ers from the Niners’ heartbreaking last-second loss to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers under the lights on Monday Night Football.
On Tuesday’s Locked On 49ers Podcast, host Brian Peacock provided a rundown of the Niners’ game — including game notes and key takeaways — and handed out two game balls from the San Francisco 49ers’ near-upset of the Green Bay Packers in Week 6 of the 2018 NFL regular season.
After what will hopefully be the 49ers’ worst game of the 2018 season, San Francisco put up a fight during their Week 6 matchup at Lambeau Field, as the team held the lead over Green Bay from the second quarter until the two-minute warning. Unfortunately, the Niners allowed the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers to stay within a score in the closing minutes of the game. Two drives later, Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby finished the 49ers off as he booted his fourth field goal of the day through the uprights as time expired.
Although the 49ers weren’t able to pull off the upset, their players showed heart by rebounding after last week’s poor showing. Our weekly game balls go to two Niners who kept San Francisco in the game with their strong offensive performances:
49ers QB C.J. Beathard
After losing the game for his team in Week 5, 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard came to play against Green Bay on Monday Night Football, and outplayed Rodgers over much of the game. Beathard was nearly perfect in the first half of the contest, as the QB connected with wide receiver Marquise Goodwin on a pair of long touchdown passes.
Although he was in an obvious groove, Beathard wasn’t given the opportunity to continue at the same pace in the second half. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan made an obvious attempt to milk the clock, although San Francisco only held a one-score lead. Then, at the end of a passive second half, Beathard picked the wrong time to take a risky shot downfield, after he was given great field position and had minimal yardage to gain for a game-winning field goal try.
On a crucial third down, instead of going with a high-percentage throw, Beathard elected to air it out deep to Goodwin. Unfortunately, the duo’s first-half magic was gone, as the poorly thrown pass was intercepted by Green Bay. Given one final opportunity, Rodgers — with a bit of help from the officiating crew — led the Packers down the field to victory.
Even though the 49ers weren’t able to leave Lambeau Field with a win, Beathard played near peak levels until the final drives of the game. When a backup quarterback hangs tough against a future Hall-of-Fame QB, he deserves a weekly game ball:
49ers WR Marquise Goodwin.
As 49ers top wide receiver Marquise Goodwin returned to the field from injury on Monday, so did the explosiveness of San Francisco’s offense. A week after each of the Niners’ wideouts failed to average over 10 yards a reception, Goodwin averaged over 30 yards per catch against the Packers on Monday night.
A healthy Goodwin is the missing piece the 49ers’ offense has lacked in 2018, as his ability to stretch the field gives the Niners a true deep threat, while also opening up San Francisco’s intermediate passing game. Goodwin’s blazing speed combined with his improved route-running skills places cornerbacks into constant conflict; when corners try to keep pace with the wideout, he shows off his ability to score from anywhere on the field, but when defensive backs respect his deep game, Goodwin simply works his way open for easy receptions.
Goodwin finished the contest with 126 yards on four catches, including touchdown scores of 67 and 30 yards. If Goodwin remains healthy, expect more of the same from the San Francisco 49ers’ No. 1 wide receiver:
Listen to Locked On 49ers host Brian Peacock’s review of the San Francisco 49ers’ Week 6 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football — including game notes and key takeaways from the Niners’ last-second loss — on Tuesday’s Rapid React podcast:
Podcast: What’s Going On With Solomon Thomas?
Podcast for Thursday, October 18
- Guest Dylan DeSimone of Fourth and Nine
- Solomon Thomas has gone from top-3 pick to part-time player
- Mike McGlinchey has been a stud rookie for the 49ers
- Getting through the social media venting period as L’s mount
Podcast: Crossover Wednesday with Locked on Rams
Podcast for Wednesday, October 17
- Guest: Brad Mader of Locked on Rams
- Todd Gurley is a man-child
- Jared Goff’s development under head coach Sean McVay
- Key Matchups on Sunday
San Francisco 49ers1 week ago
Seven Edge Rushers That Could Be On 49ers Radar In 2019 Draft
San Francisco 49ers2 weeks ago
Three Niners who have exceeded expectations and three who must step up
San Francisco 49ers4 days ago
MNF Injury Report, Trade Rumors, PFF Numbers
San Francisco 49ers7 days ago
Podcast: Weekly Wink, Mailbag