Packers 21, 49ers 10

After sitting out the offseason, and Training Camp, and the preseason, and the National Anthem, Colin Kaepernick finally returned to action Friday night and made a strong case for sitting out the regular season, too.

And that’s your 49er highlight for the evening. Stay tuned for handwringing disguised as an upbeat attitude.

The 49ers’ only TD came early in the game on Blaine Gabbert‘s second drive, a 5 play 53 yard effort. After that, the Green Bay offense stayed on the field for two-thirds of the game, running 76 plays to the Niners’ 47.

Adding injury to insult, four Niner players had to leave the game. Carlos Hyde with a concussion, Quinton Dial with a knee, Bruce Ellinton with a hamstring, and Eric Reid with a something. If Dial has a serious owie, it means the entire starting D-line from last year will be on the sideline to begin the season.

Good thing we have some gifted young players to replace these guys. Except one of them, Arik Armstead, injured his shoulder before the first preseason game and he hasn’t played since.

On the plus side, insomniacs in the crowd were probably snoring peacefully by mid-way through the third quarter, thereby missing the excitement of another Packers’ TD and a field goal by Phil Dawson.

All in all, a bit of a fizzle for Chip Kelly‘s offense, Jim O’Neil‘s defense, and any flickering hope that the team will climb out of the NFC West cellar this year.

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Posted in Post Game Spread

Return of the Prodigal Son

One more preseason game before we can forget about preseason games even though there will be one more preseason game to endure.

Friday’s game against the Packers is mainly meaningful because it will mark the first time since the middle of last season that Colin Kaepernick will play in a football game. Does the man from unsnowy Turlock still have any gas in the tank? Will it be enough to unseat Blaine Gabbert, who’s been the presumptive starter for the entire offseason of minicamps and training camp? Not to mention being good enough to impress the 49er WRs who practically held a block party when Kaepernick was finally benched last year.

Pretty long odds, one might say. Especially considering he’ll only play a quarter of the game or so.

Still, there are many fans who believe the steady downward spiral Kaepernick has been on the past three years is all a product of poor coaching and poor offensive line play. He’ll be his old self under Chip Kelly and the rebuilt O-line. Or at least a lot better than Gabbert will be.

The 49er FO group doesn’t want Colin here, however, and probably hopes he plays well enough to resurrect some trade value but not well enough for Kelly to name him the starter.

Marcus Rush and Tank Carradine have generated a buzz with their pass rushing efforts in the first two preseason games. Still, neither of these guys has played against the other team’s first string O-line, or even the second string line. Best to tamper down the excitement a bit until the games begin for real. The best contribution these two guys have made is to finally push Corey Lemonier off the roster. Another third round Trent Baalke draft bust who’s overstayed his welcome.

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Posted in Exhibition Season

49ers 31, Broncos 24

The San Francisco 49ers outscored the Denver Broncos 31-24 Saturday night, producing their second straight game with 400+ yards of offense. The three 49er QBs rebounded from a less than stellar effort in the first preseason game and finished the night completing 19 out of 24 passes with one TD, a 30 yard bomb by Christian Ponder to Dres Anderson.

On the negative side, the team fumbled five times, losing three, one at the goal line for the second straight week with the same culprit — DuJuan Harris. On defense, the Niners had five sacks, three by Marcus Rush, and two interceptions, one a pick six by Eric Reid.

The Broncos held a nine minute time-of-possession edge, a stat we’ll probably see repeated quite frequently during the course of the regular season. It doesn’t matter much during preseason, since there are 90 players available for action and fatigue is not a factor. But the regular season could be a different kettle of amphibian aspiring creatures.

During warm ups before the game, Colin Kaepernick‘s dead/tired/fatigued throwing arm suddenly sprang back to life and featured him throwing 50 and 60 yard passes without discomfort. Perhaps he was “passing” a message to the Broncos that he was good to go if they still wanted him. We’ll see if his arm rebounds back to deadness again this coming week.

If the arm holds up, however, then there is one preseason game remaining for Kaepernick to get himself into the mix for the starting QB job. At this point, it looks highly doubtful. But at least the team will have three 2011 draft bust QBs to cycle through during the course of the regular season. Lending a biting tingle of “who cares” to a season that probably won’t have much else to offer.

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Texans 24, 49ers 13

The San Francisco 49ers trampled the Houston Texans in the first half of Sunday night’s exhibition game in Santa Clara, but two costly fumbles — one on the Houston two yard line that prevented a score and one Houston returned for a TD — kept the score close and the Texans in the game. In the second half, the Houston scrubeenies whipped the 49er scrubs 17-0, erasing the Niners 13-7 halftime lead and giving the Texans a 24-13 victory.

After an opening three and out, the 49ers moved the ball at will during the first half. Most of the yardage came from the running game. The passing game looked reasonable on the stat sheet, but wasn’t very impressive through the eyeball lens.

Blaine Gabbert threw a 43 yard TD to TE Vance McDonald, who was covered tightly by a guy lying on the ground, but other than that, Gabbert’s three offensive series were very pedestrian. Thad Lewis and Jeff Driskel played the rest of the game and had their best success handing the ball to a running back.

The 49er defense played very well in the first half, though highly regarded first round pick Deforest Buckner didn’t stand out at all. He was good in backside pursuit, but poor at plays in front of him. The rest of the defense made Houston mega-dollar QB Brock Osweiler look like just another Brock Osweiler.

The game was a virtual sell out, but less than half of the stadium seats were occupied by a real butt. The York legacy at work.

Sixth string RB Kendall Gaskins had an interesting night. He had two runs for three yards, caught two passes for seven yards, and made two tackles while playing defensive back. The Gaskins Fan Club will be open for business this morning.

All in all, it’s great to have football back on our plates. Jim Harbaugh lost his first exhibition game, but Jim Tomsula did, too. We’ll have to wait another week to make premature estimations of which fellow Chip Kelly will most resemble. The winner or the loser.

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Let the Games Begin

Less than a week until we get our first look at the 2016 49ers. Hopefully, it won’t dissuade us from continuing to watch them as the season unfolds.

There hasn’t been any viewing competition in the Bay Area for the Niners in recent times, but that could change this year. The Raiders are getting a lot of positive press lately, like they might actually win eight or more games this season. They came close in 2015, finishing with a 7-9 record.

We’ll be keeping our eyes on the QB and WR battles during the preseason games, but the two bookend DEs — Deforest Buckner and Arik Armstead — might have more to do with the team’s success or failure this year than anyone else. It’ll be fun to watch them and see if the raves they’re getting in Training Camp carry over into battle against other teams.

The ILB spot next to Navorro Bowman remains a competition among hamburgers. Nothing was done in the offseason to address this hole in the defense, so it will remain a weak link the entire 2016 season. The OLB contestants aren’t generating any buzz, so there won’t be any consistent outside pressure on the QB this year, either.

Between now and the start of the regular season, the only news of any consequence will be the bad news. The injuries. A few teams have already been hit hard, losing key players and jeopardizing the hopes those teams had for the coming year. Last year, the 49ers entered the season with a clean bill of health. It didn’t matter, though, because the team stunk and all that happened when the inevitable injuries did come was that they got a little more stunkier.

Still, it will be good to finally see the team on the field again this Sunday. We’ll have a chance to critique them ourselves, without having to rely on the coaches and players to polish their own apples. Time to sharpen the spears, replenish the rock pile, and get ready for another fun year of blognosticating.

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Posted in Training Camp
2016 Schedule
Monday, Sept. 12 vs Los Angeles
Sunday, Sept. 18 @ Carolina
Sunday, Sept. 25 @ Seattle
Sunday, Oct. 2 vs Dallas
Thursday, Oct. 6 vs Arizona
Sunday, Oct. 16 @ Buffalo
Sunday, Oct. 23 vs Tampa Bay
Sunday, Oct. 30 BYE
Sunday, Nov. 6 vs New Orleans
Sunday, Nov. 13 @ Arizona
Sunday, Nov. 20 vs New England
Sunday, Nov. 27 @ Miami
Sunday, Dec. 4 @ Chicago
Sunday, Dec. 11 vs New York Jets
Sunday, Dec. 18 @ Atlanta
Saturday, Dec. 24 @ Los Angeles
Sunday, Jan. 1 vs Seattle
2016 Draft Class
1. Deforest Buckner, DL
1. Joshua Garnett, OG
3. Will Redmond, CB
4. Rashard Robinson, CB
5. Ronald Blair, DE
5. John Theus, OT
5. Fahn Cooper, OT
6. Jeff Driskell, QB
6. Kelvin Taylor, RB
6. Aaron Burbridge, WR
7. Prince Charles Iworah, CB
2015 Prognostications
NJ49er: 7-9
Bakkentom: 3-13
Grumpy: 5-11
Winder: 10-6
Bythorn: 5-10-1
Phil Fan: 6-10
Spitblood: 2-14
RTFirefly: 5-11
Bullit: 6-9-1
Skeebers: 6-10
Rob: 9-7
Chuck: 11-5