Niners Live provided you with the Pre Game Match ups to watch and a Postgame Summary of the game against the Denver Broncos. Now we go even deeper, as only we can, by breaking down the performance of each member of the receiving and tight end corps against the Broncos. We will tell you who’s guaranteed playing time; which ones will be hard to keep off the squad; who may get the call to turn in their playbooks.
It was a catch 22 for both the receiving and tight end units after their performance against the Denver Broncos last Saturday night. The good and bad news was that the 1st unit was on the field much longer than anticipated; but not to fear, that gives us much more in the way of assessing their performances.
The routes looked sharp and crisp for the wide receivers and for the most part they did what they came to do. There were some instances where individuals stood out and while it was a solid performance overall, there were occasions where the secondary was more physical than the 49ers’ receivers. Pierre Garcon made a great catch in traffic over the middle and established himself as the possession receiver. Marquise Goodwin had three catches for 44 yards and showed the speed that makes him a big play threat. Unfortunately, he will be remembered for being stripped of the ball on a key drive in the first half by Denver’s Chris Lewis-Harris in this clip. We didn’t see much from Jeremy Kerley this week and Trent Taylor did not play at all. Aldrick Robinson, continued to display his understanding of Coach Kyle Shanahan’s scheme as he had another grab for over 30 yards for the second straight week, in this video. Kendrick Bourne did nothing to diminish his push for the 6th receiving spot, by making a nice catch for 17 yards. Louis Murphy, the veteran who was added to the 49ers roster just a few weeks ago (per 49ers.com), made his debut with one catch for 15 yards. It was telling that Murphy saw time with the first unit, but he is playing catchup.
The Man who made a Case without catching a ball
Despite not catching a pass, Victor Bolden, Jr., stole the show as far as the receiving corps were concerned, as he showed the blazing speed the secondary fears, in this video of his 104-yard kickoff return. Combined with his great practices, he is pushing for that 6th and final spot.
On The Hot Seat
DeAndre Smelter has the kind of body that quarterbacks and coaches crave, but he saw limited action against Kansas City and no action against Denver puts him on the hot seat. DeAndre Carter had another lackluster game, which saw a dropped pass and a slip while running a route. There was also no action from Tim Patrick and Aaron Burbridge continues to heal from his hamstring injury.
This week, multiple tight ends caught passes and showed bursts of speed. Unfortunately, tight ends are also required to block, and since the running game only managed 37 yards, there was a lot left on the table. Vance McDonald continues to see time with the first unit, as he had two catches for 14 yards. However, just as he did earlier in training camp, he dropped a perfectly thrown pass from Brian Hoyer, resulting in a three and out for the offense. Thus, he is doing enough to win the number 2 tight end position. George Kittle came into training camp as the number one tight end and he showed why, in this video of his 29-yard touchdown catch from C.J. Beathard. Logan Paulsen is seen as a blocking tight end, but again, with the disappointing running game against Denver, his performance was underwhelming, and that’s being kind.
He’s not really a Tight End, then again he is.
We got to see the debut of Kyle Juszczyk, and he is a threat, as advertised. Although listed as a fullback, Juszczyk, a.k.a “Juice”, lined up as a tight end on both of his plays. One play resulted in a 21-yard completion; the other he was wide open, only to see Brian Hoyer slip on the turf as he was about to pass.
I Hope Coach Doesn’t Call Me
Blake Bell, caught one pass for 10 yards, but continues to play with the 3rd unit and with Juszczyk seeing time as a pass catcher; it’s hard to imagine the 49ers keeping more than three tight ends on the roster. Garrett Celek saw no targets in limited action this week. And his continued employment with the 49ers is in question. Cole Hikutini has had his moments in camp, but not consistently, and saw no action against the Broncos.
Expectation for Next Week against Minnesota
The Vikings secondary is young, talented and hungry. Terence Newman is a name you may recognize from his days with the Dallas Cowboys, but he is on the 2nd unit, listed as the slot corner. The two corners: Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes are extremely physical and will give the 49ers receivers all they can handle. The box safety Jayron Kearse, listed at 6’4”, is an extremely physical presence and free safety Anthony Harris made 30 solo tackles last season. Time is growing short before week one and now is the time to play as if their football lives depend on this game because, well, it kind of does.
49er updates, interviews and news:
On a Niners Live side note:
Team captains for last nights game were (all former #Broncos): LB Elvis Dumervil, G Zane Beadles, LD Dekoda Watson, RB Kapri Bibbs (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle).
Please join us again soon on Niners Live, the home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, of course.
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author and new Staff Writer @NinersLive.net, David Edmondson. Content Creator, Editor, Sequoia Sims