Friday, August 12, 2011
Three things revisited: 49ers-Saints
By Mike Sando
Looking back on three things discussed here heading into the San Francisco 49ers' 24-3 defeat to the New Orleans Saints in their preseason opener Friday:
Colin Kaepernick's debut: The second-round pick took the vast majority of snaps in his 49ers debut. Call it a learning experience. Kaepernick completed 9 of 19 passes for 117 yards and no touchdowns. His passer rating was 27.6. Kaepernick tossed two interceptions, fumbled while taking a sack and could not handle a shotgun snap. He led the team in rushing with 47 yards. Coach Jim Harbaugh had shared plans to play all his quarterbacks, but he let Kaepernick play the final three quarters. That was long enough against a Saints defense that blitzed as though the outcome mattered.
Aldon Smith as a pass-rusher: The 49ers' first-round draft choice collected a sack in his first preseason game. That wasn't the only highlight. Smith played extensively with the backups and was quite active. He finished with five tackles and one forced fumble. He shed tackle Charles Brown and brought down the running back on one play. He contributed to pressure that forced quarterback Chase Daniel to scramble, albeit for a long gain. With Ahmad Brooks getting pressure from the other side and Smith consistently active, the 49ers' outside rush showed potential. This was a good start for Smith.
Tempo and overall efficiency. There weren't noticeable issues with logistics pertaining to calling the plays. There were no penalties for delay of game. Brad Seely's punt-coverage unit was flagged for having 12 men on the field, negating a block by Kenny Rowe. That would be inexcusable during the regular season, but with 90 players on the roster and a dozen practices in the rearview mirror, stuff happens. The 49ers were rough around the edges overall. They looked like a team with a new coaching staff coming out of a lockout.