Observations from Game One

Wow, like there’s been none of these! I did notice a couple of things that interested me though. The diatribe from Santa Clara suggests Hill and Smith are runnin’ neck and neck and only this exhibition season will show the staff  who will emerge to stand behind Eric Heitmann when the real bell brings. All I needed to see last night was that 3rd down screen pass that Alex Smith threw so low and so behind  RB Glen Coffee to tell me who should be starting.  Smith still looks nervous to me the second he gets the ball. Shaun Hill looks anything but.

There were a number of mentions on the telecast on the Niner pass rush. The questions surrounded the historical lack of a pass rush, especially from the front 3, or 4, and this years plan to remedy this. The official word from the head coach…….”just wait and see.” Ah…………..OK, but if last night was ANY indication of the new and improved  “just wait and see” strategy, we likely to be waiting a whole lot longer than we’re seeing.  The D-Line continued to not make the opposing QB one bit nervous. None of Kyle Orton’s interceptions were the result of any defensive pressure.

I still do not understand the strategy for starting Isaac Sopoaga on the outside, other than they have no one else. Ray McDonald is injured, and if anyone watched last year’s number one pick Kentwan Balmer attempt to rush the passer last night, he certainly continues to signal that he’s not the answer.  A first round draft pick is a terrible thing to waste.

Jay Moore appears to be finally healthy after two very disappointing seasons of sitting and watching. He’s a big guy at around 6’4″, 245 lbs and certainly looks like he can be effective in the 3-4, including moving up to the DE position as situations dictate.  Some pundits thought Moore was a better NFL prospect than his Nebraska team mate Adam Carriker who was drafted in the first round of the 2007 draft by the Rams.  I think this is an absolutely make or break year for Manny Lawson and if he doesn’t show he can make a difference in the rush pass game, look for Moore to step in as a starter.

Lastly, I liked the signing of Dre’ Bly not only because he’s a savvy, expereinced player, but also because he brings some pazzzazz to to the secondary with his attitude. New starting free safety Dashon Goldson also brings a new ‘tude to the secondary as well, so I look for this group to be a more contributing force than we’ve seen in a while.  On to the Raiders and a warning to enter the parking lot at Candlestick at your own risk

MN

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