The 49ers’ preseason ended after a loss to the Texans, which served as a compelling argument to shorten the show season even further.
San Francisco produced a sloppy, error-ridden effort, in which they were scored by 11 penalties accepted for 104 yards.
Trey Lance played three series, finishing seven for 11 for 49 yards, but rarely getting into the groove amid continually poor pass protection.
It was hard to get much out of Lance’s showing, but there were some good and bad things to take away from a game that left everyone who watched it clamoring for competitive regular season football.
OL 49ers Depth is a Big Problem
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Lance’s last preseason game could probably be described as uneven. He missed a few shots and his accuracy on passes where there should have been yardage chances after the catch was a little off, but he looked comfortable playing on the run when Kyle Shanahan drew plays to get him out of the pocket.
Shanahan was forced to dial in such plays because an offensive line without starting tackles Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey struggled to keep the pocket clean.
Lance was under almost constant pressure as left tackle Jaylon Moore and right tackle Colton McKivitz faced nightmarish games, while veteran defensive lineman Jerry Hughes thrived against both.
It was also a night of ups and downs for future Niners starters on the offensive line. Right guard Spencer Burford was called up for some penalties and left guard Aaron Banks was blamed for allowing penetration in the run game.
Both Burford and Banks feel most comfortable when they are playing alongside McGlinchey and Williams, respectively. However, the lack of compelling options available to San Francisco when one of their starters is missing is a substantial concern, particularly with McGlinchey’s status for Week 1 in the air due to irritation to his surgically repaired knee.
The Niners can’t afford to have Lance running for his life when games start to matter, and neither Moore nor McKivitz have inspired confidence that they’re ready to step into the gap if need be in the regular season.
Ross leads TE3’s final audition
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While Brock Purdy provided the most explosive plays at the San Francisco field, his fourth-quarter interception makes it hard to judge whether he’s definitely done enough to usurp Nate Sudfeld at second-tier quarterback.
One positional battle that can now be resolved is the fight for the third tight end role behind George Kittle and Charlie Woerner.
Ross Dwelley led the Niners with three receptions for 42 yards, most of which came on a 30-yard catch in the third quarter that saw him struggle for an impressive catch.
That play, combined with the flexibility he’s shown playing quarterback and his previous special-team experience for the Niners, should be enough for him to retain his spot on the roster ahead of free agent Tyler Kroft.
Samson shows his strength
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One of the few defensive starters to play in this competition for the 49ers, Samson Ebukam quickly proved to be too good for an exhibition.
The defensive end recorded a sack in San Francisco’s first defensive series of the game and later produced pressure that prompted Jordan Willis to fire Davis Mills.
Charles Omenihu also recorded a sack in another illustration of the depth San Francisco has on the defensive side of the trenches.
San Francisco will rely on its stacked rotation to unleash waves of pressure on opposing attacks in a formula that has been very successful in recent years.
But any talk of those further down the depth chart, like rookie Drake Jackson threatening to perhaps take over Ebukam’s starting role could be premature, with the former Los Angeles Ram looking like a solid bet to improve on his 4.5 sacks of 2021. evidence.
Story originally appeared on Niners Wire