The San Francisco 49ers lost the preseason opener against the Houston Texans by a score of 23-10. Here’s a look at who improved and dropped their stock in the first football game of 2015:
DL Mike Purcell: He had six tackles including one for loss. Purcell played a pivotal part in the goal line stand where the Texans had at least 10 snaps inside the red zone, but did not score. He disrupted the front and even made a play batting a ball down. Purcell was a practice squad member for the last two seasons, but spent time on the 53-man roster in the second half of 2014.
RB Jarryd Hayne: Hayne was trending in the USA and Australia through the night. He had a 53-yard run which setup a touchdown and showed he can contribute on special teams. There isn’t much room for him as a running back on the roster, but his punt return and kickoff return abilities were solid. Hayne showed he can be good in open space and isn’t just a gimmick as a former Rugby player.
S L.J. McCray: McCray made the team last year as an undrafted free agent being a cheaper option over C.J. Spillman. However, in this game he showed off his speed on punt and kickoff return coverage units. His speed is good enough to get down the field and a game like this could have secured a spot for him as a special teams contributor.
CB Kenneth Acker: Acker had a decent preseason in 2014, but was stashed on the injured reserve for the this year. He had one specific play in coverage where he used the sideline as his friend and prevented a big completion.
QB Blaine Gabbert: He won’t be the starting QB unless Colin Kaepernick gets injured, but he had a decent game and showed some promise after being a punchline prior to last year. Gabbert threw a few darts and even a touchdown pass to Garrett Celek.
Play calling without rushing: The 49ers were notorious for taking too long to call a play under Greg Roman and Jim Harbaugh. This team was able to call a play comfortably and get to the line without issues. It shows they practiced in training camp so that there wouldn’t be any risk of a delay-of-game penalty.
DL Tank Carradine: He was mostly invisible against the starting units and wasn’t effective at being a pass rusher. He had two tackles, but Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer had time to throw the ball.
DL Arik Armstead: The 49ers played their first-round draft pick in the second half. He was able to drop a few players in one-on-one, but was a liability when double teamed against the third string defense of Houston. It’s one game, but there was no domination against players who are most likely getting cut.
WR Quinton Patton: Yes, Patton played against the Texans. After being hyped up when drafted, the former fourth-round draft pick saw playing time in the fourth quarter but didn’t catch a pass. He was open, but it’s clear that this is an uphill battle he’s facing against other receivers.
LB Nick Moody: He was forced to start at inside linebacker with NaVorro Bowman and Michael Wilhoite not playing. Moody was terrible in coverage and not good enough to take on a wide receiver. He made some tackles, but there was no versatility to place him on defense. The 49ers drafted him to be on special teams and it appears he should stay there.