The 49ers travel today to face the Houston Texans for their first NFL preseason game on Saturday night. The 49ers have faced the Texans three times in the preseason with the 49ers winning last year, 40-13, and are 2-1 all-time in preseason against the Texans.
The 49ers are looking to improve upon a disappointing 8-8, 2014 record with new free-agent additions of veteran running back Reggie Bush and former Baltimore Ravens’ wide receiver, Torrey Smith. Simply put, the 49ers need to put the pieces back together.
Shoring up their offensive line to protect Colin Kaepernick is a major priority and after the defections on defense, Eric Mangini, the new defensive coordinator will have his hands full revamping the defensive schemes with a different level of talent. Arik Armstead, the 6’7” 292 lb first-round draft pick from Oregon is anticipated to fill one of those roles eventually, but, at 20 years old may have some work to do.
In January, Jim Tomsula, having spent eight seasons as the 49ers defensive coordinator, was named the 49ers’ 19th head coach. He comes in with a 1-0 record after wining a game as the interim head coach, beating the Arizona Cardinals 38-7 at the end of the 2010 season prior to Jim Harbaugh being hired to replace Mike Singletary. Tomsula has 31 seasons of football under his belt including stints with NFL Europe as defensive coordinator of the Berlin Thunder and, at age 38, head coach of the Rhein Fire in 2006.
“The thing I like about Jim is that he is going to be who he is and not try to someone he’s not and the guys appreciate his honesty and sincerity. He cares about the players and coaches and that resonates,” new defensive coordinator Eric Mangini said.
Geep Chryst is handling the offensive coordinator duties while Steve Logan was brought on board to take over handling the quarterbacks, a position formerly held by Chryst. “I want to thank Jimmy T for having a nice camp schedule both on and off the field,” Chryst said.
“We were on the field for an hour and 22 minutes and we got off 94 plays. I think that’s really good.”
It is probable that Reggie Bush will be running back kickoffs and or punt during the regular season but don’t look for him to be out there in the preseason Saturday night. “Reggie’s not going to have shoulder pads on this week. Jarryd Hayne, 6’
2”, 220 lb, 27-year old rookie and DeAndrew White (R-Alabama) will be catching some kind of a punt,” Jim Tomsula said. “We’ve got a proven entity there. Let’s see, let’s see where these other guys are. If you’ve got a 22-year-old guy or 23-year-old guy that can catch a punt and get going and make something happen.”
Colin Kaepernick will get some work along with backup Blaine Gabbert in the first game Saturday night in Houston. Jim Tomsula is taking full responsibility for everything that happens.
“Well, everything will go across my desk. I don’t want to be a meddler, but be an enabler, but also have my understanding on where we’re going from a whole team perspective.”
The 49ers will have to make the NFL’s cut-down number of 75 by September 1st, 53 by September 5th along with finalizing a practice squad of ten players by September 6th.