On Friday night, the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers 28-21 and fans finally got a glimpse of what Trey Lance will bring to the Bay as a first-time QB1 in the NFL. Backup quarterbacks Nate Sudfeld and rookie Brock Purdy also showed out and gave the 49ers coaching staff a good problem. San Francisco’s second-string secondary got off to a rocky start as Green Bay’s receivers were able to blow by them, which led to a touchdown. However, the defense was able to quickly bounce back as they recorded three interceptions in the first half alone.
Currently, the biggest concern for San Francisco is their offensive line depth. While Lance was in with the starters, minus Trent Williams, Green Bay’s second-stringers seemed to slip by on a few occasions. Though not ideal, it will help that Lance is quick on his feet and can escape by taking it for the first down himself, as he did on Friday night when the pocket collapsed. Then again, it is preseason and when Williams is in the lineup for week one against the Chicago Bears, this depth concern may be completely flushed out and put in the past.
Even so, the ceiling is high for the red and gold this year. Here are some of the stand-out players from the first preseason game.
In his final play, Trey Lance showed the crowd at Levi’s Stadium what they have been missing for years: a deep ball down the field. In the first quarter, Lance unleashed a 76-yard TD to the speedy rookie Danny Gray.
As it stands, Gray is around the WR4 mark on the depth chart. Now, imagine the deep-ball threat by Lance when Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk are in the lineup.
Drafted last in the 2022 draft, Brock Purdy raised some concerns because he stands as a 6’1 quarterback. Despite this, Purdy may have earned himself a real shot at the QB2 spot after throwing the game-winning touchdown and converting a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter. Purdy also proved himself to be a good game manager as he took the clock right down to zero in his second drive.
The 49ers rely heavily on the run game as part of Kyle Shanahan’s scheme, and to be successful, they need a lot of depth at the position. Davis-Price, drafted in the third round of 2022, had 10 carries for 36 yards and picked up crucial downs.
With continuous experience and reps, Davis-Price is going to be a problem and Shanahan knows how to get the most out of him, just as he has with previous late-round gems.
Though Danny Gray only had two receptions, the rookie wide receiver had a whopping 99 yards and a touchdown. At the combine, Gray had a 4.33 second 40-yard dash time, and his speed can definitely transfer to the field for in-game play.
With Lance’s arm, Gray is going to continue to be a deep ball threat just as he was in the first preseason game.
Linebacker Oren Burks seemed to be all over the field making plays on Friday night as he led both teams with six tackles and made a serious case for himself. Burks showed that he has more to contribute and is not just a special teamer.
The 49ers’ front seven is going to be one of the best in the NFL, but they are only as good as their depth… and their depth is good.
Unfortunately, Drake Jackon’s night was cut short as he exited with a shoulder stinger but he was still able to put his abilities on display in the limited minutes he had. Against the Packers, Jackson was not only quick on his feet but changed directions in the blink of an eye while chasing down the quarterback.
Like Burks, Jackson is going to provide great depth for the 49ers and Shanahan will surely feel better about giving Nick Bosa a rest at times.
Talanoa Hufanga’s work ethic has truly put him over the top so far this year. Hufanga has been the first player on the practice field every day and his commitment paid off when he got the nod for safety against the Packers.
In the first interception of three, Hufanga was the one who collided with the receiver, ultimately putting the ball up in the air and into his teammate’s hands. Later, Hufanga delivered a heavy welcome-to-the-NFL hit on a Green Bay rookie.
Samuel Womack III
Samuel Womack III might be the most raved-about player from the game. Womack III had two interceptions on the night, which included one where he practically stole the ball from a Green Bay receiver’s hands. Womack III even caught the attention of Tyreek Hill, a top wide receiver in the league.
If anything was learned after this first matchup, it’s that the 49ers’ defense is going to be something to be reckoned with, and no spot is going to be a given — it’ll be a dog fight.