Tonight, the San Francisco 49ers played their first game under new Head Coach Chip Kelly, who is looking to see what type of talent he has in San Francisco, and to also see who will potentially stay longer for an extended look. Win or lose, the 49ers have a good core of players to build with, plus it will take some time, but it will pay off after a few seasons.
Now, it was a one sided battle tonight for the quarterback position, as Colin Kaepernick did not participate in tonight’s game, as he was recovering from an injury, so that means that August 20th (Saturday) will be the game that really kicks off the competition, but Gabbert has an advantage over Kaepernick just by participating in tonight’s game.
In addition, Gabbert looked good during his touchdown drive. He took another step on becoming the team’s starting quarterback. Both quarterbacks split the season last year and it was clear that the team responded well with Gabbert under center. His numbers were better and they will continue to increase, as he is playing in a quarterback friendly system. Kaepernick runs more, which is key in Kelly’s offense, but Gabbert knows how to run as well. Gabbert makes smart and accurate passes. Now, Gabbert made nice throws and was connecting at a decent rate with his receiving weapons. It seems to show that the 49ers’ organization and legend Joe Montana have much trust in the former 10th overall pick to lead the Niners to victory. He has come a long way from a bust to an Alex Smith like player. Lastly, Gabbert finished the game with a quarterback rating of 95 and he picked up 63 yards by completing four throws, which one pass resulted in a touchdown. His other stats came by using his legs to pick up 18 rushing yards on three runs.
Next, Deforest Buckner was disrupting the Texans running plans with his pressure. He was making his presence know up the middle. His pass rushing skills are going to come around. He is looking like a solid pick so far, but now he needs to build off this game and look to improve next week. He recorded three tackles and was making runs into the backfield. It will be fun watching Buckner and Armstead playing alongside each other once again.
Furthermore, despite Hyde fumbling the ball, he looked healthy and fit. He will be an interesting piece in Kelly’s offense. His biggest run was between the guard and center, which went 22 yards and ending his run by trucking a defender over. He finished the game with 27 yards on 5 carries. His carries averaged 5.4 yards per attempt.
However, the main backup job is up for grabs between Shaun Draughn, Mike Davis, and DaJuan Harris. Draughn had a good game, but Davis stood out. He was drafted last year in the middle of the draft by the Niners, but missed his rookie year with an injury. He entered tonight’s game trying to win the backup job and it looks like he is winning it. He looked faster than ever and cutting quickly in open space. The young running back picked up 72 rushing yards on five carries for a solid 14.4 average per attempt with his longest run resulting in a 44-yard carry.
To conclude the list, Ray-Ray Armstrong is making a name for himself in San Francisco. He is a hybrid linebacker that covers well, but his tackling and run stuffing has improved tremendously. He is battling with Michael Wilhoite and Nick Bellore for the starting inside linebacker spot to play alongside NaVorro Bowman. Ray-Ray would complement Bowman with his speed and coverage ability. He finished week one with three tackles.