A hot August night it definitely was not! The weather at Candlestick was 55 degrees and windy for the Niners preseason opener vs. the Minnesota Vikings. The players eventually had on their parkas, and Coach Harbaugh’s khakis were constantly fluttering in the wind. I didn’t think I would need hand warmers or a blanket. I was wrong.
It was nice to get back to the Stick. The preseason warmup had almost a college game feel to it with 90 players on the field. There were even more fans and press on the sidelines than players, eager to get a peek at the new line up, ready to finally see some football after the hiatus. The great thing about the first preseason game: hope is everywhere.
It was a nice showing for the Niners, with a lot of players getting a shot at showing a little of what they have, and/or what they need to work on.
Alex Smith was 3 for 3 with a touchdown pass to Brett Swain in a very run heavy game. The Niners moved the ball 260 yards on the ground and 152 in the air. The most surprising and exciting play of the game was Colin Kaepernick’s fake hand off/option that turned into a 78-yard run for a touchdown.
With Frank Gore on the sidelines, Brandon Jacobs showed us what a little size in the RB position might be able to do. It’s quite different trying to stop a 6-foot-4-inch, 280-pound running back (although he’s now listed at 264) than 5-foot-9-inch, 217-pound Gore. Not saying it’s easier or more difficult, just that it requires a different technique. Prepping for both will hopefully be a challenge for opponents. Anthony Dixon, Rock Cartwright and Kendall Hunter all contributed nicely as well.
Randy Moss was on the field for a bit, but quietly. Harbaugh’s glowing reviews have us all on the edge of our seats waiting for his first big play. Peter King said during an interview with Rich Eisen that Moss “absolutely has something left” at 35 and after 13 years in the league. King reported that Moss had put moves on Perrish Cox and beat Carlos Rodgers down the sidelines during practice. Here’s to seeing that speed put to good use.
David Akers is obviously not in jeopardy of losing his job after being the team’s highest scorer last season, but Giorgio Tavecchio looked strong as a solid back up.
The starting D stayed in for a while. Though they were able to put a lot of pressure on the Vikings QBs, several times where I thought there would be sacks, there were escapes. Not being able to finish off those plays will surely be dissected in the film room this week. With that in mind, Aldon Smith gave us all a serious scare, leaving early with what we later found out was a bruised hip. Harbaugh of course, has since then assured everyone that he should be ready for the beginning of the season. Phew.