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It’s Time For The 49ers To Worry About This Third-Round Pick

The San Francisco 49ers enter their final preseason game undefeated, but it hasn’t all been pretty, especially for their second-year running back, who still has yet to prove his worth in the league.

After the two teams faced each other in joint practices during the week, the 49ers elected to sit out 27 players for their second preseason victory against the Vikings. Starting quarterback Trey Lance was one of those inactive players on Saturday.

San Francisco’s defense was stifling once again only allowing 195-total yards and adding two interceptions. Drake Jackson, Deommodore Lenoir, and Javon Kinlaw were among the players who shined for the defense on Saturday. The offense was good too but has more question marks based on the first two preseason matches.

Backup quarterbacks Nate Sudfeld and Brock Purdy were the tandem under center against Minnesota. Sudfeld started and then Shanahan constantly went back and forth between both the QBs throughout the game. The two of them were decent. It was other areas of the offense that looked rocky.

Will Trey Sermon Be RB2 For The 49ers Behind Mitchell?

Aside from second-year-running back Elijah Mitchell being the clear starter, the rest of the depth chart at running back seems up in the air. Trey Sermon received the starting nod for the second week in a row and continued to leave some fans questioning if he will be the second half-back behind Mitchell.

The third-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft followed his first preseason performance of six carries for 11 yards against Green Bay with another underwhelming stat line of five carries for eight yards and one dropped pass on fourth down against the Vikings. Sermon is averaging a total of only 1.7 yards-per-carry so far in the preseason and hasn’t shown great burst or decisiveness out of the backfield.

The offensive line also struggled at times and Sermon isn’t running behind his starting tackles, but rookie running backs Jordan Mason and Tyrion Davis-Price showed flashes during the game. Davis-Price led the team with 10 carries and ran for 41-yards while rookie UDFA Jordan Mason totaled nine carries and led the team with 57-rushing-yards on 6.3 yards per carry.

The rookies, Mason and TDP, have looked more explosive than Sermon at times which poses the question, where will Sermon be placed on the depth chart? For a second-year-back in the system who the 49ers traded up to select in the draft, surely most wouldn’t have anticipated he’d be behind another rookie on the depth chart, especially as the third running back.

It’s also worth noting that veteran RB Jeff Wilson Jr. has yet to suit up for preseason action. Are the Niners nursing an injury? Do they see Wilson Jr. as the second RB on the depth chart and would rather give reps to the youngsters? Or simply something else? We possibly won’t know until the final cuts.

49ers’ Lack Of Discipline Shows In The Preseason So Far

One way to hand a game away to the opponent is by committing too many penalties which the 49ers got into the habit of doing against Minnesota.

The Niners committed ten penalties which sacrificed 65-yards during their second preseason game which included four false start penalties in the first half alone. In a game where they dominated the box score and time of possession, it’s still important to make sure the players don’t develop bad habits.

A recent and prime example of lack of discipline derailing a season would be none other than the 2021 Dallas Cowboys. When the 49ers and Cowboys reignited their rivalry by facing off in the NFC Wild Card game last season, San Francisco defeated the Cowboys 23-17 in Dallas. In a one-possession game that resulted in the ending of Dallas’ season, the Cowboys tied an NFL-record 14 penalties in a single playoff game which cost them 89-yards in the contest.

The 49ers also lost to the last place NFC West team, the Seattle Seahawks on the road in week 13 of last season in a game in which they also committed 10 penalties that cost them 86-yards. With a fairly difficult schedule on paper for 2022, these types of games are not something the Niners can afford to repeat.

With a roster as talented as the Niners have this year, you’d hate it as a fan to see careless errors put the team at risk of losing games this season. While it was only one game mostly full of backups, it’s still a bad habit that needs to be dealt with before the regular season begins in a few weeks.

One More Exhibition Before The 49ers Kick Off Regular Season

Now in week three of the preseason, we are one step closer to finding out the answers regarding this roster. The 49ers have also signed 32-year-old veteran safety Tashaun Gipson to a one-year deal amidst Jimmie Ward’s hamstring injury. It’s unclear if he’ll make the team, but he’ll have a shot nonetheless.

San Francisco’s final preseason game will be against the Houston Texans on August 25 at 5:15 pm Pacific Time. After that, final cuts will be made to finalize the 53-man roster on Tuesday, August 30.



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