Preseason is finally here for the rest of the NFL!
When the Dallas Cowboys come to San Francisco, it will be a matchup of two teams that missed the playoffs in 2017. Both teams have a lot to prove in 2018 if they’re going to live up to the expectations that come with being Wild Card contenders.
When and Where
7pm PST at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA
Watch on NFL Network
Guys who will likely not play: cornerbacks Richard Sherman (hamstring) and K’Waun Williams (ankle), guards Joshua Garnett (knee) and J.P. Flynn (knee), defensive end Arik Armstead (hamstring), linebacker Brock Coyle (hip) and tight end Cole Wick (knee).
When the 49ers have the ball
The starters will only play for about a series and then come the chances for second and third stringers to make impressions.
Joe Williams needs to set the tone in his first game if he is going to make the team. If he can have a couple of impressive runs, it will go a long way in securing Coach Kyle Shanahan’s confidence.
Wide receiver is another position that is deep. Look for rookie Austin Pettis, 2017 undrafted rookies Kendrick Bourne and Victor Bolden, as well as Aldrick Robinson and Richie James to get lots of chances. Steven Dunbar and Max McCaffrey will also get opportunities in the fourth quarter.
The offensive line will need to play well in order to give everyone a chance at impressing their coaches. Hopefully, a right guard will begin to emerge.
When the Cowboys have the ball
Like the offense, many defensive starters will not play long. It is conceivable that Reuben Foster could get extra reps in preseason due to his two-game suspension to start the regular season. Don’t expect DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas, Malcolm Smith, Ahkello Witherspoon and Jaquiski Tartt to play long.
With Sherman and Williams out at corner, it opens things up for Jimmie Ward to do what Joe Williams is trying to do. He can play corner and safety so it’s possible he could play for whole first half.
It will also be interesting to see the secondary competition between Tarvarius Moore, Tarvarus McFadden, D.J. Reed, Adrian Colbert, Tyvis Powell, Greg Mabin, Antone Exum, and Chanceller James.
At linebacker, watch for Fred Warner. He could get a major role this season, due to his exceptional cover skills. Other linebackers of note that will get playing time are Elijah Lee, Korey Toomer, Dekoda Watson, Pita Taumoepenu, and Mark Nzeocha.
Eli Harold has a lot to prove and could get a lot of playing time in the first half.
As always in preseason, it does not matter who wins the game. If the 49ers can look good on several drives on both sides of the ball, it will bode will for their depth during the regular season. Hopefully, they will find some diamonds in the rough like they did last year.