San Francisco 49ers: Biggest Preseason Disappointments so Far
The San Francisco 49ers have played two exhibition games. We have seen the defense play very well, not allowing a touchdown in eight quarters.
The offense has been inconsistent, and many players in the starting unit have only played one series in each of these first two games. The reserves have not fared well, and this underscores the need for the 49ers to stay as healthy as possible.
Two key injuries have got to be the biggest disappointments the 49ers have faced. Losing Michael Crabtree is a huge blow. With Crabtree and also Mario Manningham out for several weeks, the 49ers need another receiver to step up and fill the void. This has not happened, as yet.
Defensive back Chris Culliver was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Although Culliver played a large role last year, the 49ers do have some depth at his position to cover for his loss.
Outside of these two injuries, let's take a more detailed look at five other disappointments in the 49ers' training camp.
*All stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.
5. A.J. Jenkins
A.J. Jenkins was the 49ers' first-round selection in the 2012 draft. In a move that confirms his mistake, GM Trent Baalke traded Jenkins to the Kansas City Chiefs for mercurial wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin.
Baldwin was a first-round pick in the 2011 draft and has had personality issues in Kansas City. However, Baldwin looks like a player, something that was very questionable about Jenkins.
In two seasons with the Chiefs, Baldwin has 41 receptions for 579 yards and two touchdowns. Baldwin got off on the wrong foot in Kansas City, as he got into a fight with a teammate, was hurt and missed several games.
Baldwin also had problems with too many dropped balls, but his size and speed make him a viable option for the 49ers. At 6'4", 230 pounds, Baldwin has the size to get off the line and the physicality to make tough catches in traffic.
Jenkins, on the other hand, has excellent speed, but lacked strength to consistently avoid tight, press coverage. I have also questioned Jenkins' preparation and work ethic, which slowed his development.
Jenkins was a major disappointment and a waste of a first-round draft pick. We shall see if he ever develops into a competent football player.
4. Glenn Dorsey
Glenn Dorsey was the fifth player selected in the 2008 NFL draft. He never lived up to expectations in Kansas City.
As a free agent, Dorsey signed a two-year contract with the 49ers. Dorsey is hoping to fulfill the promise that made him such a high draft choice just five years ago.
Dorsey was focused on landing the starting nose tackle job. However, he has been beaten out by Ian Williams, who appeared in only four games over his two-year career.
Dorsey is now a veteran, entering his sixth NFL campaign. It is alarming that he is unable to beat out Williams, who had done virtually nothing in two seasons with the 49ers.
3. Tank Carradine
Cornellius "Tank" Carradine was a top collegiate defensive end at Florida State. The 49ers made him a second-round draft pick, 40th overall.
Carradine slipped to the second round, due to a torn ACL he suffered in November. The 49ers held out hope that Carradine would be able to play and contribute at the beginning of the season. Unfortunately, that objective is fading, and it appears that Carradine will not open the season on the 53-man roster.
GM Trent Baalke selected three players who may open the season on the injured list. In addition to Carradine, running back Marcus Lattimore and defensive lineman Quinton Dial will also not open the season on the 53-man roster.
Carradine was the one player of the three that the 49ers realistically hoped could make an impact early on in the 2013 season. That is extremely unlikely now.
Carradine could still turn out to be an excellent player for the 49ers, but it is disappointing that he is unable to play.
2. Colt McCoy
The San Francisco 49ers acquired Colt McCoy in a trade with the Cleveland Browns. It was expected that McCoy would open the season as the 49ers' top backup, behind Colin Kaepernick. Although this could still occur, it is far from certain.
McCoy has not played well in either exhibition game, completing six of 13 passes for 76 yards and two interceptions. His 25.3 rating is the lowest among the four San Francisco quarterbacks.
The role of backup behind Kaepernick was McCoy's job to lose, and he may be doing just that.
*Stats courtesy of NFL.com.
1. Coverage Units on Special Teams
In 2012, the 49ers' coverage units on special teams were extremely vulnerable. They were often very shaky in coverage and dangerously close to giving up a big return.
This concern became a reality when Jacoby Jones burst through the 49ers' kickoff coverage team on his way to a 108-yard return for a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
Although officials missed a blatant holding call on Bruce Miller which paved the way for the return, there was no other 49er defender who had any chance of bringing Jones down.
The 49ers brought in several players known for their prowess on special teams. These included Craig Dahl, Dan Skuta, Kassim Osgood, Marlon Moore and rookie Nick Moody.
It was hoped that the addition of these players, combined with holdovers C.J. Spillman, Anthony Dixon and Miller would bolster the 49ers' coverage units.
Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work left for special teams coach Brad Seely to improve this area.
In the 49ers' most recent exhibition game against the Chiefs, they were burned for two long returns. Quintin Demps had a 104-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and Devon Wylie returned a punt 52 yards.
Correcting breakdowns in kickoff and punt coverage is an area that the 49ers knew they had to shore up. Obviously, that hasn't happened yet.