San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints: NFL Preseason Game Recap

Drew KerrContributor IIIAugust 15, 2011

NEW ORLEANS, LA - AUGUST 12:  Pierre Thomas #23 of the New Orleans Saints runs against San Francisco 49er defedners during a preseason game at Louisiana Superdome on August 12, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams of the New Orleans Saints knew that the 49ers had only 12 days with their new playbook, and it certainly showed, as he sent the house on nearly every single play.

The 49ers were sacked six times, three times for each quarterback. Both quarterbacks, Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick, were lit up like New York City's annual Christmas tree lighting, to say the least.

The only points scored by the 49ers came by the leg of David Akers on a super long 59-yard field goal right down the middle.

With that, I will give you The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of last night's game (if you could call it that).


The Good

Well, there were not too many bright spots. Let's face it, the 49ers were plainly at a disadvantage for the duration of the game.

However, this was just the first preseason game of the year. And the 49ers are installing new systems across the board. It will take some time.

Colin Kaepernick played nearly the entire game and, considering the circumstances, he managed to show that he belongs in the league. He definitely has his work cut out for him, and it may be safe to say, at this point, that he will not be ready by Week 1 should anything happen to Alex Smith.

Similar to Kaepernick, Aldon Smith (the 49ers' first-round draft pick) showcased that he was capable of playing the entire game. Not only was he capable, but he steadily put pressure on the opposing quarterback for the time he was in there.

Chris Culliver may not have been the most flashiest on the field in yesterday's action, but he was in on a plethora of plays. He seemed to have good instinct and a good nose to get to the ball as soon as possible.

Coach Jim Harbaugh was a rookie in his first pro game ever, and it completely showed, with limited time to properly prepare.

Next week, the 49ers will face the Oakland Raiders, who also have a new head coach, but do have a lot of the same offensive and defensive schemes as the previous year. This matchup should not be a walk in the park, but the fans could see a much more manageable game.

The best news is that it probably cannot get worse than it was. Hopefully.

Players that had decent games were Kyle Williams, Lance Long, Frank Gore, Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith, Larry Grant, Chris Culliver, Donte Whitner, Phillip Adams, Kendall Hunter, Patrick Willis, Demarcus Dobbs and Kenny Rowe.


The Bad

Well, pretty much everything was bad. There was barely enough to say that there were even a handful of good plays.

Coach Harbaugh was very conservative in his game plan and did not do much in the way of "showing his hand," as color man Tim Ryan alluded to several times throughout the game—meaning not showing what his offense or defense is fully capable of.

The only problem with that is that if you are practicing your A-game outside of practices and in real-time game situations when the games don't count, then you are setting yourself up for failure.

It has been said and assumed that this offense will run several different motions to get the opposing defense to show their hand. Even if they would have tried to more often in this game, the Saints were holding all the aces.

It may be safe to say that the entire game was encompassed under the category of bad.

Players that did not play well (or, not to standard): Jonathon Goodwin, Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Moran Norris, Parys Haralson, Ricky Jean-Francois, Joe Staley, Aaron Boone, Ronald Johnson, Madieu Williams and Ian Williams. 


The Ugly

Ricky Jean-Francois and Boobie Dixon: two of the ugliest players in the NFL.

OK, jokes aside, there were a ton of things that were just flat out repulsive about this game.

The sore-thumb of the entire night was the atrocious play of the offensive line. I could literally write a book about just how bad they played. Because, well, it was just that bad. Ugly in fact.

From the very first snap on offense, as mentioned before, Greg Williams was sending the house.

Center Adam Snyder showed that he truly does not belong anywhere near center. And I hope for the fans' sake that he never takes another snap at that position. Ever.

In losing roughly 15 pounds in the offseason, Snyder seemed very weak and at times was literally pushed back into the quarterback like a little girl. Harsh, but true.

There was not a single snap as to where Snyder looked like he knew what he was doing. If he was making the audible calls on the line, they simply were not the correct calls—evidence of the quarterbacks having a true nightmare last night.

More times than not, last year's first-round pick, Anthony Davis, looked lost when it came time to pass the ball. He was his usual self in the run game, as he steam-rolled ahead and flattened a few guys. But the point of him not being able to move quick enough laterally to save his own life was pretty telling in that he needs a lot of time to develop over there.

Once Goodwin came in it got a bit better, but not in any kind of significant way. Beeler relieved him later and missiled a few shotgun snaps at Kaepernick's feet and over his head. Kaepernick did well in managing to field those snaps and avoid any sort of turnover.

Overall, I believe that the coaching staff has a long way to go. Specifically, with the entire offensive line.

Players that played very ugly: the offensive line (too many players to list), Taylor Mays, C.J. Spillman, Tremaine Brock, Curtis Taylor and Sealver Siliga.  



As evidenced by the final score, the 49ers are a long way from being complete. The team was sent packing back to the Bay Area with their tails between their legs. 

Although the game should be taken with a bag of salt (not to be confused with "grain"), there is much work to do to get this team where they need to be.

But in trying to find some light, all you have to do is turn on the tape of the Seahawks and Chargers' game. The 49ers open the regular season against Seattle at home. And in looking at Seattle rather closely on Thursday, it appears on the surface that both teams are on even ground at this point.

It will be a race between Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh as to who can have their team best prepared by September 11.


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