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Akash's Monday Morning Blitz II: Preseason Hot Take Edition

August 14, 2017

"It's just the preseason." Something most fans in any sport utter, if they're watching their team lose in the preseason. But if their respective team is winning and players are showing flashes of dominance, then it's completely the opposite. "Our team is going to be fantastic, just see what they did in the 4th quarter of a game that doesn't count."

 

But really, the truth lies somewhere in between both of these takes. True, it's just the preseason -- the wins and losses don't necessarily matter. It's more about staying healthy, building chemistry and evaluating the players on the roster bubble.

 

This is the first time that players are lacing up in pads and actually playing someone on a different team in nearly eight months. Just breathe, it's not going to be a smooth transition -- especially for a team that won two games and turned over nearly 70 percent of their roster.

 

So, reading my Twitter timeline on Friday night, as the 49ers took on the Chiefs, many would think it's the NFC Championship game with how a lot of fans were reacting. Like QB Aaron Rodgers often says, "R-E-L-A-X."

 

The craziest part of the preseason is all of the hot takes that come with the games. With a rise in debate shows on television, the number of ridiculous takes that are being spewed on limited evidence is ridiculous. Let's take a look at some of the hot takes that were being thrown around on Twitter and evaluate whether it was a true hot take with some validity behind it -- or if it's just hot air. For each of the three hot takes below, I'm going to give it a hottakeness score on a scale from 1-10. One being least hottake-y, with 10 being extremely hottake-y.

 

1. Hot Take: DB Rashard Robinson is going to be awful this upcoming season.

 

All offseason long, the player that had the biggest hype coming into this preseason opener was none other than DB Rashard Robinson. From his Instagram posts, with the hashtag #33isthenew21, to the posts about being the No. 1 corner on the team, there was a lot of pressure on Robinson to perform. Given his physical attributes and his performance at the end of the last season, fans were left dreaming of Robinson's potential during the entire offseason.

 

Thus far, the ex-LSU defensive back has had a fantastic training camp from all accounts and has taken on the challenge of becoming the No. 1 cornerback and following the opponents' best wide receiver during games. Well, against the Kansas City Chiefs, the best receiver was WR Tyreek Hill. A second-year player, who's tiny, quick and has explosive speed.

 

For longer, taller corners, the challenge is to cover the shiftier receiver like Hill. So on the first play of the game, Hill beats Robinson down the sideline for a huge gain and immediately fans reacted poorly to Robinson's play. 

 

It didn't help that he was being targeted all game by Kansas City and he gave up a few more receptions. But Robinson caught an interception -- off a bad throw -- and returned it for 30 yards. For the day, Robinson had two tackles, one PBU and the interception.

 

For his first outing, with all the pressure in the world and in a situation where Robinson would likely struggle, he ended up having a so-so game. But hold on, give this young man to continue to develop his game and a bigger sample size than one preseason game. Super hot take.

 

Hottakeness: 8 out of 10 hot takes.

 

2. Hot Take: The performance of the offensive line should start to concern 49ers' fans.

 

One of the most difficult position groups in the NFL is the offensive line. It takes five players, who are not only talented and strong, but also in harmony with the other four members. It's a group that takes time to develop, but one that holds the key to offensive success. 

 

On Friday night, routinely the 49ers' offensive line was getting blasted into the backfield and the Chiefs' pass rushers were getting into the backfield with ease. LT Joe Staley had a solid performance, with RT Trent Brown handling LB Justin Houston a few occasions. 

 

The 49ers released C Jeremy Zuttah and OL Richard Levy, as they try to re-work the group for the regular season. A positive about John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan is that they don't wait around for players fit in to their system. If it doesn't work -- they cut him and try to replace that position with someone else on the free-agent market.

 

A knock on ex-head coaches Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly was that they held onto starters -- especially horrible ones on the offensive line -- for far too long. Remember G Jordan Devey and RT Erik Pears? 

 

Yes -- the offensive line performance was somewhat alarming. QB Brian Hoyer is a smart, multiple-read quarterback -- when given the time by the offensive line. He doesn't possess Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick athleticism to evade sacks and make plays on the run.

 

So the performance from Friday will need to improve if the 49ers want to keep Hoyer and the rest of the quarterback room upright. Hopefully the answer to success is internal with the 49ers' offensive line. They'll have some help returning -- in G Joshua Garnett -- in three weeks, but they have to start to develop some continuity and trust among the five players. 

 

Hottakeness: 4 out of 10 hot takes.

 

3. The 49ers will have a year-long problem with penalties and staying disciplined.

 

The San Francisco 49ers may have gotten out of Missouri with a victory -- but they came away heavily penalized by the referees. They were hit with the yellow flag for a game-high 17 penalties for 131 yards. 

 

Here's what Shanahan had to say after the game about the penalties:

 

"I expected a little bit going into the preseason game, but was definitely disappointed with that much. We have had them in practice too so it is just something to talk to the team about and we definitely have to get better at it and clean up on Monday."

 

For a young team that's taking the field for the first time in the preseason, it's natural to have some jitters and commit some stupid fouls. There were eight stupid fouls -- either false start, offsides, illegal formation or 12-men on defense. Those are inexcusable and something that will have to be cleaned up as the season goes along.

 

There's not enough talent or depth on the 49ers to be able to put themselves behind the eight-ball on first down with dumb, five-yard penalties.

 

There were also three, 15-yard penalties, for unnecessary roughness and face mask. Those penalties may be over the top, but at least it shows the true physicality of the team. Those should and can be corrected as the season goes on. 

 

With Shanahan's tough-minded attitude, I don't think penalties will be an issue during the regular season. I have a feeling that it will be corrected by next week's game against the Broncos.

 

It'll be a key statistic to watch for the 49ers, but I'm sure the number of silly penalties will drop significantly from eight. So again, poor hot take.

 

Hottakeness: 3 out of 10 hot takes.

 

The 49ers are set for their second preseason game on Saturday against the Denver Broncos. They will have their first live action at home for the 49ers' fans to watch. So pay attention to these hot takes from fans during the first game and see if there is actually some validity behind it.

 

From my hot take meter, most of these were just Skip Bayless-level hot takes. 

 

 

 

 

 

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