49ers Preseason Finale Preview: Defense
What to expect from the defense to close out the preseason
Heading into the final preseason game versus the Los Angeles Chargers the defense seems more or less set. Following the unofficial tradition of the preseason, most starters won’t see the field Thursday night. But coach Coach Kyle Shanahan did say in a press conference earlier in the week that some players that had missed significant time in the first three games would get some time on the field for further evaluation. The first player that comes to mind following this statement is defensive end Arik Armstead, Armstead who saw his first action of the preseason last week following a hamstring injury that had kept him out of the first two games. Armstead played well, showing the strength and quickness that lead to former general manager Trent Baalke selecting him in the middle of the first round. He created consistent pressure up the middle making plays in the in the passing and running game. With the emergency emergence of rookie Jullian Taylor, it’s imperative for Armstead to string a few good performances together to solidify his spot on a deep defensive line.
Pass rush specialist Chris Kiffin seemed to dial up the pressure against the Colts and their quarterbacks were feeling the heat all game. The defense blitzed more Saturday night than they had at any point during the preseason. While the line was creating havoc in the backfield, sacks were hard to come by, .Jeremiah Attaochu registered the lone sack of a Colt’s quarterback. Look for Kiffin to continue to dial up more blitzes as the team tries to find success and a consistent pass rush.
Last week Tyvis Powell was moved from cornerback to strong safety in a move that raised some eyebrows. The coaching staff was impressed enough with his performance that they released backup strong safety Chanceller James on Tuesday. If Powell can supply adequate depth at both cornerback and strong safety, the effects on the roster could be profound. D.J. Reed has shown himself to be more then than capable of backing up both the atnickel-cornerback and free safety, ;with Powell’s possible emergence at the second safety position, rookie safety Marcell Harris could be the odd man out and find himself on the Practice practice Squad squad or outright released.
While the fourth preseason game isn’t usually something to be excited about, there’s still more than enough happening on the defensive side of the ball to keep your interest. This will be the final schematic tune up and player evaluations before the team heads to Minnesota to take on the Vikings.
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