Image Credit: The Chronicle
The 49ers travel to the Mile High city this week for joint practices with the Broncos prior to a Monday night match-up. On the opposite sideline the fans will see some familiar faces; former 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is the new Broncos head coach and former Kyle Shanahan lieutenant Rich Scangarello is their new offensive coordinator. With the preseason hitting the halfway mark, here are some things to expect Monday.
Healthy dose of the B team
The coaching staff held 30 players out of their preseason opener against Dallas Cowboys and Monday shouldn’t be much different. Multiple players are nursing the kind of nagging injuries that could limit them all season if not handled correctly. It seems that the new medical staff is erring on the side of caution and taking the slow approach with player health this preseason. While the fans want to see Jimmy Garoppolo and others take the field, these games are meaningless; now is the time to find out what players are ready to fill in the back end of the roster and who’s ready to step into starting roles when called upon.
Backup quarterback C.J. Beathard has been one of the players hampered by an injury, so it shouldn’t be surprising to see undrafted rookie Wilton Speights take a healthy amount of snaps. Neither Beathard nor Nick Mullens were able to separate themselves in the chase for the backup quarterback position and missing these reps could cost Beathard dearly.
Nick Mullens audition
Prior to accepting the offensive coordinator position with the Broncos, Rich Scangarello served as quarterbacks coach under Kyle Shanahan. It was Scangarello who discovered Mullens after four productive years at Southern Miss. Outside of rookie Drew Lock, the quarterbacks on Denver’s roster are less than inspiring. Could Monday serve as an audition for Mullens to earn a trade to the AFC West club?
Adrian Colbert should receive major snaps
Last year’s starting free safety hasn’t had the best 12 months: poor play out of the gate led to some wondering if Colbert should be starting. An ankle injury eventually brought his 2018 to a close and offseason surgery limited his participation in this year’s OTAs. Colbert only saw seven snaps before hit to a defenseless receiver led to a questionable ejection. While safety isn’t the deepest position group on the team, Colbert may be facing an uphill battle for a roster spot.
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