via San Francisco Chronicle
Game 3 of the preseason is always the most interesting from a fan’s standpoint because this is the game where starters play more than they normally would. Rather than a long boring recap, I wanted to touch on a few points to watch out for as the season continues.
Alex Smith – 3/8 passing, 33 yards. Not exactly what you want from your starting QB, albeit against a very good Broncos secondary. It looks like the Smith is still working on finding a rhythm with his new corp of receivers – Vernon Davis had 4 targets out of Smith’s 8 passes. We’ll see what happens when Coach Gruden finally opens up the playbook for Smith week 1.
Adrian Peterson – The player everyone had eyes on and there have been no less than 100 articles on him in the last 48 hours. I’ll keep it brief – 11 carries, 56 yards and in less than a half of actions is good. All Day still has a quick step, great vision, and is big enough to fight for extra yards after the contact. He’s played his way into a starting role.
Offensive Line – The good news is that everyone is healthy and if it stays that way, this line will continue to be one of the best in the league.
Simmie Cobbs Jr. – 1 rec, 18 yards, 1 TD. Simmie has gotten more reps with Maurice Harris and Cam Sims out. He is competing for a roster spot with Brian Quick(DNP) and Trey Quinn(1 rec, 2 yards, 4 targets).
Da’Ron Payne – Payne was Washington’s first round pick and he is playing like it. Payne is big, athletic, and strong. Right now, he’s the run stuffer in the middle of the Skins’ defense but don’t sleep on his pass rushing skills. He’s back playing next to Jon Allen. One of these guys will have to be double teamed and the other is going to be a handful for the poor lineman who has to take him 1-on-1.
Tim Settle – A fellow Hokie, Settle has a special place in my heart. After a great training camp where he forced his way into the defensive line rotation, Settle was the star of the week 1 preseason game against New England. He had a quieter game this week, but did show good push up front and had a pass knockdown.
Side note: One of the picks acquired from Denver in the Su’a Cravens trade was used on Settle.
Quinton Dunbar – Listed as the number 2 corner on this roster, Dunbar beat out Orlando Scandrick for the job. He’s shown some flashes of potential and it will be interesting to see how he develops in his first season starting full time.
Montae Nicholson – I’m not sure what to make of Nicholson. He has the size and speed to be a starting safety (and he will start at FS to begin the season), but he will be tested in coverage often.
Fabian Moreau – I have high hopes for Moreau (see future number 1 corner). With Kendall Fuller shipped away to Kansas City (I’ll bite my tongue on that topic), Moreau is looking to fill into the role nickel cornerback. He has good length and explosive closing speed, as evidenced on the pass break up again Emmanuel Sanders below. Moreau has a ton of potential and should be very exciting to watch grow.
Troy Apke – Apke projects to be a special teamer. He has great straight line speed but is questionable in coverage. Apke is a player on the bubble, he will get a lot of snaps next week.
Tress Way – Still one of the best punters in the league. Full stop.
In conclusion, there is no need to overreact to this overall ugly game by the Burgundy and Gold. There were bright spots, there were bad spots, but that is what the preseason is for. Many key players were out: Zach Brown, Chris Thompson, Jordan Reed, etc. The d-line and pass rush will be great this year and hopefully mask any shortcoming in the secondary. The offense still needs to find it’s identity but Smith has yet to see live action with all his weapons available (Crowder and Doctson sat out). This team has a few kinks to work out.