Many say that the NFL preseason doesn’t mean anything. It means nothing if your team is playing well during the exhibition season.
The 49ers, unfortunately, are not one of those teams right now. San Francisco currently sits with a 0-2 record during the preseason and while the win-loss record definitely doesn’t matter right now, what does matter is how the 49ers are playing as they prepare for the upcoming season.
And right now, the 49ers stink. Through two games, they have managed a paltry three points while having allowed 57. The only thing worse than the 49ers offense right now is the defensive play. Leaky offensive and defensive lines, shaky secondary play, lack of quality quarterback play and just a general atmosphere of “blah” or “blech,” take your pick.
Now I know the first-string players generally don’t see much action during the preseason and many of the starters haven’t even seen the field yet. Trying to avoid injury and all that. But San Francisco simply has to show more on both sides of the ball if the 49ers truly want to get where they want to go — namely, the Super Bowl.
The preseason is meant for teams to find out what they have backing up their 1s and we’re finding out the 49ers’ depth — which has been among the best in the NFL in recent seasons — may not be all it’s cracked up to be this season.
The offensive line is currently missing two starters — right tackle Anthony Davis (injury) and right guard Adam Boone (holdout) — and their replacements haven’t shown much. The running game appears to be in good hands with Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde, but if the o-line is in shambles, how effective can they really be?
The biggest concern is at quarterback because after Colin Kaepernick, there is a significant dropoff to presumed No. 2 signal caller Blaine Gabbert, who so far looks like the second coming of last season’s backup, Colt McCoy. If the 49ers have a lack of confidence in Gabbert, you can look forward to seeing more of last year’ offense — namely, a conservative attack that is predicated on keeping Kaepernick healthy.
The second biggest concern is the defense. With NaVarro Bowman out for a while with his knee injury — and even if he comes back this year he probably won’t be a full strength until the 2015 season — along with Glenn Dorsey and his torn biceps, the middle of the 49ers front-seven looks vulnerable.
My concern has to do mostly with the backups, which are doing nothing when given the chance. Even playing against opponents’ second and third strings, the 49ers backups are getting crushed. Not a good showing thus far.
The 49ers will play their third preseason game against San Diego Sunday and by all accounts, the third preseason game is essentially a dress rehearsal for the season opener. Instead of keeping everything close to the vest and not showing anything offensively, the 49ers need to unwrap its offense and prove to the fans — and themselves — that this is still a Super Bowl-contending team.
I figure I’m at least 10 years away — if ever — from attending any kind of event at the 49ers’ new home, Levi’s Stadium.
I’m a firm believer that the experience is better from my couch and concessions are much, much cheaper. Plus, professional sports franchises are pricing out the middle class, meaning I’d have to save for a few months if I wanted to take my family to a game.
So, while it may take years for me to set foot in the state-of-the-art facility, I’m already done with it. All the slobbering over it. All the stories. All the behind the scenes stuff. OK. I get it. The stadium is fantastic. Great for the 49ers. Yawn.
And speaking of Levi’s Stadium, the biggest complaints are the lines — traffic lines getting into and out of the stadium, lines to get food and drinks, lines and waits to board public transportation.
What do you expect? Every time you have 60,000 to 70,000 people congregating in spot, there are bound to be some issues with traffic and whatnot. Don’t want to sit in traffic? Get there about three hours before game time and wait for a couple hours after the game before leaving. Just because it’s no longer the Candlestick gauntlet, doesn’t mean it’s going to be smooth sailing to 49ers games this year.
Much like people discovered trying to get to the Paul McCartney concert at Candlestick last week, if you wait until the last minute before heading to the stadium, don’t be shocked if you get stuck playing the waiting game.