Signed in the offseason, quarterback Brian Hoyer has been the clear No. 1 for the 49ers in the spring and summer. Hoyer remains unchallenged as the starter, and all signs point toward him being the signal-caller for the 2017 season.
Hoyer is coming off a season in which he completed 67% of his passes with 1,445 yards and 6 touchdowns in limited action, and Friday will be the first time head coach Kyle Shanahan and Hoyer have been together on the same field since 2014. That dynamic will be something to watch for, as the 49ers’ livelihood as contenders hinges on it.
Hoyer will likely only play a handful of drives, but in that time it will be interesting to see who he targets the most. Does he continue the budding relationship with wide receiver Pierre Garçon? Is wide receiver Marquise Goodwin hit on the deep ball? Those will be some of the things to keep an eye out for.
In contrast, there is little mystery for the Kansas City Chiefs at quarterback. For now, Alex Smith is the starter and there’s no doubts about that. The long-term future might be a little less clear, but the present has Smith as the No. 1.
So far, Smith has reportedly had a solid offseason and is aiming to continue that success into this next phase with preseason. He’ll only play a few series, so not much will be learned in the week one matchup.
Most intriguing to watch for will be first-round draft pick and rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. The gunslinger from Texas Tech has been making impressions during his short stint as a Chief, even earning the praise of ESPN NFL analyst Louis Riddick (via Arrowhead Pride):
"Trust me, the hype is real with this guy. They just have to keep it under control and stay on plan. When they unveil him, look out."
It’s hard not to be somewhat curious to see how the rookie plays, given they tend to get a load of reps in the preseason.