Offensive & Defensive X-Factors for San Francisco
Carlos Hyde and the offensive line
The third preseason game is the one that usually features the most extended run of action the starters will see all preseason. So far through two games, the 49ers starters on offense have suffered in the running game. Part of that is on running back Carlos Hyde, and part of that is on the offensive line.
Reports out of training camp pegged Hyde as one of the most impressive players. We have yet to really see that in action this preseason. This game is where Hyde will get the best chance to fully prove the hype from camp. Last week was utterly abysmal in terms of running the ball, so it’s important the team gets that going early in the Vikings game.
To open up the preseason, the 49ers first-team defense was shredded by quarterback Alex Smith and the Chiefs. Albeit, it was only for a handful of plays. But it was a disappointing showing nonetheless.
The next week was a bit better, but Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch still led three scoring drives. If the 49ers want to have any decent chance at being competitive, the defense has to be formidable.
It’s the side of the ball the team has invested the most in, with first-round draft choices spent on defensive players in the past three years. Players like defensive linemen DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas, linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Reuben Foster, and safety Eric Reid are going to form the nucleus of this defense.