The 49ers open up their 2022 preseason at home against the Packers, and you’ll want to pay attention to these key storylines during the exhibition bout.
If we’re being honest, preseason football for the casual San Francisco 49ers fan is exciting for about 15 minutes.
For the rest of us, we’re paying close attention for a full 60 minutes of each game the Niners play, observing which NFL Draft picks are ascending, who on the fringes of the roster are making a case to survive cuts, and how well our favorite undrafted free agent is performing as an underdog.
San Francisco opens up its 2022 preseason campaign this Friday against the visiting Green Bay Packers. Of course, the last time these two teams met, the 49ers shocked quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the divisional round of the playoffs, adding another loss to the Hall of Famer’s 0-4 career postseason record against his boyhood team.
Rodgers probably won’t play in Week 1 of the preseason, though, so Niners fans won’t get to watch how a revamped defense and secondary fares against the back-to-back MVP.
So, while that storyline is off the table, fans will want to check out these five other San Francisco-related watch points over the course of Friday evening.
49ers vs. Packers storyline No. 1: Adequacy of Niners offensive line
Head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters last Tuesday he was planning on starting “some of them” of his first-string offensive linemen against Green Bay, which likely means the interior only, thereby giving rest days to veteran tackles Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey.
The 49ers’ O-line has been a bit of a pain point throughout training camp, particularly with regards to a rotating door at center and questionable depth. While second-year guard Aaron Banks has progressed a bit in camp and rookie right guard Spencer Burford has been impressive, the depth behind them is still awfully concerning.
Granted, the bulk of these players are going to match up against Packers second- and third-string defensive linemen and edge rushers, meaning it’s not wholly indicative of how good the Niners depth will be.
Still, San Francisco will want reserve linemen who are standing out against the rest of what’s a deep crop, so whoever winds up impressing from likely the second quarter onwards should be viewed as a strong candidate for a spot on the 53-man roster.