We’re finally coming up on some live action, folks.
In three days time, the San Francisco 49ers will play their first preseason game, and only home preseason game, against the Green Bay Packers.
But it’s a bit of an odd, congested schedule after that. While there’s another eight days until the August 20 game against the Vikings, it’s a game preceded by two joint practices in Minnesota, and followed just five days later with the final preseason game against the Houston Texans.
Then, there’s a 17-day window until the season opener.
In order to manage that schedule crunch, Shanahan said Monday that he’d like to get Trey Lance and the first-team offense in for the first and third games. He said the at least “some of” the starters will play.
“I definitely wanna see how these practices go these first two days,” Shanahan said. “I’d like to get good guys to play in this game mainly because I don’t want them to play in the second game… So hopefully a little in one, a little in three and then we’ll have 17 days to get ready for Week 1.”
Lance is coming off perhaps his worst day of practice yet, when he threw an eyesore interception to Fred Warner. His target was triple-covered and hard to identify. Shanahan acknowledged that as a “rough day,” saying that he’s excited to see how Lance responds the next two days. These days could play a role in how much he plays on Friday.
As far as the comment that “some of” the starters, and particularly, the offensive line will play, that leaves a bit of a question as to who the starters are.
There’s an ongoing competition between Daniel Brunskill and Jake Brendel for the starting center job, with Brendel listed as the starter currently, and looking much more comfortable there than Brunskill.
Aaron Banks and Spencer Burford have lined up as the starting left and right guards, respectively, since the start of camp.
That begs the question, with Brunskill only taking snaps at center, how does Shanahan view his role? If he loses the competition at center, will he just slot back at right guard, or even left, after not repping there in camp?
Shanahan made it sound like it’s up to Banks and Burford to continue their trajectories. But if they do — Burford especially — they could hold onto those starting roles into the season, Shanahan indicated:
“We know exactly what Dan can do. And I think Dan can actually be better with getting less reps and not getting as much wear and tear on his body.
Dan knows how to play. He’s figured out every position we’ve asked him to play since he’s been here. And now he’s trying to figure out center to see what the options are there.
Also, Burford can’t get enough reps. Banks can’t get enough reps. When you haven’t had guys who played a lot, they need to be out there a ton. That allows us to do that.
Very glad that if it doesn’t work out for one of those guys, it’s not like, oh man, Dan hasn’t practiced yet. Dan can hop in there right away.”
The 49ers will have two days of practice on Tuesday and Wednesday before their Friday night game against the Packers. They’ll have a couple home days of practice after an off day, then fly to Minnesota for joint practices before their August 20 preseason game there.