Scout’s Notebook: Several Rookies Stand Out

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Here are some observations from my perch in the visiting radio booth at Levi’s Stadium. I’ll have more notes when I have a chance to go back and watch this game again.

  • I thought it was a good start for Dak Prescott. It would have been nice to punch his only drive in, but overall line one is to move the club and he did. He took advantage of some nice protection and his teammates stepped up to help him along the way. I thought his last pass that was tipped had a chance to be a touchdown to Blake Jarwin, especially where Jarwin was positioned in the end zone. Give some credit to Sheldon Day for getting his hand up to make the deflection.
  • I liked what I noticed from Taco Charlton starting at right defensive end in this game. There were several snaps where his rush on Shon Coleman and Willie Beavers affected what was going on in the pocket. Charlton did a nice job of mixing up his rush. He was able to attack from the outside, which allowed him to set some things up to the inside. The way he was able to keep these 49ers tackles off balance was impressive.
  • I thought it was a missed opportunity for some of these young wide receivers tonight with the exception of Cedrick Wilson. Throughout camp we had been seeing positive things from Jon’Vea Johnson and Jalen Guyton, but neither came up with the kind of night that Wilson had. It was unfortunate that Mike White hung Wilson out to dry on that slant, because I felt like he could have helped him later in the game. Instead, he was on the sideline with the trainers.
  • I said on the broadcast that I was encouraged by the tackling of Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie. The 49ers attempted to get the ball to their receivers quickly and let them work in space, but all three of these corners made impressive open field tackles before those receivers had a chance to get up the field.
  • Tip of the cap to Joe Looney, Xavier Su’A-Filo and Adam Redmond for playing the entire game. It’s not something the staff wanted to do, but they had no choice. If there was a positive from this, it was that they were able to get a solid evaluation on their quarterbacks. The front of the pocket was generally clean for the most part, and when there were problems it was from the tackle spot -- where Mitch Hyatt is just not strong enough to handle his assignments to that side.
  • When I first saw the injury to Luke Gifford, I thought he dislocated his ankle. It was great to hear later from Kristi Scales that those X-Rays were negative and they were calling it a sprain. In his place, Justin Phillips had a heck of a night. He had the type of game that I thought Gifford would have had if he had played the majority of the game. Phillips was physical and instinctive with the plays he was able to finish. With Gifford now sidelined for a bit, look for Phillips to see some more snaps in practice this week and extra time when they play the Los Angeles Rams in Hawaii.
  • As good as the tight ends were getting down the field to make plays, I am worried what the tape might show when it comes to those point of attack blocks. I am just not seeing enough movement from Blake Jarwin or Dalton Schultz at this point. There were several running plays where they were trying to get the ball to the front side and there just wasn’t enough push on the edge.
  • Look for Ricky Walker to get more opportunities with the second defensive line. I felt like he outplayed Trysten Hill and Daniel Ross inside. Physically, Walker might not look like the ideal body type, but he was the most disruptive player that the line had at tackle. The 49ers backups had trouble with him due to his ability to get up the field and defeat blockers. He did a nice job playing on the 49ers’ side of the line of scrimmage.
  • Starting to see a little more from Donovan Wilson at safety. He’s not afraid to stick his nose in the action and his positioning was outstanding on his interception. He read C.J. Beathard’s eyes the entire way. It was a coverage that Beathard should have seen and understood, but he still attempted the throw -- which was a terrible mistake on his part. Coaches will always find a spot for a guy that makes plays and Wilson has shown that, not only in the Blue/White Scrimmage but this preseason game, as well.
  • Nice start to the preseason for Joe Jackson. I have to admit that I didn’t see him as a right end, but Jackson makes it work. The physicality with which Jackson plays is impressive. He can knock blockers around with his power, but he also shows the overall quickness necessary to get to the edge and cause problems in the pocket. The guy plays as a high effort/motor guy, which is the type of guy that Rod Marinelli covets in his rotation.
  • I am glad that Jason Garrett challenged Mike Jackson’s pass interference call even though he didn’t get the result he thought. If Jackson was guilty of anything it was running the receiver out of bounds. There wasn’t any major contact or hand fighting on Jackson’s part, so to me there was a chance that it could have been overturned. The same official made a similar call in the last two minutes of the game, which the replay booth didn’t feel necessary to take a look at. My gut feeling is that this season I don’t believe that many of these challenges will be over turned.
  • I really do want to trust this staff with the kicking situation but please now count me as a concerned observer.

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