49ers vs. Texans Review: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly


Anytime a new coaching staff is in place, there is some adjustment period that needs to take place. From learning a new playbook to understanding the coaching staff’s wants and needs on down and distance, the players must mold their games to fit the cultural identity of the team.

San Francisco 49ers HC Chip Kelly is no different. A coaching staff that I continue to praise throughout the off-season- I believe the team did fairly well in Kelly’s debut against the Houston Texans. From drastically improved offensive line play to the cornerbacks winning their one-on-one battles on the outside, this team looks far better than a year ago.

However, there were some good, some bad and some ugly. Below are my top three takeaways from each category, as I breakdown, 3 good, 3 bad, and 3 downright ugly things from yesterday’s Texans first preseason game.

The Good

  • T Trent Brown: The largest player on the team continues to make strides as a starting caliber NFL tackle. He kept a clean pocket for QB Blaine Gabbert all game long while rarely missing an assignment.

Brown’s TOP PLAY: 1st Quarter/1st & 10/11:26 mark

  • Brown seals off right side by putting head on swivel. Made nice block on Texans OLB John Simon while then throwing a nice seal block on OLB Max Bullough who crashed left-side, on delayed stunt.

  • TE Vance McDonald: The best skill player on the offensive side of the ball was undoubtedly McDonald. He scored the 49ers lone touchdown while catching all two of his targets for 53 yards.

McDonald’s TOP PLAY: 1st Quarter/2nd & 10/7:35 mark/11 personnel (trips formation)

  • Gabbert finds McDonald on simple speed-out. McDonald blows past Texans ILB Benardrick McKinney before making catch and then jukes across the grain verse S Quintin Demps at 11-yard line, en route to touchdown.

  • RB Mike Davis: It looks like Davis’ alarm clock finally went off, as the team woke up a sleeping giant. From running hard between the tackles to showing the lateral quickness and agility in space, Davis displayed toughness, strengths, and power en route to racking up 89 yards of total offense (72 rush/17 receiving).

The Bad

  • WR DeAndrew White: Lined up in slot (11 personnel) trips formation and drops easy bubble screen pass from Gabbert. Play occurred in 1st Quarter/1st & 10/7:38 mark.
  • White receives a negative play again just three minutes later. Gets re-directed by Texans CB Kareem Jackson on dig-route, forcing 49ers WR Jerome Simpson to collide with him, which then leads to QB Thad Lewis to scramble for first down. Play occurred in 1st Quarter/3rd & 7/4:33 mark.
  • WR Dres Anderson: Lined up at split-end (11 personnel) trips formation and drops pass from Lewis on corner-route. Play occurred in 3rd Quarter/1st & 10/13:28 mark.

The Ugly

  • OLB Tank Carradine: The 2013 second-round pick (No. 40) continues to struggle in space. A position that Carradine continues to learn, it’s clear he doesn’t have the fluid hips to play the position – other than a rushing OLB in team’s sub-package. However, it was his inability to set the edge that has me worried. Carradine gave up his outside leverage allowing Texans TE Eric Tomlinson to dictate angle (sealing off left-side).

  • CB Chris Davis: The Auburn product whiffed on a slot cornerback blitz allowing Texans RB Alfred Blue to run free to daylight for 14-yard gain. Davis also gave up too much cushion on WR Will Fuller speed-out but QB Brock Osweiler failed to throw his direction – play would’ve resulted in 1st down. However, Davis more than made up for these two plays with 3 tackles and 1 PBU. He had tight-coverage throughout game as team’s slot CB and is now in the running. Great game overall by him.
  • T Colin Kelly: The guy was downright awful. From a false-start penalty to getting beat off the edge, this game showed the coaching staff that Kelly is not the answer at right tackle.

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of NinerFans.com, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at ryan@NinerFans.com or call him at (408) 622-0996.