ReFo: 49ers @ Texans, Preseason Week 4
With many of the starters getting the night off, there were many opportunities to be had when the San Francisco 49ers took on the Houston Texans in Week 4 of the preseason. San Francisco got their final look at a number of young outside linebackers who may need to play a significant role now that starting OLB Aldon Smith has been handed a nine-game suspension to open the season.
For Houston, they got to get a long look at some of their rookies, including third round defensive tackle Louis Nix who played 45 snaps in just his second game action and they continued to move second round offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo around the line as he got some extended time at left tackle despite likely settling in as a guard in the future.
Week 4 is all about winning jobs and opening eyes for most of the players, so let’s take a look at who did just that as the preseason comes to a close.
San Francisco 49ers – Performances of Note
Chase Thomas, OLB: +4.4
Breakdown: The undrafted free agent from Stanford made a strong final case for a roster spot at a crowded position as he graded at +1.7 in the running game and +2.5 as a pass rusher. He was constantly in the backfield, despite failing to finish on a couple running plays, and he ended with two hits and two hurries on just 12 pass rushes.
Signature Play: Late in the second quarter, Thomas beats Su’a-Filo around the edge to get the hit on QB Case Keenum and force the errant pass.
Cornellius Carradine, DE: +1.9
Breakdown: It’s been a bit of a transition for Carradine who played mostly as a 4-3 defensive end in college and now has to play in more of a 3-4 defensive end role. This gave a good glimpse of what he’ll be capable of this season as he was moved in the run game a few times (-0.4), but was outstanding when rushing the passer against guards (+3.2).
Signature Stat: Carradine finishes the preseason with a -2.6 grade in the run game and +3.3 mark as a pass rusher, including a sack, three hits, and six hurries on 98 rushes.
Glenn Winston, RB: +2.1
Breakdown: Winston made the most of his 33 snaps as he carried the ball 11 times for 55 yards, including 38 after contact. He also forced five missed tackles as he turned some heads with his hard-charging style.
Signature Stat: Posted a sample-size induced 157.0 Elusive Rating, good for fifth among running backs this week.
Houston Texans – Performances of Note
Xavier Su’a Filo, OT: -6.7
Breakdown: Likely drafted to be a guard, it was a rough outing for Su’a Filo who played 47 of his 51 snaps at left tackle. He graded at -3.3 as a run blocker and -3.6 in pass protection on his way to surrendering two hits and three hurries on 32 pass block attempts.
Signature Play: Allowed Thomas to get inside of him on the second play from scrimmage, but Thomas whiffed on the would-be tackle for loss.
Jonathan Grimes, RB: +0.6
Breakdown: Grimes was impressive throughout the preseason and he finished strong with 33 yards on eight carries. It wasn’t a great showing by the Texans up front, so it’s less about the numbers and more about Grimes making the most of what he was given. He graded at +0.4 as a runner.
Signature Play: In the middle of the first quarter, Grimes found a sea of 49ers at the line of scrimmage, but he did well to bounce out and then use his speed to get to the edge for the 12-yard gain.
Whitney Mercilus, OLB, +0.8
Breakdown: Houston continues to add players at Mercilus’ positon, but he’s still fighting for playing time in order to justify his first round status from 2012. He picked up a sack and a hurry on just 12 rushes and added a stop in the running game.
Signature Plays: Mercilus overpowers LT Carter Bykowski late in the first quarter to pick up the sack on QB Blaine Gabbert.
PFF Game Ball
49ers OLB Chase Thomas earns the game ball with a fine all-around effort stopping the run and rushing the passer.
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