In week 1, my crystal ball told me to expect an ugly showing against the Raiders and for the most part that assessment was fairly accurate. Transversely, in week 2, my crystal ball told me to look for marked improvement among the ranks; once again, my crystal ball was spot on. So here we are at week 3 and quite possibly the most important game of the preseason, being the dress rehearsal where the starters will likely play 3 quarters. What does the crystal ball say?
The big story line out of the 49ers camp is Michael Crabtree, who from the look of things will sit out the 2009 season and reenter the draft to be up for grabs and likely will not see the 1st round again, dependent on the talent pool at WR. In short, he feels he should have been drafted above Darrius Heywar-Bey, and therefore, should be paid more. The 49ers obviously disagree. As far as I'm concerned: Kudos to both sides of this argument for sticking to their guns.
But even if Michael Crabtree was a part of this team, I'd still have a hard time being concerned about them. They have good players, but it has been a long time since they have had all the right pieces at the same time. Like the Titans, they will test our run defense. But also like the Titans, they don't have much of a passing attack to scare the Cowboys into backing off their otherwise vaunted rush defense, which should likely end quite a few 49er offensive drives with 3 and outs.
Defensively, the 49ers lack identity and cohesion, Patrick Willis being a lone bright spot and Manny Lawson being a guy with all the physical tools and the mental capacity of a small rock. Nevertheless, if the lights do ever come on for Manny, he could be a very dangerous linebacker. Outside of those two, the 49ers have a blend of has-beens such as Dre Bly and Takeo Spikes, never-have-beens, Walt Harris, Allen Rossum, Mark Roman and could-be's such as Ricky Jean-Francois, Scott McKillop and Curtis Taylor.
Once again, the Cowboy's should be dominant. But there is one caveat to that. How do the 49ers treat the Cowboy's with out #1 WR Roy Williams, who was injured at practice last night (bad Scandrick, bad)? Personally, I don't think Roy Williams is as crucial to the offense as he has been made out to be. There is still quite a bit of talent to distribute the ball to, and our best receivers, even with Roy Williams on the field, are still in my mind our two top TE's Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett. And then, of course, there is the RB core, which should still be able to keep the 49ers defense honest. The Cowboys win 31 to the 49ers 6.