Saints at 49ers: Matt Barrows' 5 players to watch
- Opponent: vs. New Orleans Saints
- Time: 1:05 p.m.
- Line: Saints by 4
- Records: 49ers 1-6, Saints 3-4
- TV/radio: Ch. 40 (Chris Myers, Ronde Barber), 680, 1320
Three things to watch
CAN COLIN KAEPERNICK OVERCOME SHORTCOMINGS?
Kaepernick has been more successful at quarterback than former starter Blaine Gabbert in two areas, picking up yards by running the ball and stretching the field with deep passes. But his weakness, as it’s been his entire career, is with shorter passes. That’s manifested itself in decreased production from slot receiver Jeremy Kerley since Kaepernick became the starter in Week 6 and with fewer passes to tight ends. Kaepernick needs to spread the ball around the field more to keep the Saints’ defense on its toes.
WILL TORREY SMITH GET MORE INVOLVED?
After the 49ers lost to the visiting Cowboys in Week 4, Smith said he wouldn’t mind being used as a decoy in the passing game if it meant increased production from other receivers. It’s a noble gesture, but that hasn’t happened. Jeremy Kerley has just 27 receiving yards in the past two games. Quinton Patton has 65 yards over that span, but almost half came on two shovel passes – which are quasi running plays – against the Bills. Getting Smith more involved could open up more opportunities for the other receivers.
THE RETURN OF GLENN DORSEY
The 49ers’ defensive lineman with the most experience has gotten off to a staggered start while returning from an ACL injury that has plagued him for most of the season. Having him as their permanent nose tackle would have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the 49ers’ defensive line. Quinton Dial would be free to play defensive end, which in turn would have DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead playing less during running situations and allow them to concentrate more on nickel defense.
- Out: LB Dannell Ellerbe (quadriceps), RB Daniel Lasco (hamstring), LB James Laurinaitis (quadriceps).
- Questionable: LB Stephone Anthony (hamstring), T Terron Armstead (knee), CB Delvin Breaux (fibula), WR Jake Lampman (knee), CB Sterling Moore (abdomen).
- Out: LB Aaron Lynch (ankle), CB Rashard Robinson (knee).
- Questionable: RB Carlos Hyde (shoulder).
vs. Los Angeles
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vs. New England
vs. N.Y. Jets
at Los Angeles