San Francisco 49ers

49ers snap counts: Busy game for guys named Marcus

Denver Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez fumbles as he is sacked by San Francisco 49ers linebacker Marcus Rush, right, during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, in Denver. The 49ers recovered the fumble.
Denver Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez fumbles as he is sacked by San Francisco 49ers linebacker Marcus Rush, right, during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, in Denver. The 49ers recovered the fumble. AP

Ray-Ray Armstrong had another solid game as he tries to emerge in a three-way battle for the 49ers' starting inside linebacker spot.

Armstrong looked particularly comfortable in space on a first-quarter throw to Broncos running back C.J. Anderson, which he stopped for no gain. Armstrong is taller and longer than the other two inside linebacker candidates. That’s a good trait to have in coverage, but he also has to concentrate on leverage when taking on blockers in the hole. As they did in the preseason opener, Armstrong, Gerald Hodges and Michael Wilhoite rotated throughout the game.

Hodges started, played 19 snaps and was credited with two tackles and a fumble recovery. However, he was out of place on Denver’s first touchdown run. Armstrong played 22 snaps and finished with a tackle; Wilhoite had 34 snaps and two tackles.

Shayne Skov ended up playing more than any other 49ers inside linebacker -- 41 plays -- and had three tackles. Nick Bellore again looked like a reserve worth keeping. He had four tackles, broke up a pass and had a fumble recovery before being helped off the field with a knee injury. There is no update yet on that injury.

Safety Marcus Cromartie played more snaps, 53, than any other 49er. With L.J. McCray still recovering from a knee injury, the 49ers have a shortage of safeties. Cromartie played next to Jaquiski Tartt with the second-team defense -- McCray's usual spot -- and also had eight snaps on special teams, including as the gunner in punt coverage.

Outside linebacker Marcus Rush got into the game earlier than normal due to Aaron Lynch (eye poke) not playing and Eli Harold leaving after he collided with Tank Carradine. Rush made the most of his 44 snaps, finishing with three sacks and a forced fumble. After two weeks of the preseason, Rush's three sacks lead the NFL.

“I was going against Joe Staley so it gave me a chance to just work moves," said Rush to reporters after the game regarding his time on the practice squad last year. "I watch a lot of guys on film, guys like Von Miller. I’m just working on perfecting my craft of pass rushing. I know I have the ability to, it’s just a matter of perfecting it and having those main moves you can use, and being confident when you get on the field to be able to use them.”

Quarterback

Christian Ponder 24

Jeff Driskel 21

Blaine Gabbert 16

Running back

Kelvin Taylor 16

Carlos Hyde 13

Mike Davis 12

DuJuan Harris 12

Kendall Gaskins 8

Wide receiver

Jerome Simpson 31

Aaron Burbridge 25

DeAndrew White 19

DiAndre Campbell 15

Torrey Smith 15

Quinton Patton 12

Dres Anderson 11

Devon Cajuste 11

Bryce Treggs 6

Tight end

Je'Ron Hamm 24

Rory Anderson 21

Blake Bell 18

Bruce Miler 15

Garrett Celek 11

Vance McDonald 10

Tackle

Anthony Davis 36

Erik Pears 36

Trent Brown 16

Joe Staley 16

John Theus 10

Colin Kelly 6

Norman Price 3

Guard

Zane Beadles 16

Andrew Tiller 16

Joshua Garnett 36

Ian Silberman 20

Brandon Thomas 16

Fahn Cooper 9

Blake Muir 9

Center

Marcus Martin 36

Daniel Kilgore 16

Alex Balducci 9

OLB

Marcus Rush 44

Corey Lemonier 35

Jason Fanaika 30

Tank Carradine 27

Ahmad Brooks 23

Eli Harold 20

Inside linebacker

Shayne Skov 41

Michael Wilhoite 34

Nick Bellore 32

Ray-Ray Armstrong 22

NaVorro Bowman 22

Wynton McManis 20

Gerald Hodges 19

Defensive line

Ronald Blair 51

Demetrius Cherry 43

B.J. McBryde 39

Garrison Smith 39

Darren Lake 22

Mike Purcell 20

Quinton Dial 17

Tony Jerod-Eddie 8

Cornerback

Rashard Robinson 49

Kenneth Acker 46

Dontae Johnson 44

Chris Davis 35

Keith Reaser 27

Prince Charles Iworah 26

Cleveland Wallace 22

Tramaine Brock 22

Jimmie Ward 22

Safety

Marcus Cromartie 53

Jaquiski Tartt 27

Antoine Bethea 22

Eric Reid 22

Jered Bell 20

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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