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NFL San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers: Notes and Notables after Preseason Week 1 Win over Minnesota Vikings

Even before kickoff of the first preseason game for the San Francisco 49ers there were injury scratches, both explained and otherwise.

First off, the key players who sat at the opening contest against the Minnesota Vikings as last minute scratches: running back Frank Gore, defensive end Justin Smith, kicker David Akers and wide receiver Mario Manningham. Don’t read too much into their absence. Sometimes, veterans just get a chance to rest while giving the coaches a chance to study the depth players. These guys are in no danger of being cut, so any nicks, bumps or bruises they have gave the team a reason to give them each a night off.

Also missing the action: tight end Nate Byham, tight end Will Tukuafu, linebacker Cam Johnson and wide receiver Joe Hastings, who also missed several practices leading up to the game.

The bigger injury issue was the one suffered by second-year stud linebacker Aldon Smith, who suffered a bruised hip while terrifying  half the Bay Area when he was carted off the field. Smith should completely recover though he is currently listed as indefinitely out. However, in the wake of his even temporary loss (not to mention some questionable depth at linebackers, the team signed free agent Kenny Rowe, waiving safety Mark LeGree to make room on the roster.

Rowe was an undrafted free agent last July but was released before the regular season. He was a second-team All-Pac-10 linebacker at Oregon in 2010.

LeGree had bounced around on several teams’ practice squads last season after being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the fifth round and subsequently cut last summer,.

Notes:

Anthony Dixon, listed as the No. 2 fullback, was an all-around offensive player, lining up as fullback, running back and clocking time on special teams. He was the team’s leading rusher (12 carries, 46 yards) and proved his value to the club…

Guard Alex Boone had a solid game, and it looks like he, and not veteran Leonard Davis, will be the starting right guard…

That big run by backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick was impressive, but fourth-stringer Scott Tolzien made a mark with his showing against Minnesota (10-of-13 passing, 84 yards, two drops, 1 INT). Tolzein isn’t going to make things easy for the coaching staff when it comes to cuts, and he’s breathing down the neck of third QB Josh Johnson as we speak…

Backup defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois got the start in place of Smith, and had a decent game playing with the first- and second-team defensive units…

After the first preseason game, it looks like rookie safety Trenton Robinson, a sixth-round pick out of Michigan State, has the upper hand in the battle with undrafted rookie free agent Michael Thomas. Robinson had some solid hits, forced an incompletion and flashed on special teams…