CBS 5 Sports Director Dennis O’Donnell hosts “Gameday” every Sunday night at 11:30pm and offers his unique sports analysis here.

San Francisco (CBS 5) – Whew…that was fun. The good news is that the San Francisco 49ers game meant nothing.  The bad news is that the offensive line still has issues, schematically and otherwise. Even taking into account Jim Harbaugh’s strategy of showing nothing, the O-line starters got beat from start to finish. They made poor decisions (scheme) and generally got whipped by Houston’s defensive line.  After calling the game and reviewing it last night, I saw Alex Smith get sacked three times and hit five more.  Unlike New Orleans, Houston’s Wade Phillips did not send in the dogs. He simply didn’t need to.

The offensive line holds the key to any 49er success this year.  It is the group that protects Alex Smith and the unit that paves the way for Frank Gore. Who didn’t expect this unit to be much-improved after last season?  The rookies are no longer rookies, the unit is healthy and management brought in a Pro Bowl center that doesn’t seem to be able to wrestle the job away from Adam Snyder.  Keep you eyes on Mike Person and Alex Boone if the starters don’t get it together, fast.

Alex Smith.  Stop it already.  Like the Saints game, Smith didn’t have a chance.  For all of you clamoring for the rookie, you just might get your wish if the o-lilne doesn’t get better.

Colin Kaepernick.  The Not Ready For Prime Time Player.

Kendall Hunter or Anthony Dixon?  Hunter. Not just because he’s out-rushed Dixon in yardage.  I love his ability to change direction. He’s quicker, shiftier, and a better change of pace.  My guess is that they go with three backs, but I think Hunter should be the back-up.

Biggest surprise:  DeMarcus Dobbs.  He made the team Saturday night.  Didn’t any scouts see that first step?

Biggest disappointment.   Michael Crabtree and Shauntae Spencer.   How can you have your pudding it you don’t eat your meat?

What would I do differently?  Ask for a do-over for the third pre-season game.  What a complete waste of time for the 49ers and their fans. That game is supposed to answer questions.  I think it added to the team’s uncertainty and clearly posed more questions that it answered.

Moral of the story.  It’s not the way the book begins that matters, but how it ends.  As each chapter of this season unfolds, the story will get better.  But if you want a better read?  Check out the sequel coming out in 2012.

See you on TV.


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