Eric Reid (35) and Reuben Foster (56) returned to the practice field on Wednesday. (Mira Laing/Special to S.F. Examiner)

5 takeaways from the 49ers sloppy preseason loss

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers lost to the Denver Broncos on Saturday. The score was 33-14.

Of course, that doesn’t really matter much as it was their second game of the preseason.

But the contest wasn’t entirely meaningless, there were some developments worth noting. For instance …

Sloppiness reigns

Head coach Kyle Shanahan said during the week that he wanted to see his team cut down on their penalties.

Technically, the Niners did that. Going from drawing 17 flags for 131 yards to 10 for 81 — including six in the first quarter alone.

But it was still an ugly affair at Levi’s Stadium. One play had so many penalties, referee Pete Morelli couldn’t help but crack up as he announced them.

And if the greater goal was to cut down on sloppiness, that didn’t happen at all.

The 49ers gave away possession five (5) times — four lost fumbles and a Brian Hoyer (bad-luck) interception.

Shanahan is an offense-first coach, who simply won’t tolerate poor ball security.

That’s why the first thing he said in the postgame press conference was that the whole game was concerning.

A safety worth a damn

Eric Reid, one of the few regulars from last season to stick around through the regime overhaul, was all over the field on Saturday.

He made six total tackles in the first half and was a factor in both the run- and pass-game, playing more in the box than he did in seasons prior.

Reid is 25 and making $5.7 million this year. It’s obvious the front office saw something to want to keep him around despite that price tag.

Now, he just needs to stay healthy enough to make them look smart for doing as much.

With a grade of just 50.5, making him the 71st-ranked safety in the league according to Pro Football Focus, he still has some work left to achieve that noble goal.

Reuben Foster has speed to the sideline

NaVorro Bowman looked to still be shaking off some rust, but starting middle linebacker Reuben Foster has the skill set of a potentially special player.

He only made one tackle, but his ability was on full display as he was able to chase down receivers from sideline-to-sideline.

Any concerns about him in coverage appear to be overstated and if he pans out for real, it will rank as an early indicator that general manager John Lynch knew what he was doing during the draft.

CJ Beathard shows a little something

Hoyer had a rough day. His backup, CJ Beathard, did not.

The former Iowa Hawkeye made a couple great throws and was responsible for the 49ers’ only offensive touchdown, hitting George Kittle for a 29-yard score in the third quarter.

Naturally, it sent Niners Twitter into hysterics that the team had found its long term signal caller.

I’m not ready to go that far. But I will admit that the guy can certainly look competent against a scout-team defense.

All apologies due to Matt Barkley.

RB hierarchy

Carlos Hyde had an ugly drop on a shovel pass but is the clear No. 1 on the depth chart.

After that, it gets a little murkier.

Matt Breida, a rookie with a ton of promise, received a Did Not Play – Coach’s Decision. Maybe Shanahan wants to save him as an ultra secret weapon.

Or, he wanted to get a more in-depth look at his veterans, Tim Hightower and Kapri Bibbs.

Hightower lost a fumble and Bibbs racked up six yards on four carries.

Look for Week 3, the only semi-important preseason game, to clear things up at that position.

My feeling is that Bibbs will be the odd-man out. Simply because this is a team that is building to win in the future, and you don’t cut ties with talents like Breida and Joe Williams, who had just one carry in the contest.

Contact Jacob C. Palmer at or on Twitter, @jacobc_palmer.brian hoyerDenver Broncoskyle shanahanpreseasonSan Francisco 49ers

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