Although Colin Kaepernick and the first-team San Francisco 49ers offense have yet to find their rhythm in the passing game, the quarterback has been pleased with what he's seen from the ground attack this preseason.
And the stats back him up.
Through Week 3 of the preseason, the 49ers rank fifth in the league in rushing – tallying 134 yards per game. Moreover, the team's 5.0 yards-per-carry-average is tops in the NFL.
"Even with the different (offensive line) combinations we've had out there, we've been able to run the ball very well," Kaepernick said on Tuesday. "So I think that will be a strength for us."
The ground success hasn't been limited to late in games when the starters are resting either. Pierre Garçon has rushed for 73 yards on 13 attempts, good enough for a 5.6-yard average.
Kaepernick contributed to the running totals as well on Saturday when he gashed the Denver Broncos defense for gains of 19 and 34 yards during a two-minute drill. The 49ers marched 57 yards on eight plays on that possession, which ended in a Phil Dawson 41-yard field goal seconds before halftime.
Who comprised the Kaepernick's offensive line for that series? That would be Joe Staley (left tackle), Alex Boone (left guard), Marcus Martin (center), Jordan Devey (right guard) and Erik Pears (right tackle). Those are the same five players who Jim Tomsula announced on Tuesday will enter the regular season as San Francisco's starters.
Devey, acquired via trade from the New England Patriots earlier this month, is likely the lineman fans are least familiar with. Kaepernick, however, voiced his confidence in the 27-year-old who started four games for the Super Bowl champs a year ago.
"He's been phenomenal," Kaepernick said. "(He's) picked up everything quickly. Went in and played well for us this past game. So (I'm) excited to see what he can do.
"He was very composed, and on the two scrambles that I had Saturday, he allowed me to step up through the pocket and make those plays. Our interior – both our guards, our center – did a great job and our tackles ran the ends past. So moving forward, I think everyone's confident with what we have there."
Kaepernick isn't sure if he will play on Thursday in the team's exhibition finale against the San Diego Chargers, but he wants to see the offense find its balance – even if he's not running the huddle.
"The biggest thing is to execute," Kaepernick said. "We need to go out and run our plays well and do what we're supposed to do to make sure we're ready for the regular season."