Heading into the third preseason game, the San Francisco 49ers will likely use their starters much longer than they have in the previous two contests, meaning the first real taste of extended play for players like guard Mike Iupati, who has come into his own in his third season in the league.
Along with Anthony Davis and Alex Boone, the trio of 2010 rookies have become a young, talented force to be reckoned with in the NFL, giving effort and punishing opposing defensive lines:
"All we do as an O-line is just try to play physical," Iupati said. "We play together, do our job and hope the holes open up. You have to be able to run the ball before you pass it."
San Francisco has already gained 378 yards on the ground in just two preseason games, but face a stiff test on Sunday when they take on the Denver Broncos, who will playing their starters most of the way, as well. But after falling just short of a trip to the Super Bowl last season, Iupati and the rest of the 49ers understand the importance of never resting and always striving to get better:
"We just have to play as a unit," Iupati said. "We are good right now. We just have to get better and better."
Hopefully, they will come Sunday against the Broncos.
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