The Broncos inside linebacker corps has been decimated with injuries through training camp and the first three preseason games.

Joe Jones and Todd Davis missed Monday night’s game versus the San Francisco 49ers with injuries and Joe Dineen suffered a broken hand in the second quarter. As for those who played, Alexander Johnson and Josey Jewell earned the start at inside linebacker. Johnson recorded one tackle while Jewell finished with no tackles. Jewell, who returned to practice Sunday from an oblique strain injury, looked decent in pass coverage, an area of focus for him.

The reserves, besides Dekoda Watson and Josh Watson at times, did not do a great job of tackling and wrapping up ball carriers. On the 30-yard touchdown run by 49ers running back, Raheem Mostert, Josh Watson was caught out of position, getting sealed inside, allowing space for Mostert to run and get outside the numbers.

Run defense seemed to be an issue all night, with San Francisco able to gain 185 yards on the ground and score two rushing touchdowns.

As for Dekoda Watson, he had an impressive game, racking up two tackles, both for a loss, and a sack. He always seemed to have his nose around the football when he was in the game, a testament to his playmaking abilities. Along with being a special teams contributor, Watson can provide the Broncos with some much-needed depth at inside linebacker.

Second-stringers Josh Watson and Keishawn Bierria had their troubles in the run game early on, but did adjust as the game progressed and played better, especially Watson who showed some promise. Bierria did lead the defense in tackles with six. It seems likely that there won’t be enough room on the final 53-man roster for Bierria, who was a sixth-round pick in 2018. Josh Watson on the other hand, an undrafted rookie, figures to be on the bubble for making the final roster.

Jamal Carter also saw his first game action at inside linebacker, making the move from safety last week. Although Carter is known as a physical player, it might take some time for him getting used to playing linebacker. Carter showed some flashes of ability, but was pushed around quite a bit by the 49ers offensive line.

Justin Hollins, who was primarily an edge rusher and defensive lineman in college at Oregon, has been rumored to be getting some looks at inside linebacker. However, he struggled Monday night at the outside linebacker position.

Ideally, the Broncos would like to like to see some certainty at the inside linebacker position soon, especially with the reserves.