The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their first day of joint practices with the Denver Broncos on Wednesday. The 49ers last held joint practices a year ago following their preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens. The two teams will hold one more practice on Thursday, and then square off on Saturday in a preseason contest.
An open practice means plenty of media on hand to break down a busy of practice. The 49ers offense faced the Broncos defense on one field, while the 49ers defense faced the Broncos offense on another field. I imagine it made it a little bit difficult for people to take in everything, but we are starting to get some practice reports. I've posted links to a few below, and I also dropped in the 49ers and Broncos media Twitter lists to check out.
Some of the players and coaches have referenced the altitude in preparation for this week. Based on the practice reports, it seems like the team took some time to get used to it, but once they did, they were in good shape. The reports consistently point to slow starts for both the offense and defense. The offense had the tempo going, but just was not executing like they would prefer.
However, the running theme of the reports was that the latter portion of practice looked particularly good. Antoine Bethea picked off Peyton Manning on one field, and Colin Kaepernick completed a deep touchdown pass to Garrett Celek on the other field. The 49ers defense managed two other picks of Brock Osweiler during team drills. We are seeing some aggression from this 49ers defense. It can backfire, but it can also lead to big plays.
We still have some shuffling going on for the offensive line and cornerback roles. Ian Silberman got another day at first team right guard, with Marcus Martin at center. Jordan Devey got some time at second team right guard, although it sounds like Andrew Tiller did some work there. Brandon Thomas was at second team left guard, with Patrick Miller and Trent Brown at the tackle spots, and Joe Looney at center.
The cornerback competition remains a fierce one with Dontae Johnson getting the work with Tramaine Brock. The team has continued rotating bodies, and I would not be surprised if we saw more rotation on Thursday. The more chances to get more cornerbacks work against Peyton Manning, the better.
Vance McDonald was sporting a walking boot as he deals with an ankle roll from the Cowboys game. Jim Tomsula said he would miss a few days. I would not be surprised if he did not play on Saturday. Craig Dahl is dealing with a back issue and sat out. That got us a combination of Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt at the two safety positions at one point. Philip Wheeler continues to deal with his muscle strain and did not practice. It sounds like Bruce Ellington was back on the field, though.
Coach Tomsula also said Bruce Miller did not practice while dealing with a personal matter. He is in Denver with the team, so hopefully it's just a short one day thing. In the meantime, Trey Millard got his first team work.
Here are the practice reports available thus far. I'll drop in links to more as I see them.