The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up the second of their two joint practices with the Denver Broncos on Thursday, and it’s just about game day. The 49ers and Broncos square off on Saturday, with a 6 p.m. PT kickoff.
The teams went with shorts and shoulder pads for this practice, so sort of a half-padded practice. It removes some of the impact of full contact, but there is still plenty of value to be gained from the joint practices. Reports suggest the offense had a better day, after struggling mightily on Wednesday. In team drills, Blaine Gabbert was 8-of-13, Jeff Driskel was 6-of-11, and Christian Ponder did not make any throws.
Chip Kelly said before practice that he thinks Christian Ponder will play on Saturday. They could keep him around as an emergency quarterback, but given injury potential, they might want to make sure Gabbert and Driskel don’t combine to take all the snaps.
Matt Maiocco said Tank Carradine looked good, with a couple sacks and strong work in a one-on-one drill. He had a solid preseason opener, and another quality performance on Saturday would go a long way in his push for playing time. I don’t think we see him move past Eli Harold on the general OLB depth chart, but I do think he becomes a primary pass rusher off the bench when the team goes into their nickel and dime packages.
Speaking of the pass rush, Aaron Lynch sat out practice due to getting poked in the eye in Wednesday’s scuffle. It sounds like there were more scuffles, and the Broncos got a talking to from their head coach.
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak calls his offense together after 4th fight of practice with #49ers, who didn't get same lecture from their coaches— Cam Inman (@CamInman) August 18, 2016
I wonder if the Broncos were the ones instigating things? Chip Kelly has said there’s no room for fighting in practice, so maybe the Broncos were starting stuff. Who knows, but it will be interesting to see if there are any rumblings during Saturday’s game.