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49ers practice recap, May 31: Depth chart rotations continue

The 49ers had their second open OTA of the offseason workout program. Here’s what the beat writers observed.

The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their second media-open OTA on Wednesday, and will wrap up the second full week of OTAs on Friday. Jennifer Chan was on hand and will have a recap later this afternoon, but in the meantime, I wanted to take a look at what the other beat writers saw on Wednesday.

Offensive development

By all accounts, the defense is looking further along than the offense at this point, and considering the two schematic philosophies involved, this is not surprising. The defense has switched to a more simplified one-gap approach that preaches aggression. As Chris Biderman pointed out in his recap, no flags during OTAs means defenders might get a little more physical. There is no “live contact,” but incidental contact is going to happen. When players are a bit more aggressive without fear of flags it can show up.

Wednesday’s practice appears to have focused a lot on shorter passes. This will be a staple of the offense, and given the lack of big play quarterbacks on the roster, as Biderman said on Wednesday, this will be a defense focused on the run game and play action.

Offensive line

Speaking of that, the offensive line is going to be important in the short-term development of this offense. The line’s depth chart remains somewhat fluid, but some of the same names have been getting first team reps. According to Matt Barrows, the primary first team offensive line thus far has been LT Joe Staley, LG Zane Beadles, C Daniel Kilgore, RG Joshua Garnett, and RT Trent Brown. OT Garry Gilliam and OG Brandon Fusco have gotten some first team work as well, while Jeremy Zuttah remains sidelined with a leg injury. Garnett got some time at second string left guard as well.

Defensive lineup

There have been conflicting reports about how much work Keith Reaser got last week compared to Dontae Johnson. According to the yesterday’s practice reports, Johnson got more work at cornerback opposite Rashard Robinson. It seems like Johnson and Reaser will be the primary competitors opposite Robinson when training camp rolls around.

The current base defensive line has been Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, Earl Mitchell, and Tank Carradine. Solomon Thomas is the likely candidate to replace Carradine at that strong end spot, but we’ll likely see plenty of rotation all along the line.

Punt returner

The 49ers primary punt returner last season was Jeremy Kerley. On Wednesday, we saw several receivers get an opportunity, including Victor Bolden Jr., Rashad Ross, DeAndre Carter, Trent Taylor, and Marquise Goodwin.


  • Center Jeremy Zuttah, wide receiver Bruce Ellington, and running back Raheem Mostert all sat out with what Can Inman described as “apparent leg injuries.”
  • Reuben Foster continued his individual work. DC Robert Saleh would not comment on a potential training camp return, saying it was up to the training staff. Matt Barrows pointed out that Foster did get some individual position drills, including dropping in coverage and running to the ball. There is no chance for contact in the drills, so the 49ers are comfortable giving him that opportunity for now.
  • Vance McDonald was not at practice, with the beat writers describing it as a personal matter.

Practice reports
Cam Inman
Matt Barrows
Chris Biderman
Grant Cohn