The 49ers closed training camp with their second practice with the Broncos. After a peaceful day without conflict, the second day saw several fights break out on the field, similar to last season’s practices in Denver. It was a shorter practice and players were just wearing shells and shorts. Here’s what we saw:
DeForest Buckner, Ronald Blair and Aaron Lynch continued to work together on the side field next to the weight room. Jimmie Ward was seen over there as well. Brock Coyle, Dontae Johnson and George Kittle were all full go today. NaVorro Bowman sustained a shoulder stinger during practice, which is normal, and sat out the second half of practice. Reuben Foster, who was supposed to be limited to no contact with an AC joint sprain, had a bit of contact when he was involved in one of the skirmishes.
Brawl or male bonding?
There were simultaneous fights on each of the fields. I was near the field with 49ers defense and the Broncos offense. The first smaller conflict started during red zone drills after the Broncos went six plays to score. Denver running back De’Angelo Henderson was pushed back out of the end zone after he made it across and his teammates didn’t like that. Things seemed to settle down and then it turned to a much larger melee where players were being held back by teammates.
I believe it started with Pita Taumoepenu being blind sided and Foster came to defend his teammate. Chaos ensued. Quinton Dial ended up holding Foster back and several of the Denver players were needed to restrain Menelik Watson who was yelling things that were NSFW.
On the other side of the field, Brian Hoyer threw a pass intended for Jeremy Kerley that was tipped by Broncos cornerback Chris Harris and subsequently picked by safety Justin Simmons. On the run back, Harris starting running towards Pierre Garçon who wanted no part of a crack back and hence turned to hit the corner. Garçon was not pleased about the turn of events and thus, a fight ensued.
After practice a few players mentioned these things are where you learn your teammates have your back. It’s part of team bonding.
C.J. Beathard moves up
After practice head coach Kyle Shanahan announced Beathard will be the #2 quarterback behind Hoyer. He hasn't decided exactly how much time he will get in Satuday’s game but he’s hoping the 1s get about 20 plays and then Beathard should carry the 2s through the beginning of the third quarter.
The Broncos offense has a better day
After a day of struggling, the Denver offense moved the ball a little better. Trevor Siemian, who looks to be ahead in the QB competition, had some nice completions to Marlon Brown and Demaryius Thomas. Thomas showed how hard he can be to cover if the ball is thrown to the right spot. The matchup between him and Rashard Robinson should be fun to watch.
Top defensive plays
While the Denver offense played better, there were still some stand out defensive plays. Because of the abbreviated practice and the fights on the field, there were only about 30 snaps for the 49ers defense in 11-on-11s. Quinton Dial, as per usual, swatted down a pass, this time thrown by Siemian. Bowman had a huge run stop, standing up C.J. Anderson at the line of scrimmage. K’Waun Williams almost had an interception on a Siemian pass he broke up.
Side notes on defense: Eli Harold saw time with the 1s today before Ahmad Brooks. This is not necessarily a line up change, but could be just to get him more reps after being out with a concussion. It could be giving Brooks a little bit of a break as well. Shayne Skov was fully suited up and full go in team drills.
Both teams have walk throughs tomorrow that are closed to the media. The game kicks off on Saturday 7:00 p.m. PT at Levi’s Stadium.