The San Francisco 49ers return to practice on Wednesday following their first day off of training camp. Injuries were starting to mount heading into the fourth practice, and Daniel Kilgore mentioned legs starting to get a bit tired. The team had their first two padded practices of the year on Sunday and Monday, so it is not entirely surprising there was an adjustment period.
We’ll be looking at position battles specifically later this morning, but in the meantime, I thought I’d take a look at what we’ve learned generally the first four days, and what we have to look forward to these next four days of practice before their next day off. That next day off is Sunday, which will get us into game week for the first preseason matchup of the year, against the Kansas City Chiefs.
What we know: The 49ers placed rookie wide receiver B.J. Johnson on injured reserve, and will likely do the same with rookie linebacker Jimmie Gilbert once he clears waivers this afternoon. Rookie offensive lineman J.P. Flynn missed practice on Monday with a knee injury, and his status is unknown. S Eric Reid (ankle), TE George Kittle (hamstring), and CB Keith Reaser (knee) all missed practice as well, but all three are listed as day-to-day. Additionally, S Jaquiski Tartt injured somewhere around his ribs on Monday, and S Jimmie Ward (hamstring) remains on the PUP list.
What to look forward to: Kyle Shanahan said Ward is likely going to be out until the week of the Denver Broncos game. Shanahan said they weren’t sure whether Reid’s ankle injury was of the low or high sprain variety, but listing him as day-to-day suggests the former. Since the 49ers had a day off after Monday’s practice, hopefully Reid, Kittle, and Reaser’s absence was precautionary to give them back-to-back days off.
What we know: The team practiced in their base offense and defense the first four days. Kyle Shanahan said the plan was for base defense the first four days, and then getting into more situational work when they return from the off-day.
What to look forward to: We’ve gotten some ideas of the base depth chart, and now we get to see more looks like some of the sub packages on both sides of the ball.
What we know: He was cleared for the start of training camp, and he has three interceptions through the first four practices. He also has remained primarily with the third string defense. Ray-Ray Armstrong and Brock Coyle are handling middle and weak side linebacker on the second team, while NaVorro Bowman and Malcolm Smith are handling those roles on the first team.
What to look forward to: How soon does Foster move to the second team? Who loses their job from that duo? Shanahan said Foster’s third interception came on a play he had messed up the day before, so people will be on the look-out for potential mental mistakes.
What we know: Arik Armstead and Earl Mitchell have gotten a lot of positive press through the first four days. We have heard a bit less about Solomon Thomas and DeForest Buckner thus far. Elvis Dumervil is getting a lot of love from the offensive linemen, and Aaron Lynch came into camp under weight.
What to look forward to: I think the first preseason game will be when the big guys get further on the radar with full-on hitting as opposed to practice hitting. One-on-one battles are worth noting, but preseason games will give us more to assess.
What we know: Daniel Kilgore remains the starting center, Trent Brown remains the starting right tackle, and Brandon Fusco has supplanted Zane Beadles on the depth chart for the time being.
What to look forward to: I keep waiting to hear Jeremy Zuttah has taken over first team snaps, but we have not heard it yet. The same is true for Zane Beadles getting some first team snaps, but again, nothing. If things remain the same into the first preseason game, will that likely be the starting offensive line coming out of camp?
What we know: He came into camp having never fully reached his potential in Buffalo. Through four practices, he has been a regular on the practice highlight reel. Some of it might be related to question marks at the No. 2 cornerback position, but Kyle Shanahan’s offensive minded prowess could mean Goodwin is due for a breakout season.
What to look forward to: Whether or not he’ll be able to keep it up. And of course, what happens when he faces the Chiefs (and other teams’) cornerbacks.
What we know: The team is without its top three safeties due to injury. Jaquiski Tartt was serving as the backup to Jimmie Ward. With their absences, Lorenzo Jerome is now the No. 1 free safety, and Chanceller James is his backup. Eric Reid has been replaced by Vinnie Sunseri at strong safety.
What to look forward to: How soon do Tartt and Reid get back? Jerome has been a turnover machine dating back to college, but can he keep it up facing the 1s, including an incredibly speedy Marquise Goodwin?
What we know: Rashard Robinson remains a talkative, confident No. 1 cornerback. It remains to be seen how it will translate week-in and week-out, but there’s no doubting his confidence. The No. 2 cornerback remains a big question mark. Keith Reaser and Dontae Johnson have split first team snaps, and reports have not been particularly good. Ahkello Witherspoon is playing with the second team, and it sounds like his learning curve is coming along slowly.
What to look forward to: Reaser’s injury status is up in the air heading into practice today. If he sits out, will Johnson get all the first-team reps, or will Witherspoon? Or maybe we see somebody else entirely?
What we know: He has yet to get hurt in training camp.
What to look forward to: Will he remain healthy the rest of training camp?