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What we learned at the 49ers first open practice of OTAs

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Media was allowed to watch day two of OTAs - much was as expected but there were a few new twists.

Jennifer Chan

NFL teams are required to allow media to watch one day of each week of OTAs or Organized Team Activities that happen before mandatory minicamp. We got our first look at the 2018 team and saw much that was familiar from last year, and a few new elements. Here a few things that we learned.

Richard Sherman is very involved

Sherman was very vocal and involved throughout practice. He was throwing footballs to his fellow members of the secondary when they were drilling and was yelling encouragement and compliments when they made great plays in 11-on-11 drills. At one point after a play he even told Emmanuel Moseley, “That was some good ass coverage.”

Jerick McKinnon is everywhere

Right from the beginning of 11-on-11s, McKinnon was everywhere with the 1s taking handoffs and catching short passes in the flat. He showed his speed on his first run from scrimmage, taking off very quickly on the left edge of the field. Matt Breida took reps with the 1s when McKinnon took a breather. Joe Williams and Raheem Mostert took the majority of the reps with the 2s.

Mike McGlinchey gets some work with the 1s

The offensive line will be a work in progress as the team goes through OTAs and minicamp but one of the combinations included McGlinchey at RT, Joshua Garnett at RG, Weston Richburg at C, Laken Tomlinson at LG, and of course Joe Staley at LT. Garnett alternated with Mike Person, and didn’t take all of the reps with the 1s but worked with both the 1s and 2s. When Jonathan Cooper returns to practicing with the team during training camp, things could change again.

Malcolm Smith gets the most reps at the MIKE position

Rookie Fred Warner played in that position as well learning how to make the calls and communicate to the defense. Smith’s familiarity with the defense makes him a natural fit at the role.

Jimmy Garoppolo spread the ball around the offense

Garoppolo looked as comfortable as ever getting everyone involved in the offense. Receivers included McKinnon, Marquise Goodwin, Kyle Juszczyk, Cole Hikutini, George Kittle, and Matt Breida. These practices are unpadded and non contact but it appeared that Garoppolo was only “sacked” once, and threw no interceptions.

DeForest Buckner says the defense is picking up where they left off

It’s a big year for Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas, with both having a lot to prove. Buckner says that the chemistry continues to grow between all of them. The line was rounded out by Earl Mitchell. The 1s on the secondary included Jimmie Ward, Adrian Colbert, Ahkello Witherspoon and Jaquiski Tartt.

Stand out plays

  • McKinnon’s first carry from scrimmage up the left side of the field for a first down and then some.
  • Goodwin high pointed a ball thrown by Garoppolo while being covered by Witherspoon
  • Tartt with a PBU on a Garoppolo pass to Garrett Celek
  • Witherspoon with a PBU on a Garoppolo pass to Aldrick Robinson
  • Garoppolo to Goodwin for 20+ yards while being covered by Ward
  • Mark Nzeocha swatting down a Nick Mullens pass intended for Dante Pettis
  • Sheldon Day swatting down a Mullens pass at the LOS
  • K’Waun Williams with a PBU on a C.J. Beathard pass intended for Robinson

The next practice available to the media is Wednesday May 30th.