The 49ers opened the first practice of minicamp to the media and it was structured very similarly to OTAs. There were calisthenics, individual drills, 11-on-11s and 7-on7s. We saw move the ball drills but no end zone work. There may be slight variations on day two but probably nothing drastic. Here’s what we learned in day one.
Richard Sherman is back doing individual drills with his position group but not participating in team drills. Trent Taylor had a procedure on his back to remove bone spurs a few weeks ago but is scheduled to be ready for training camp. Jimmie Ward tweaked an ankle and sat out of practice as did Marquise Goodwin for an undisclosed reason. Dekoda Watson sustained a calf injury during practice and did not finish.
Mike or Will? They will be interchangeable
Malcolm Smith and Reuben Foster finally played next to each other in practice with Smith as the MIKE. Kyle Shanahan noted prior to practice that they’d prefer to have Foster just running around with less to worry about although he did play MIKE at Alabama. When rookie Fred Warner has been on the field he has played at MIKE but Shanahan said there’s not too much of a difference, other than the need to communicate more.
Dante Pettis gets a chance to shine
When veteran players take time off, or are injured, it gives the younger players a chance for their moment in the spotlight. That’s exactly what happed for Pettis with Taylor and Goodwin sitting out for the day. Pettis worked with the 1s, 2s and 3s and caught everything that came his way including a deep ball thrown by C.J. Beathard 30 yards down the right sideline that was nearly a touchdown. Pettis held on to the ball while being well covered by Tarvarius Moore and going to the ground.
The defense won the day
It’s only one practice, but the offense seemed off. There were several false starts committed which made for a sloppy day as well as a number of “sacks” allowed. Without pads or tackling and the offense continuing the play, it’s not as easy to discern a sack but there were several times when it appeared that a defensive player reached the quarterback. Arik Armstead, Jerry Attaouchu, Jullian Taylor, Cassius Marsh, Solomon Thomas, K’Waun Williams and Foster all made it to the back field during the session.
Jimmy Garoppolo is human
Say it isn’t so. He’s human. While Garoppolo didn’t get a ton of help from his offensive line, committing penalties as noted above, he made mistakes of his own, not seeing Tyvis Powell jump the route on a pass intended for Aaron Burbridge. There were a couple of inaccurate passes as well as a few that were dropped, which didn’t help the offense’s cause. But don’t worry, Garoppolo still connected several times with Jerick McKinnon, Pierre Garcon, Aldrick Robinson and George Kittle.