With the third day of training camp practices in the books, the 49ers are now in pads, and some answers to the major questions are beginning to materialize. New faces, along with returning veterans alike, having been making some great plays as we creep toward the preseason games and eventual roster cuts. A handful of the older guys (Joe Staley, Earl Mitchel, Pierre Garcon, Richard Sherman) were given the day off, as a veteran courtesy, which opened up some opportunities for the younger guys to get reps in with the first team. The NFI and PUP squads remained the same, and tackle Garry Gilliam sat the day out with an elbow injury.
Perhaps the biggest story from Saturday’s practices was the success of RB Joe Williams. After an anonymous rookie season, apparently came to camp ready to compete. Kyle Shanahan would later remark on Williams’ speed and decisiveness as keys to the biggest play of the day, a 60+ yard touchdown run as he exploded through the line for the long score. Williams had some success last preseason, but fumbling issues put a damper on his performances before he was shut down for the season. Shanahan would also go on to remark on Williams’ mental toughness, praising the young back’s growth, mentality-wise.
The linebacking corps had a good day, as the return of pads plays directly to the strengths of run-stopping Renaissance man Reuben Foster - who, by all accounts, had a big day drilling running backs over and over. Rookie Fred Warner, who is usually praised for his coverage ability, flashed some similar toughness in run support as well. It’s hard to not be excited to see what this group can do.
Other than that, Jimmie Ward filled in for Sherman, who, as previously mentioned, was off on a veteran courtesy day. There has been no mention of him getting burned or bullied, so that’s a fairly good sign. Jimmy Garoppolo’s woes in the deep game continue to plague him, despite sustained success at the short and intermediate levels. Shanahan vows to continue giving him opportunities, in the hopes that practice will help him improve this weakness. The wide receiver corps played well as a whole, as Dante Pettis has displayed some really impressive footwork and ability to avoid defenders, and Richie James Jr. continues to impress through training camp.
The team will hold their fourth practice today, before taking Monday off.
Winners and losers from day 3 of camp | Lowder, Ninerswire
Kyle Shanahan breaks down day 3 of camp | Lowder, Ninerswire
CJ Beathard on Jimmy Garoppolo | Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area
Ahkello Witherspoon on the next step | Branch, SF Gate