The 49ers closed out one of their last two open practices in Santa Clara before traveling to Houston for two joint practices with the Texans. The practices after this week will be closed to fans and for media after they complete warm ups. Here are a few storylines to follow as the team closes out training camp.
I don’t want to jinx the team at this point but it’s difficult to not say how lucky the team is in regards to how the injuries have not ended up being very serious. Jerick McKinnon’s knee injury was ruled a muscle strain after he stopped practicing half way through the session on Sunday. Both Matt Breida and George Kittle have separated shoulders and should be good to go for week one. None of these players look to practice this week or play in the preseason game facing the Texans. Both Breida and Kittle will hopefully be available for week one facing the Vikings. Solomon Thomas was outside watching practice which is also a good sign in recovering from concussion symptoms.
No more one-on-ones?
The team moved on from one on ones today as they will have an opportunity to face new opponents in a couple of days. They could be curbing drills that could potentially cause injuries, or they could be just waiting for their joint practices with the Texans.
Lots of depth
The wide receiving group continues to impress, and it’s really all of them who are having a great training camp. The rookies have really shown up in practices and in the game facing Dallas. Richie James is unimpressed with his own game winning touchdown catch and Dante Pettis has made huge plays in the first game and at practice. Guys who may have been considered on the bubble have done well of late as well. Aldrick Robinson has been making ridiculous contested catches as has Aaron Burbridge. The team need not make a decision on Victor Bolden Jr. yet as he will be suspended for the first four games. And then there’s still Trent Taylor, Kendrick Bourne, Max McCaffrey, Steven Dunbar and of course Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin.
Not enough depth
Just as one gets healthier in the linebacking group, another one needs to tend to an injury. Thankfully Brock Coyle was able to practice this week after losing Malcolm Smith to a hamstring injury facing the Cowboys. The team is still without Fred Warner who has a nagging pectoral contusion so we are seeing a lot of Reuben Foster and whomever is healthy with the ones and Elijah Lee and Korey Toomer with the twos and threes.
Knowing you want updates on the linemen and how they are progressing and building chemistry, that will be a project for time spent in Houston at joint practices. Without one-on-ones and/or tackling it is a tough task. What looks like it would be a sack at practice may not be one in a real game situation. Case and point was at the beginning of the preseason game facing Dallas where DeForest Buckner got through for what should have been a sack but he ended up needing the assist from Solomon Thomas to bring the quarterback down. In practice they pull up short of hitting the QB so when the task is to bring them down completely it may take some reprogramming and retraining.
The 49ers have one open more practice at home before heading to Houston for joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday is a closed media walk through prior to the game on Saturday night.