The 49ers had their first joint practice of 2018 with the Texans and we got to see a few different things. While the structure of the practice was pretty similar, facing another team is always productive with both teams benefiting. There is still no live contact but the players are “thudding” up.
Here’s what we learned at practice on 8/15:
There’s a first time for everything
At the very beginning of practice there was a little scuffle between Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins and cornerback Jimmie Ward. It was the first skirmish of training camp for both teams. Both players were ejected from practice for they behavior which was previously decided by both head coaches. Ward stayed close by running short distances with Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams.
Sherman is itching to come back
Richard Sherman participated in individual drills but not in team drills, which is not what he really wanted. The coaching staff is trying to be smart about working him back into the fold. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh explains:
“Kyle had to an inner demon fight with himself to not listen to what Sherm was going to bring to him. Sherm wants to be out here, especially coming on the road and practicing in another environment. He wants to be here. He wants to be with his teammates, and that’s the type of man he is. So, he’ll get his opportunity, but we’re trying to be as smart as we can with it.”
The running back rotation
There were some new faces in new places at practice. Joe Williams rejoined the team after a short personal absence and Alfred Morris passed his physical and was already participating in team drills. Morris worked primarily with the twos and threes while Williams and Jeremy McNichols saw time with the ones. Raheem Mostert who has been working primarily with the ones saw time with the twos and threes. While it is a little different, don’t read too much into this as we are still in training camp and they want to give players different looks. Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida watched practice standing next to the offense on the sidelines.
We will really see the progress of the offensive and defensive lines in Saturday’s game but for now we can assess technique, as the players are not doing any live tackling. We did see rookie Mike McGlinchey go up against J.J. Watt a few times which is one of the best learning experiences you could have as a rookie. It will be interesting to see how it plays out in a game situation. As far as the right guard competition, Mike Person was solidly taking reps worth the ones while Joshua Garnett and Jonathan Cooper rotated with the twos and threes.