The 49ers closed out their open practices in Houston with their second of two joint practices with the Texans. With a focus on the defense we saw quite a bit of improvement and appreciation for the opportunity. Friday’s walk thru is closed to the media, and Saturday is the game.
Here’s what we learned at the 49ers Texans joint practice on August 16th.
The running back position is working on a rotation so don’t overreact or read too much into who is playing where. Jeremy McNichols and Joe Williams have been taking snaps with the ones in Houston but Kyle Shanahan says that’s because he wants to give them all a chance to work with the starting offensive line to see what they can do. Raheem Mostert got quite a few reps with the ones earlier in the week and now is rotating with the twos and threes.
The learning curve
Everyone has been talking about how beneficial joint practices are from coaches to players. It is very evident when you look a two players in particular. Ahkello Witherspoon has made marked improvements already. He got caught out of position when covering DeAndre Hopkins allowing a completion and a few plays later did not. Richard Sherman has complemented Witherspoon about his ability to learn and not make the same mistake and that has been evident in practice.
Mike McGlinchey has also had a great opportunity to learn from veteran J.J. Watt. Joe Staley mentioned that the did not prepare McGlinchey at all for the task on hand, but instead left him to figure it out on his own. After getting beat by Watt in one on ones in the first practice, McGlinchey fared much better the second day which is very good news.
The right guard position has been known as a spot for competition for some time now. Just this week Joshua Garnett has been easing back into the rotation and in the second practice with the Texans, he saw time with the ones. Mike Person was solidly with the ones the day before and Jonathan
Goodwin Cooper is getting back into the mix as well, which indicates that we will likely see a rotation at right guard for at least a little while.
The tough decision
While many of the position battles could be deciphered through reps, the wide receiver position is going to be a tough one. Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin are solidly your one and two but after that the battle will be a close one. Dante Pettis and Richie James Jr. have stood out at camp as rookies, Trent Taylor is back to full strength, Aaron Burbridge Kendrick Bourne and Aldrick Robinson have all gotten notice for great plays at camp. It’s going to be interesting how the next two weeks before the regular season play out for these receivers.