Day 2 of training camp for the San Francisco 49ers continued the theme of defensive success that began on opening day. The front seven wasn’t quite as dominant on Sunday but was able to apply enough pressure to disrupt the offense consistently. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo only managed to complete 5 of 12 passes during the full team portions of practice.
The 49ers’ struggles on offense can be attributed to several factors. The most obvious was the consistent pressure from the defensive front, who practiced several linebacker and corner blitzes throughout the afternoon. The secondary also seemed much improved, with multiple pass breakups and forced turnovers. Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon had impressive pass breakups, both on passes from Garoppolo.
Witherspoon struggled on Saturday, with a trip in coverage resulting in the day’s biggest play from Garoppolo to receiver Jordan Matthews. He rebounded on Sunday. Witherspoon’s highlight play came during 7-on-7s, where he stepped in front of a Garoppolo pass intended for Dante Pettis on a slant route, intercepting the throw. Witherspoon’s primary competition for the starting role opposite Sherman will be Jason Verrett, who is still being slowly eased into action.
Positive plays were few and far between for the first-string offense. Running back Tevin Coleman had a good day, breaking off a pair of big runs to the right side and reeling in multiple catches. Unfortunately, he also fumbled when linebacker Fred Warner punched the ball out from behind. Coleman would’ve been tackled before the fumble in a live game, but the 49ers coaching staff prefers all defenders rally to the ball and attempt to force a turnover.
Trent Taylor was another standout on offense, taking a pair of 10-yard receptions for big yards after the catch. Both might have been touchdowns, but it’s hard to tell when defenders aren’t allowed to hit. Taylor appears to be noticeably faster and quicker than he was in 2018, after undergoing back surgery before the season. Taylor is likely to earn a prominent role this season so long as he makes the final 53-man roster.
Rookie receiver Jalen Hurd was involved in two different fights, one with cornerback Dontae Johnson and the other safety Antone Exum. Multiple punches were exchanged in the first fight while both players went to the ground in the second. After talking with Eric Crocker, it was determined that both plays revolved around Hurd’s physical style of blocking. If that’s the case, it would be looked at in a more positive light by the coaching staff. Kyle Shanahan made it very clear after practice that fights were not appreciated and would not be tolerated.
The mood isn't getting any lighter, as the 49ers return on Monday for the first padded practice of training camp.
- Cornerback Jason Verrett saw a small increase in the number of reps he was allowed. The former Los Angeles Chargers cornerback got some work in with the second-team defense during the 7-on-7 portion of practice. Verrett looks healthy after suffering a torn Achilles at the starting of training camp in 2018.
- Guard Josh Garnett dislocated a finger in his right hand during practice today. It was the second day in a row. It happened, having dislocated it on Saturday but was able to put it back in himself. This time, Garnett came off the field and did not return.
- Second-year defensive back D.J. Reed has moved to cornerback. On Sunday he played both nickel and outside, returning to his roots of playing that position at Kansas State. Reed has the versatility to play every spot in the secondary, which helps his chances of making the team’s final roster.
- Marquise Goodwin has begun to re-establish himself as one of the team’s top targets. He and Dante Pettis are among Garoppolo’s most favored wideouts so far. Goodwin made a trio of impressive receptions on Sunday, two of which went for over 20 yards. Goodwin also added a drop after breaking free of Richard Sherman on a deep curl route.