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Friday’s Practice recap: The defenses confidence is showing

Mike Person was seen in a walking boot after practice

SAN FRANCISCO 49ER PRACTICE SANTA CLARA Randy Vazquez/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images

Today was the first joint practice between the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos. Players on both teams were excited to get after it against someone wearing a different jersey. Here’s how today went.

Injury news

Trent Taylor was in crutches on a boot.

The only other players that didn’t practice today were George Kittle, Levine Toilolo, Julian Taylor, and DJ Jones. Weston Richburg is still rehabbing on the side during practice.

Greg Mabin was injured on Wednesday. The Niners signed former Green Bay Packer Quinten Rollins as his replacement. Rollins broke up a pass today in practice.

Starting right guard Mike Person was on crutches and with a walking boot on left foot after practice. No reporter saw when he went down during practice. He reportedly finished practice. That is....not good. We’ll update you with more details once they become available. Najee Toran is the next man up with Josh Garnett still missing time with finger surgery.

Jimmy bounces back

Jimmy Garoppolo started the day 4-of-4 during 11-on-11’s. He was 8-of-8 until a drop by Dante Pettis. The second-year receiver beat Linden Stephens and got behind the defense, but couldn’t hold onto the ball. The drops continue to be an issue for the talented wideout.

Garoppolo did throw another “bad” interception as if there’s such thing as a good one. Von Miller was coming off the edge and came down near Garoppolo’s legs as he threw. Jimmy threw a fadeaway and safety Justin Simmons intercepted it. Garoppolo finished 9-14, for those that care about practice stats. The good news is that Miller play was likely a sack, so there wouldn’t have been an interception.

We’ve talked a lot about how deep the running back position is. Jeff Wilson had a good day today. Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida haven’t done much to stand out. We know they can play, but the flashes have come from Wilson and Austin Walter during training camp.

Turnovers are fun

Instead of “Jimmy G threw five picks,” it’s okay to tip your hat to the defense. They were at it again today against Denver. A handful of pass breakups—a couple of them should have been interceptions—a forced fumble, and an interception. What’s standing out to me is that the best players are starting to stick out.

Richard Sherman broke up a couple of passes.

Fred Warner forced a fumble.

Tarvarius Moore, starting free safety, intercepted Joe Flacco and took it to the house. He’s good. There’s no need to pretend that he’s not anymore. There’s no need to act like what is not bringing more to the table than Jimmie Ward. Can you still use Ward? Of course. In Robert Saleh’s defense, you need a rangy free safety that can make plays against the pass. That’s Moore. Interceptions>big hits.

During his presser after practice today, Saleh said that Ward wouldn’t be handed the starting free safety job once he does return to practice and that Moore is making it very difficult. I hope that they are looking at this objectively, because if they are, Moore makes plays.

Sherman Sherman spoke to the media as well, and he talked about how the confidence on defense is light years ahead of where they were last year. He said that’s allowed them to make more plays. Guys are trusting what they see and playing faster. Because of that, they’ve been able to generate turnovers.

Aside from confidence, the energy is showing. A lot of that comes from the duo of Warner and Kwon Alexander. They feed off each other. Malcolm Smith made a play, Marcel Harris also broke up a pass. Denver had no answer for Deforest Buckner.

Sherman seemed impressed and acknowledged that they have been able to do this without Nick Bosa and Dee Ford. Are we staring at a top ten defense? The only thing preventing that is health.