The San Francisco 49ers on Thursday wrapped up their final practice before Saturday’s preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium. The team will go through walk-throughs on Friday in preparation.
Day 11 was dominated by the offense, with practice ending on successful two-minute drives led by both Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Mullens. Garoppolo completed 13 passes on 22 attempts throughout three different team periods - stationary, red zone and move-the-ball.
During the red zone work, Garoppolo found the endzone on four different plays. Two of his touchdowns were to receiver Trent Taylor, who’s become a go-to target all over the field for all three 49ers quarterbacks. On both plays, Taylor got open towards the front of the endzone, making for a relatively easy, risk-free completion for Garoppolo.
The final portion of practice revolved around moving the ball in a two-minute drill. The offense started on their side of the field and was tasked with scoring a touchdown to take the lead. Backup quarterback Nick Mullens and the second-string offense quickly marched down the field. Rookie receiver Jalen Hurd reeled in three receptions from Mullens on the drive, including one deep down the left side of the field. To cap it off. Mullens found rookie tight end Kaden Smith in the endzone, who twisted in the air to reach out and bring down the contested catch for a touchdown.
Garoppolo’s final drive wasn’t as smooth, but it got the job done. He completed passes to tight end George Kittle, running back Tevin Coleman and receiver Dante Pettis to keep the drive alive. As the offense neared the endzone, Garoppolo had to throw one pass away and had another fall incomplete to Pettis down the left sideline. On third-and-10, Garoppolo lofted a perfect pass right to receiver Jordan Matthews, who caught the ball and tapped his toes in bounds to keep the drive alive. On the final play, with four seconds left, Garoppolo found Taylor in the middle of the endzone for the score - the pair’s third touchdown on the day.
Second-year defensive back Tarvarius Moore authored a pair of highlight plays for the defense. In the red zone, Garoppolo targeted Pettis over the middle of the field. Moore read the quarterback and the route, darting forward and put himself between the ball and the receiver. It was a strong play from a mental standpoint.
Moore added another impressive play during the 49ers’ final move-the-ball period. Kittle came open down the left seam, slowly adjusting his route toward the sideline with linebacker Kwon Alexander in tow. Moore picked up on the play and began to streak toward Kittle from center field. Garoppolo fired the pass downfield and put the ball exactly where it had to be. Just as the ball hit Kittle in the hands, Moore reached Kittle, played his hands, and was able to knock the ball free in the endzone. It was the most eye-opening play we’ve seen from the secondary through 11 days of training camp.
- On Wednesday, both defensive lineman Nick Bosa and cornerback Jason Verrett suffered ankle sprains. Both injuries are described as significant and will keep both players out for the entire preseason. Kyle Shanahan said after practice that the 49ers hope both are ready for Week 1 of the regular season. Other plays in question for the start of 2019 is running back Jerick McKinnon (knee soreness), cornerback K’Waun Williams (knee scope) and center Weston Richburg (leg recovery).
- Shanahan seemed to emphasize utilizing running backs in the passing game on Thursday. Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Coleman all had solid days that included several receptions for each. All three caught touchdowns during the red zone period, as well.
- Kyle Shanahan was asked after practice who he felt had the strongest hands on the team. He replied with receivers Kendrick Bourne, Deebo Samuel, and Jalen Hurd. A strong endorsement for a former undrafted free agent and two rookies.
- Players that didn’t participate: DL Nick Bosa (ankle), CB Jason Verrett (ankle), DL Arik Armstead (calf), DL Ronald Blair (groin), DL Dee Ford (knee), DL Jamell Garcia-Williams (concussion), G Joshua Garnett (finger), LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring), CB K’Waun Williams (knee) RB Jeff Wilson Jr. (calf), T Joe Staley (vet day)
- The 49ers don’t return for another standard training camp practice until Tuesday, August 13th, at 10:15 am.