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Golden Nuggets: Aiyuk is already impressing

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Monday, August 17, 2020

Washington State v Arizona State Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Sunday saw the 49ers in action again. Jalen Hurd went down with an injury, but there were no updates from Kyle Shanahan.

49ers rookie WR Brandon Aiyuk standing out in camp

Another standout day Sunday further confirms Shanahan’s thoughts on Aiyuk, and his rapid growth could be a difference maker for San Francisco early in the year, especially if Deebo Samuel misses time with a Jones fracture in his foot. There’s still a long way to go before Aiyuk is in the starting lineup and making an impact for the 49ers. He’s off to a very good start though through two full training camp practices.

Rookie receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings impressing Trent Taylor, 49ers teammates

“I think he’s a real intelligent guy,” Trent Taylor said of Aiyuk during a video conference call after practice. “He’s got his head on straight, the type of guy who’s never too high on the highs or too low on the lows. I think, from what we’ve seen so far, he’s been picking everything up pretty well, and he could end up being a great piece for us.”

Taylor was also asked about Jennings, who sounds just as focused.

“We ran one-on-ones for the first time today,” Taylor said, “and he made some great plays, ran some filthy routes out there. And I think it shocked all of us, the type of route-running ability that he actually has.

“I think he has great patience off the line, and he’s not a guy that gets too flustered when he gets caught in a bad situation in a route. I think he just keeps his head on the same level — not too high, not too low. I think he just loves the game of football, and that’s what helps him out.”

The Good and Not So Good from Day 2 of 49ers Training Camp

The Bad

2. Cornerback Richard Sherman.

Gave up a deep catch to Bourne during one on ones. The 49ers are using more man-to-man coverage than the past two seasons, a change which doesn’t necessarily bode well for Sherman, who’s great in zone coverage, but not so great man to man.

3. Cornerback Jason Verrett.

Took all the reps opposite Sherman with the first-team defense and gave up a 50-yard touchdown catch to Aiyuk. Let him run right by. The play looked like the touchdown catch Jason Verrett gave up against the Steelers last season. Might be time for him to retire. He’s just not the same player he was before the injuries.

4. Nose tackle D.J. Jones.

Looks overweight and out of shape after spending most of the offseason rehabbing. Was out of breath after just a couple reps. The 49ers need him to get in shape A.S.A.P

5. Defensive tackle Solomon Thomas.

Still can’t beat anyone as a pass rusher. He’s in great shape, but his strength and fitness doesn’t help him on the football field.

6. Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw.

Could not beat Laken Tomlinson during the one-on-one pass-rush drills. Kinlaw seemed overeager — normal for a rookie. He might improve as training camp goes on. But today wasn’t a promising start.

Joe Theismann: Alex Smith is already the 2020 Comeback Player of the Year

“He has gone through a lot more than I had to go through,” Theismann told John Keim of ESPN.com. “For me it was a question of the leg healing and then trying to do certain things required of the quarterback position. Alex came within 24 hours of losing his leg. I didn’t wind up with complications; he wound up with a tremendous amount of complications. It wasn’t just healing from a broken leg. The mountain he had to climb is so much greater.

“No matter what happens he’s already won the award for comeback player of the year.”

Jerick McKinnon’s route-running skills on display during 49ers practice

McKinnon showed those skills against man coverage on Sunday during a one-on-one session on the second day of practices. He easily beat second-year linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair on “choice” routes, in which he has the freedom to break off the route inside or outside, depending on how the defender is leaning.

“There are a lot of different ways you can run it. For me, Bobby T always tells us, ‘Win the route. Just win. Beat the man in front of you,’ ” McKinnon said of 49ers running backs coach Bobby Turner.

“So that’s what I try to do every time my number is called. Every time I’m running that route in one-on-ones, I just try to win and beat the man in front of me.”