The San Francisco 49ers practiced on the far-field on Thursday, so it was difficult to see everything that went on, especially towards the latter part of the practice. We did get to see a good portion of the individual drills, though the wide receiver 1-on-1’s happened on the far-field.
There wasn’t much to see from the quarterbacks today. For the most part, they were all accurate and getting rid of the ball on time from what I could see. In training camp, that’s what we want. The one egregious miss came on a 3rd & short where Nick Mullens missed Jerick McKinnon on a “Texas” route out of the backfield. McKinnon beat the linebacker, but Mullens airmailed the throw.
Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t have a knee brace on at practice. To me, that’s not newsworthy. Most of the media made a big deal about it, but Garoppolo has made it clear that the knee brace has never really affected him as a player.
Judging by today, Raheem Mostert is “the guy,” and that’s refreshing. Mostert caught a touchdown near the goal line. He looks more comfortable catching the ball than a year ago. He also ran over Emmanuel Moseley early during team drills. Mostert isn’t noticeably bigger, but he runs hard. It’s evident he’s the best runner on the team, which isn’t news.
Tevin Coleman worked with the first-team. McKinnon did not. Coleman came in after Mostert and split out wide after motioning out of the backfield. We didn’t see that too often last year. Shanahan was asked what he likes about Coleman today. He said, “I like good running backs, and I consider Tevin a good running back. I like his power.” Shanahan said something along the lines of “it’s a little bit different when you hit him.”
Shanahan seems comfortable with both JaMycal Hasty, and Salvon Ahmed split out at wide receiver. Both UDFA’s look like they’re comfortable catching passes, though Ahmed did have a drop along the sideline.
Kendrick Bourne and Brandon Aiyuk start, with Trent Taylor coming in when the team goes to 11 personnel. That’s not surprising, but it’s nice to confirm the rotations. The next guys to rotate in were Dante Pettis, Shawn Poindexter, then Jauan Jennings.
Bourne had the catch of the day. He was running a short crossing route, reached out and snagged the pass with one hand, and scored. As you could imagine, he celebrated.
On Wednesday, the over/under for how many 49ers would have a rushing touchdown was hypothetically set at 6.5. Add Aiyuk to that list. He scored on a jet sweep in the red area today. Aiyuk had a couple of drops today, though. Dre Greenlaw poked the ball out of his hands at the last minute on an over route. There were a lot of bodies around, but it’s a catch you’d like to see Aiyuk make. Aiyuk did have a nice route in 1-on-1’s. I couldn’t see who he was going up against, but Aiyuk ran a short, in-breaking route and made the cornerback hop the other way. His athleticism is something that’s not on this roster, save Deebo Samuel. Aiyuk moves differently, and it doesn’t take long to notice.
Tavon Austin scored on an “arrow” route with the third team. The defensive backs won the day during 1-on-1’s. We’ll get to them.
One obvious thing is Shanahan is going to move these receivers around a ton. From motion to different splits, it will be tough to key on where the wideouts are lining up.
Ross Dwelley was active today. He made a nice diving catch in the end zone. Dwelley also got open underneath a couple of times. He’s the clear-cut backup to Kittle at this point. Shanahan did say that could change when Jordan Reed is healthy.
Charlie Woerner practiced with both the second and third teams. He’s had one target all week. Both he and Dwelley were on the field quite a bit together.
On the first play during team, George Kittle ran over Jamar Taylor, who probably didn’t expect to get steamrolled like that. Welcome to the squad, Jamar. Kittle blocking the safeties during 1-on-1’s is not a fair fight.
If you stand up right now and put both of your legs together, that’s the size of one of Trent Williams’s arms. He is a massive human being. He faced Nick Bosa in 1-on-1’s four times today, and Bosa didn’t come close to the quarterback. Bosa tried to win with an inside move, a bull-rush, a rip to the outside, and another outside speed rush, to no avail. Williams is impressive, and if he ended up as the best player on the roster by the end of the season, it wouldn’t be surprising. He’s that good.
Dee Ford beat Mike McGlinchey during the team period, and that led to a win on the play for the defense. Those two will make each other better.
During 1-on-1’s, Daniel Brunskill stoned Solomon Thomas on back-to-back rushes, then did the same to Kentavius Street. Laken Tomlinson also looked good during the period.
The offensive line won 1-on-1’s, but the defensive line gave up next to nothing during the team periods. The longest run of the day was for nine yards, though the offense did convert two short-yardage situations.
The most active player on the line today was a surprise: Kentavius Street. He made a few plays in the backfield against the 2’s. Street also had a productive 1-on-1 session, where he won against Colton McKivitz a couple of times. He looks like a confident athlete again. If the 49ers can get anything from Street this year, that’d be a huge bonus.
During 1-on-1’s, Javon Kinlaw had a nice rip move where he won. If he can develop a signature rush during the season, Kinlaw will be a problem. You’re not moving him against the run, as he showed today.
Nick Bosa praised Williams after practice. “You’re not going to beat Trent many times. I’m definitely confident in Jimmy’s left side.”
I mentioned that Greenlaw had a nice PBU today. In 1-on-1’s, Kwon Alexander beat Mostert.
Today was the Fred Warner show.
On the first rep of 1-on-1’s Warner set up a nice spin against Kyle Juszczyk, where he won. On warner’s next rep, he ran right by the back for a would-be sack. After he makes plays, he and Kwon have this long, drawn-out celebration that is hilarious.
Near the goal line, the offense tried to “high-low” Warner on a concept. Warner made a nice recovery carrying the tight end up the seam and somehow deflected a Jimmy Garoppolo pass, saving a touchdown. On the next play, Aiyuk ran a short crossing route, and Warner undercut the route to break it up. He’s a star.
Today, the rotations were Richard Sherman/Emmanuel Moseley, Jason Verrett/Ahkello Witherspoon, and Tim Harris/Jared Mayden. The cornerbacks won the majority of reps during 1-on-1’s. Sherm broke up a pass against Bourne in the end zone. Verrett intercepted a fade route, though I didn’t catch the receiver. Tim Harris had a nice pass breakup against Poindexter.
One DB coach was working with Moseley trying to get him to gain more depth on a route. Moseley is talented, but his inexperience still shows at times.
My initial reaction to seeing Jaquiski Tartt was, “did he get bigger?” It seems like it. Jimmie Ward made a few plays in coverage. His range is something that doesn’t get talked about enough.
There weren’t many noteworthy plays in the secondary at practice. Marcell Harris fell for the play-action and allowed Dwelley to get open.
The energy was great at practice, as was the competitiveness. I know it’s been a while since we’ve been able to say this, but this team’s talent is special. There are good players all over the place, which makes the battles fun.