“First, you get worried for the man,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “Just hoping it was nothing serious. With what he was grabbing, got a little nervous for him. But once we got over there, realized there was no concerns. It was more of a relief than anything.”
Sherman sat on the grass and removed his shoe and sock. Saleh and general manager John Lynch where among those who came over, clearly concerned about the health of the team’s Pro Bowl cornerback. The entire 49ers’ defensive backfield went over to check on him.
After a short time, Sherman put on his sock and shoe, rose to his feet and returned to practice.
And just to prove he was OK, Sherman picked off a pass from Jimmy Garoppolo near the right sideline at the 5-yard line and returned it all the way for a would-be touchdown. Sherman has intercepted Garoppolo three times in camp this summer.
JIM TROTTER: Mike, my breakout player is someone who wasn’t even on the field last season. Or the season before that. San Francisco running back Jerick McKinnon missed the past two seasons after tearing his ACL shortly before the 2018 season opener, but he has looked healthy and explosive in training camp this year. Smart fantasy owners would be wise to grab him at some point, because I expect him to put up numbers. Remember, it was 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan who reminded reporters that there was a reason McKinnon was one of the team’s celebrated free-agent acquisitions in March 2018, when he left the Vikings to sign a four-year, potential $30 million deal that included a reported $18 million in guarantees.
McKinnon is only 28 years old and has relatively few miles on his tires. He never carried more than 159 times in any of his four seasons with the Vikings, during which he annually grew as a threat out of the backfield, his reception total going from 21 to 43 to 51 in his final three seasons. San Francisco has a talented young linebacker corps that can run with most backs, but no one has been able to keep pace with McKinnon during one-on-one drills in practice. My prediction is that’s simply a prelude of what’s to come when the real games start.
First the good news: It wasn’t nearly as bad as his five-interception fiasco that drew national attention during last year’s training camp.
The bad news: Jimmy Garoppolo struggled during a red-zone drill on Wednesday, throwing three interceptions, including a bad-decision attempt that was gathered in by his nemesis, Richard Sherman, at the 5-yard line and returned the length of the field for a touchdown.
Garoppolo is coming off perhaps the best passing season by a 49ers quarterback this century, one that saw him flirt with 4,000 passing yards and pull out colossal wins against the Saints, Rams and Seahawks in December.
Interceptions, however, were a weakness. He threw 13 in the regular season and another three in the postseason. Over the past three seasons, Garoppolo threw interceptions on 3 percent of his attempts, which ranked fourth-worst among qualifying quarterbacks behind Jameis Winston (3.8 percent), Baker Mayfield (3.4) and Sam Darnold (3.3).
The interception by Sherman seemed like a typical Garoppolo miscue. He was being pressured and threw off his back foot to his right in the direction of receiver Kendrick Bourne. Sherman easily diagnosed the play and swooped in for his third interception of Garoppolo in training camp.
“A year ago, we really didn’t know our identity,” Mostert said. “We had some idea of the type of guys that we had in the locker room. We didn’t necessarily know how to put it all together. And then that changed instantly once we got to that first game against the Bucs.
“You could just see how we all lifted each other, how we all worked out with each other, how we all were hanging out after meetings and all that type of stuff; going to dinner with each other’s families. That just correlated into an unbelievable season that we had last year.”
There’s one nugget in Kittle’s contract that’s yet to be explained. According to Over The Cap, he’s slated to earn $10 of “other bonus” money in 2021.
What might this relatively tiny bit of change be for?
Maybe it’s a joke by refund, an homage to Kittle’s early days, when 49ers tight ends coach Jon Embree would fine his rookie tight end $10 for every time he ran out of bounds instead of taking on a would-be tackler.
That’d tie in with neatly with Kittle’s primary goal with this contract. According to an interview Bechta gave to Mike Silver about these negotiations, Kittle was looking for a deal that’d allow him to unleash his worry-free self on the field. Kittle wants to play with that unbridled ebullience that he first embraced when he got sick of those $10 fines, and this contract should allow for that.