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Golden Nuggets: All eyes on Garoppolo and Lance after the 49ers first practice

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Thursday, July 29, 2021

San Francisco 49ers Training Camp Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

There’s a rush to judgment to evaluate players. That’s the case for the 49ers after their first training camp practice. The questions Kyle Shanahan was asked after the players took 10-15 team reps are only a sign of what’s to come.

Let’s enjoy the process.

Analyzing Day 1 of the 49ers Quarterback Competition

JIMMY GAROPPOLO

He played the best I’ve ever seen him play in training camp. He completed 9 of 11 pass attempts, and made a few “wow” plays. First, on third and long, in the face of a blitzing Fred Warner, Garoppolo flicked a pass off his back foot to Trent Sherfield for a first down. Call that vintage Garoppolo. Next, on third and five, Garoppolo scrambled to his right and fired a pass on the run to Aiyuk for a first down. Finally, Garoppolo faked a handoff, rolled left and, without setting his feet, completed a 20-yard pass over a defender to Aiyuk.

Garoppolo looks sharp and confident, which is great news for the Houston Texans, who might want to trade for Garoppolo when they finally deal Deshaun Watson. If Garoppolo keeps playing like he did today, the Texans just might trade a first rounder for him.

Observations from the 49ers First Training Camp Practice of 2021

- Mohamed Sanu was on the receiving end of another Garoppolo highlight play. In tight coverage, the wideout got two feet in bounds along the left sideline while hauling in a 10-yard contested pass with his fingertips.

Sanu impressed in his first camp with the 49ers. Shanahan said post-practice that he resembles the wideout he coached during their time together with the Atlanta Falcons. The head coach said Sanu’s in a “much better place” this year, compared to his short stint with the 49ers in 2020.

- Garoppolo was 9-of-10 on the day.

Here’s what we saw and heard at Trey Lance’s first day of training camp with the 49ers

Back to the issues with the snap counts, it appeared Lance made an adjustment later in practice when he drew the defensive line off-sides with a hard count. He took the free play and chucked a ball deep to a receiver down the field, which he’s coached to do, but the ball was caught by safety Tony Jefferson, who couldn’t get his feet in bounds for the interception. Still, taking the free play and making an aggressive throw downfield knowing the defensive penalty is coming is a sign Lance has a good grasp of things mentally.

Shanahan praised Lance for his work away from the facility for 40 days since the end of minicamp in June and this week.

Kyle Shanahan says 49ers will continue to ‘be smart’ with Dee Ford

“I’ve seen the history, and we’ve got to be smart with it,” head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters after practice. “It’s been a tough situation for him and us, just going through it and the sensitivity of his injury. I try to never get too high or too low with it. I mean, if Dee Ford’s healthy and can play, we all know how much he’s going to help us and how much he did when he was healthy in 2019.”

“I keep my fingers crossed, but I sit there, and I’m not going to hope or wish,” Shanahan continued. “We’re just going to go about our business, and if things work out for him, it’s going to be a hell of a deal for him, and it’s a hell of a deal for the Niners.”

Garoppolo, Lance shine in first day of 49ers training camp

I was impressed with both of them in OTAs,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said following the team’s first practice of the summer. “And I’ve only been around them one practice now, but they seemed sharp today.”

The performances of Garoppolo and Lance, highlighted by several high-difficult, tight-window completions, were obvious bright spots for a team that had unsteady play from its quarterbacks during the 6-10 season of 2020.

Both quarterbacks spread the ball around, with Deebo Samuel on the receiving end of a couple notable completions.