The 49ers still have to release a couple of players before 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday to get below the 85 player limit you’re allowed to have.
Javon Kinlaw didn’t practice on Monday after a break since Thursday’s practice after suffering a shoulder injury. Kinlaw will be week-to-week, but should we be worried?
For those interested, I broke down each of Trey Lance’s dropbacks during the first half. It’ll be linked below on YouTube.
Lance might not be the best option right now to help the 49ers win regular-season football games, but to say he is nowhere near ready is not the case, either.
He is getting closer all the time, and the first preseason game was a step in the right direction. The mistakes were even more important than his one “Wow!” play.
He is not ready to start, yet.
And that’s the key word: Yet.
Where is Lance lacking? And where does he need to focus his time and effort? The coaching staff will have some specific answers after this week.
• We saw good and bad from Trey Lance. Everyone saw the 80-yard touchdown—Lance rolled left, then flipped around and threw deep to his right—to 49ers camp star Trent Sherfield. And you probably also saw his impressive poise in finding Charlie Woerner for 34 yards out of his own end zone. But he also took four sacks and nearly threw a couple picks, which, again, underscores part of the deal we mentioned earlier. Going with a rookie will make for ups and downs. And if you’re a contender, it’s a little tougher to sign up for the downs that are inevitable with any rookie.
What surprised me the most about Lance was how active and explosive he is in the pocket. His feet, the width of them and the springiness of them, was almost Peyton Manning-esque. Footwork was an essential part of the Lance pre-draft process, when Kyle Shanahan had him evaluated by long-time confidant and former pupil John Beck, so there was no doubt Lance was going to look the part.
Blame nagging lower body injuries for Kittle’s descension out of the Top 10. Still, the fiery 49ers tight end found his way into the Top 50 despite playing in only eight games. Kittle again proved he’s the NFL’s best blocker at his position while recording a respectable 48 receptions (63 targets) for 634 yards and two TDs before landing on season-ending IR. His journey back to the top of “TE Mountain” should be fun to watch.
Returning from a year-long hiatus, Williams looked rejuvenated in 2020, and the 49ers handily rewarded the imposing left tackle by making him the highest-paid OL in NFL history. The performance that preceded the payday was flat-out dominant: per PFF, Williams played 957 snaps and allowed 19 pressures while grading out as the league’s best run-blocking tackle. Needless to say, the eight-time Pro Bowler is on another level, and the Niners offense stands to keep benefitting immensely from his presence.
Jennings played more snaps, 38, than any other 49ers pass catcher. That’s because he spent 10 days at the start of training camp on the reserve/COVID-19 list and Kyle Shanahan and staff want as much film on him as possible before making the final roster decision. Shanahan on Sunday said he liked what he saw from the 6-foot-3 wideout, including how he operated as a blocker.
“He’s a physical guy who loves to play football, and I wanted to see it transfer over to the game,” Shanahan said. “If you watched him in the running game — he really got after it, the maximum effort every play, how he dug out those safeties on blocks, how he was blocking on the backside (against) the corners. And when he got the opportunities when the ball was thrown to him, he came through.”
Generally, teams drafting that high don’t have the time or options to be patient. They throw their rookie in the mix hoping to catch lightning in a bottle or, at worst, make enough progress over a season that screams to the fan base (and owner) that things are trending in the right direction.
It’s why 15 of the past 16 quarterbacks selected in the top three have started at least 10 games as a rookie. But for as much as the idea of sitting and watching was foreign to Palmer, he looks back on his time behind Jon Kitna in Cincinnati as imperative to his development.