Dee Ford continues to look impressive at camp, while Talanoa Hufanga had his best day yet. The defense has won the majority of the battles a week into camp, which is expected.
The most promising aspect of the team continues to be the defensive line. Mo Hurst and Arden Key look like they’ll contribute as key backups.
“Initially, we thought it was a bunch of inflammation and tightening around those areas, so we just wanted to calm it down,” Ford said. “Initially, it was four to five weeks. Then, that turned into 10 weeks. Then, that turned into 15.”
The 49ers had termed Ford’s issue as “neck stiffness” when he was first sidelined last season.
“I actually learned something new,” Ford said. “We did think it was the upper spine, but it’s all connected and being that the issue started with the lower, it affected the upper. It’s a chain effect. Once one thing starts to get affected, it starts to compensate up top. We did a lot of testing. Just way down the line, checking down the box. Found problems, got solutions.”
“He’s been what we’ve thought,” Shanahan said Friday. “He loves to run around, loves to act like Troy Polamalu out there, still got a ways to go before he’s a Hall of Famer, but he’s done a good job. We enjoys his presence out there. He has fun. You can tell he enjoys playing football, he fits in well. I know he’s a guy that you can tell it goes up when he gets the pads on; he’s a lot more excited for the pads and you feel a little bit different energy out there.”
Hufanga helped make it a difficult day for Lance, which is funny to say given he went 8-of-13. That’s part of why just providing completions to assess quarterback performance in camp can be misleading. Garoppolo was 6-of-11, but looked more under control on Friday.
Due nearly $25 million this season, Garoppolo would make for a tricky trade candidate. A team like the Colts, should they have interest, would probably want to negotiate a pay cut without giving up a truly premium draft pick. Why would Garoppolo or the 49ers want to bother?
The 49ers would be paying a lot of money for security, but this 49ers roster is ready to compete for a Super Bowl. Shanahan and Lynch have suffered through three losing seasons out of four largely because of injuries, often at quarterback. Entering the season with both Lance and Garoppolo offers them the best chance to make it to the finish line without having to play backups Nate Sudfeld or Josh Rosen. Just don’t be surprised if Garoppolo is the backup in this equation as early as Week 1. It’s not about him.
2. Strong safety Talanoa Hufanga.
Struggles covering anyone during 1 on 1s, but makes play after play during 11 on 11s. Today, he stopped Trey Lance for no gain on a run, then stopped running back Elijah Mitchell for a two-yard loss. Hufanga is a playmaker, especially when he lines up close to the ball.
THE NOT SO GOOD
1. Cornerback Ken Webster.
Split time with Moseley at cornerback for the first-string defense and got beaten repeatedly by damn near every wide receiver on the roster. I’m convinced the 49ers play Webster with the starters just so Garoppolo has someone to pick on. The 49ers need to demote Webster pronto. Thomas and Lenoir are better than him right now.
2. Offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey.
Gave up his daily sack to Dee Ford. Good to know some things in life don’t change.
The right guard battle won’t officially be underway until rookie second-round pick Aaron Banks gets into the fold. Offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel indicated that’d be happening sooner than later. Shoring up the interior of the offensive line after having a revolving door at right guard over the last couple seasons is going to be a key component of a successful preseason for San Francisco.
In the mix: Aaron Banks, Daniel Brunskill, Tom Compton, Colton McKivitz
Predicted winner: Aaron Banks
A large portion of the criticism levied against Jamal Adams last season related to his pass coverage — which should be paramount in any DB’s skillset. While it feels a bit overly critical to poke holes in the game of a player who set the single season sack-record for DBs last season, it is fair to acknowledge the well-documented — albeit a bit overblown — coverage struggles that plagued Adams in 2020.
There are some moments that are simply confusing, too; moments like the one below, where Adams looked schematically lost and out of position — in the red zone. This is obviously concerning.
“It’s really frustrating,” Murray said. “You’re on a playoff type of team and you don’t make the playoffs, you look at all the negative things that we did to ourselves. That’s the most frustrating [thing]. You can accept getting beat, but when you do it yourself, it’s tough. It definitely frustrates you for sure.
“That never goes away.”
Running back Chase Edmonds said it’s “the elephant in the room” and “we folded — point blank. Period.”
Following Henderson are several undrafted free agents and seventh-round picks who have no NFL game experience but are battling for what could amount to significant playing time: Jones, Jake Funk, Raymond Calais and Otis Anderson.
“They’ve done a good job,” McVay said. “I’ve really be encouraged with what I’ve seen from Xavier. I think when you look at Jake Funk, he’s shown good maturity, Calais had a couple of nice runs out here today. Otis Anderson is a guy that, he’s got some skills.”