The 49ers had a lighter practice scheduled for Sunday, with the players working without pads and several players sitting out due to veteran maintenance days. What started out as a fairly monotonous practice, quickly turned into one of the more exciting days of training camp thus far, and I’ll share some notes I took down to break down what stood out to me.
Sunday was by FAR the best performance Garoppolo has had during camp. He looked significantly more confident from the jump and spent the majority of 11-on-11’s being much more decisive, throwing the ball downfield with authority.
The best throw of the day came on a ball Garoppolo threw 30 yards in the air to a streaking Deebo Samuel, placing the ball over the trailing defender and hitting Samuel in stride for a long touchdown. If Garoppolo continues to play with the confidence and aggressiveness he displayed on Sunday, there is no reason to believe he cannot pilot this team to a double-digit win season.
It was an up and down day for Lance, as it appeared he was never able to get into a rhythm during 11-on-11’s. He strung together a few impressive throws, and the way the ball jumps out of his hands when he throws outside the numbers is still as electrifying as ever. The arm talent is clearly there.
But so are the growing pains of a 21-year-old rookie, as Lance continues to let balls sail high, and timing with his receivers is still a bit of an issue. As talented as he is, we have to remember he is still acclimating to the NFL level, and a lot of these minor flaws will improve over time as he gets more reps with his skill position players.
Pads were off, so that nuance must be factored in before I say that Sunday was the best that Javon Kinlaw has looked during training camp. Kinlaw had a level of explosion off the line of scrimmage that I hadn’t seen yet during camp, parlaying that into a couple of pressures and a sack during 11-on-11s.
Kinlaw also looked good defending the run. It’s been a fantastic turnaround after struggling a bit against Alex Mack in particular in recent practices. If this is the Kinlaw the 49ers are going to get on a regular basis, their already loaded defensive line will be one of the best units in the league.
With Jimmie Ward sitting out of practice due to a veteran maintenance day, Hufanga took first-team reps in his place and looked great during 11-on-11s. Hufanga was a menace in the box defending the run, constantly blowing up plays at or near the line of scrimmage and showing tremendous discipline with his gap assignments.
Hufanga was also left playing single-high on more than one occasion, a sign the defensive staff likely feels comfortable with the strides he has made in coverage. Hufanga has frequently been one of the first on the field and one of the last off of it, and it’s gratifying seeing his hard work pay off with his rise up the depth chart.
Other notes from Sunday’s practice
Players who did not participate in practice:
- Samson Ebukam (minor leg swelling)
- Arik Armstead (groin tightness)
- Armstead and Ebukam worked off to the side during individual drills and neither player looked like they were limited in their movements, both likely held out as a precaution
Players sitting out due to rest/maintenance day:
- Nick Bosa
- Jimmie Ward
- Kyle Juszczyk
- Jalen Hurd