Day 2 of 49ers training camp belonged to the defense — more than Day 1. The offense looked like a work in progress, which is expected as Deebo Samuel continued to run along the side and Trent Williams was excused again.
Although Samuel didn’t practice, Trey Lance confirmed that Deebo has been participating in team meetings.
Arik Armstead wasn’t at practice, either. Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans didn’t comment as to why. In his place, Charles Omenihu played 3-technique as opposed to a traditional defensive tackle. I found that interesting. It gives the defensive line the athletic edge and allows Ryans to get his guys on the move, causing confusion for the offensive line.
It was a light day for Nick Bosa, as he sat out one period, Mike McGlinchey and Javon Kinlaw. When McGlinchey was out, Jaylon Moore filled in at right tackle.
The most notable part about the offensive line was the team giving Spencer Burford all of the first-team reps for the second day in a row at right guard. From my vantage point, Burford’s athleticism and ability to get to his spots in the running game stand out. We’ll see how he holds up in pass protection once the pads come on.
Jake Brendel and Daniel Brunskill alternated at center with the first team. That’s a battle that’s unlikely to be resolved any time soon.
If there were any questions about the secondary, Thursday’s practice would quell them for a few days. On 35 passes, the defensive backs intercepted four and broke up seven other throws.
Lance and Nate Sudfeld threw one interception, with Brock Purdy completing two passes to the defense. If we’re focusing on the starters, each broke up a pass. Jimmie Ward had the lone interception between the starters.
Ward was guarding Kittle and came off his option route — something Lance didn’t expect — jumping in front of Brandon Aiyuk to secure the turnover.
Emmanuel Moseley and Charvarius Ward contested each target they had. The duo is impressive. I’d go as far as to say Ward looks bored already and is ready for a new challenge. He broke up a couple of passes and appeared to be the much-needed press cornerback the Niners have been searching for.
Moseley had a pass breakup against Aiyuk on a deep pass down the sideline where Aiyuk got his hands on the ball first, but E-man didn’t quit and finished the play by not only poking the ball out but forcing Aiyuk out of bounds.
Talanoa Hufanga, in a specific role, can be dynamite for the 49ers. At his best, Hufanga lurks over the middle of the field, looking to get downhill against the run and jump on any crossing routes. Hufanga’s pass breakup came on a play that appeared to be an explosive play as Ray-Ray McCloud was open, but the second-year safety got a great jump and dove in front of McCloud for a pass breakup.
Before this season is over there will be alot of chatter about this @49ers secondary being amongst the best in football. Mark it down. @itslilmooney and @Mannymoseley are a problem! Jimmie Ward has been playing at a ProBowl level for years and look for @TalanoaHufanga to shine— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) July 28, 2022
Lance learning the ropes
Lance finished 7-of-15 on the day. Two days into training camp, it's clear that he’s a quarterback willing to fit the ball into a keyhole. Lance has plenty of confidence in his arm.
He’s calm in the pocket and isn’t flustered by the pressure. That’s good. He’s also a bit indecisive at times and needs to speed up. That’s bad. One thing I’ll be keeping an eye on as training camp goes on is whether or not Lance is processing what the defense throws at him.
When Lance misses, he misses badly. He had a few errant throws today that would have made you cover your eyes. One was a simple 5-yard in route to Jauan Jennings that was off by 4-5 yards.
His interception to Jimmie Ward was a Jimmy G. special where he threw it right to the underneath defender without acknowledging where he came from.
There will be a few more deep shots with Lance under center, but the offense remains largely unchanged. The biggest difference is that we’re seeing many isolation routes being thrown outside of the numbers.
Between speed outs and hinge (a 10-12 yard curl where the wideout drifts toward the sideline) routes, those are gimme completions that move the chains and are nearly impossible to stop unless the cornerback is sitting on the route.
Just a guess, but something tells me Lance will be better when Bosa has to go against Trent Williams as opposed to anybody else, and his All-Pro receiver is on the field.