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Training camp Day 3 recap: Explaining why the offense has struggled early on

Missing your best players doesn’t help

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

With Arik Armstead sidelined for a couple of weeks due to a knee sprain, the 49ers signed defensive linemen Tomasi Laulile to a one-year deal.

Day 3 of training camp was much more subdued from an energy standpoint than the previous two days. Friday’s practice saw more special team periods and a focus on individual drills.

Dre Greenlaw was in street clothes, as was Mike McGlinchey. Nick Bosa and Trent Williams had their helmets on but didn’t participate during team drills.

Offense struggles again

With both starting tackles sidelined, Colton McKivitz filled in on the left side, and Jaylon Moore held down the right side. Jake Brendel was the first-team center after Daniel Brunskill was in the same role Thursday.

Unsurprisingly, this led to a lot of scrambling and errant passes from Trey Lance, as well as minimal running lanes for the running backs. Speaking of the backfield, Trey Sermon received reps with the first team.

Jordan Mason, an undrafted free agent, had the best run of the day when he cut back an outside zone play for an impressive game. Mason’s vision was the best part of the play.

Drops were the story at receiver, as Brandon Aiyuk couldn’t hold onto a big gain, Ray-Ray McCloud dropped a deep corner route, and KeeSean Johnson failed to haul in a throw that hit him in stride over the middle in the chest. On a day where the starting quarterback was more decisive than the two previous days, his wideouts didn’t do a whole lot to help him.

Jauan Jennings made a sweet catch where he extended for the ball at the last possible moment. Malik Turner caught the lone deep ball as he did a nice job tracking it and holding on through contact. Both routes were caught over Ambry Thomas.

We’ll have a better opportunity to judge the offensive line and the offense in general once the pads come on, as that’s when the physicality will ramp up. After practice, Nick Bosa talked about working on his finesse moves without shoulder pads. That was a telling statement and gave you insight into how little there is to take away from non-padded practices.

Lance finished the day 4-of-11. I mentioned the drops above. He’s quite good in the pocket when it comes to being unbothered by the rush and keeping his eyes down the field. That’s far more vital to his success than some of Lance’s misses.

Much like yesterday, when the misses, Lance misses badly. For example, on one play-action pass, Lance attempted to throw it down the field on a corner route to Aiyuk, and the pass turned into a duck immediately and was underthrown by several yards.

It seems as though Lance’s timing/sequencing is off. I’m not sure whether his shoulders and feet aren’t married to his target, and that’s what’s causing the inaccuracy, or he’s aiming his throws. Whatever the case may be, that’s something that needs to be fixed.

Below, Jordan Elliot and I give a recap of what we saw during today’s practice. Again, not much to take away due to a lighter day at the office for the 49ers. Jordan’s player of the day went to Mo Hurst. The backups get over on the offensive line, too. Charles Omenihu and Robert Nkemdiche had would-be sacks.

Tune in below for the rest of the recap during today’s practice:

It’s important to remember that this is practice. Once the season rolls around, nobody will remember how a player looked in July. For the 49ers, they always talk about stacking days. The goal is for each player, from Lance to the last guy fighting for a roster spot, to continue to progress and get better each day.