Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
SANTA CLARA – The injuries came in bunches today for the 49ers, on a Wednesday in which practice had already started with a shorthanded group. Here’s how that shook out:
Injury scares abound
Remember all that depth the 49ers have on the defensive line? There is not so much of that, at least not on Wednesday. The team began the day with three defensive lineman (plus Kapron Lewis-Moore, who’s on injured reserve), all out of drills.
#49ers not practicing on Day 10:
– DL Ronald Blair (groin)
– DL Dee Ford (knee)
– DL Jamell Garcia-Williams (concussion)
– G Joshua Garnett (finger)
– LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring)
– CB K'Waun Williams (knee)
– RB Jeff Wilson Jr. (calf)
— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) August 7, 2019
Once 11-on-11s got underway, that list only grew. Not too far into the drills, Jason Verrett came out with an ankle issue. Later on, Nick Bosa was down on the ground, and had his right ankle attended to for the next four plays before getting up and limping off the field. Marquise Goodwin also suffered a scare shortly before that, holding his right ankle before coming back in for a snap and running a route, discernibly without issue.
Both Bosa and Verrett will undergo MRIs on their ankles to determine the severity of their injuries, according to the 49ers.
The quarterback report
Garoppolo: 33 snaps, 9-for-15, 4 TD (all in a row in red zone), 1 INT (deflected), 1 would-be sack
All that really matters from Garoppolo’s day was the four touchdowns he threw, all of which were in succession. He did have three poor incompletions at the tail end of his reps (two back-to-back underthrown passes, then one overthrown) and had some other nice connections (a deep route to Goodwin, a few short passes), but considering the dead-last red zone efficiency of the 49ers last season, improvement in the red zone is a must, and the most noteworthy part of his reps.
Taking snaps from the 10- and 8-yard-lines, Garoppolo secured his first touchdown with an inch-perfect pass to Trent Taylor in the back of the end zone. At first, it looked like a sure interception, with Ahkello Witherspoon shutting down Deebo Samuel and Fred Warner tracking into the corner, but Garoppolo found Taylor perfectly in the back of the end zone (something, which had the slightest shade of, least with the surprise and location of the touchdown, like The Catch; it was of course, Will Clark day on Wednesday (8/7)).
He then hit George Kittle for a touchdown versus Kwon Alexander, who was probably the most involved he’s been in 11-on-11s up to this point, then hit Taylor for another touchdown against Richard Sherman, who, after that rep, was visibly upset as he headed to the sideline (Taylor, specifically, tends to get under the defense’s skin). Garoppolo returned once more to Kittle for his fourth-straight touchdown on a fade over Marcell Harris.
Garoppolo was also picked off for the second day in a row, again, on a deflection. A pass intended for George Kittle was tipped by Fred Warner and picked off by Richard Sherman.
Nick Mullens: 20 snaps, 8-for-14, 1 TD, 1 fumble (bad snap)
There’s something about Mullens with the second unit that just seems to just click on long drives. Mullens had his (at least) third long drive of training camp in the situational portion of 11-on-11s, and connected with Jalen Hurd and Ross Dwelley for a seven-play drive that ended with a touchdown. It was all about Dwelley, however. More on him below.
C.J. Beathard: 13 snaps, 3-for-5
The highlight of Beathard’s day was a beautiful throw and catch on a comeback to Dante Pettis. He was the victim of a drop by Levine Toilolo on a deep pass which should have been caught. Other than that, there was not too much to report on Beathard’s day.
The Ross Dwelley show
Barring injury, or Levine Toilolo developing a sudden case of speed and red zone perfection, Ross Dwelley will be the San Francisco 49ers’ second tight end when the season starts; and it’s not just because Garrett Celek is out. Dwelley, as head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke to on Tuesday, is “legit.” He’s impressed from the very start of training camp, and Wednesday was the height of that.
On the Mullens-led, seven-play touchdown drive, Dwelley caught four of the five completed passes (the final four completions) on a deep post, and three over the middle, including the final touchdown play. The second (third? units are inexact at this point) unit and Harris (the safety, not Tim Harris Jr., the corner) looked woefully outmatched by Dwelley.
“We didn’t know if he would be a practice squad guy or not and towards the end of preseason last year, he showed some stuff to where we put him on our practice squad and he continued to get better throughout the year in practice to where we ended up putting him up over, I think it was [Tennessee Titans TE] Cole Wick at the time, and he earned that third tight end spot,” said Shanahan on Wednesday. “He basically played Kittle every Wednesday, because Kittle was banged up a lot through the year, so he had to do his routes and everything. Just got better throughout the year and now this year, he’s a legit NFL player and he’s going to help us.”