Photo credit: 49ers
Since D.J. Jones’ name came into the 49ers’ lexicon, there haven’t ever been doubts about his impact. He is an elite nose tackle who is growing into a more consistent pass rusher. But his frame presents problems, and he failed his sole goal of remaining healthy last season. That appears to be a problem this year, too.
The frustration for Jones and practice, 1-on-1 notes
Jones left practice during 11-on-11s with a shoulder injury, the severity of which is currently unknown. Before that, he was a domineering presence in 1-on-1s and Joey Hunt-ed the newly signed Hroniss Grassu one snap after Grassu stuffed him.
If you’re unfamiliar with what the term being “Joey Hunt-ed” means, here’s a reference point below. This is identical to what Jones did to Grassu on Thursday, with one hard jab to the chest toppling Grassu for a would-be sack.
— Coach Yac 🗣 (@Coach_Yac) August 19, 2020
Jones also displayed a rip move — he said over the summer he’d been working on rushing the passer — which was ruthlessly efficient. Tom Compton probably fared the best against Jones out of anyone, stuffing him once, and eventually being beaten and dropped to the ground after initially holding him off on a second rep.
The other most impressive defensive lineman on Thursday was Kentavius Street, who had to wait until the second half of the 2019 season to get his NFL debut after tearing his ACL as a rookie and dealing with complications. He was converted from a college end to mainly a three-technique and nose, but so far, has been playing at defensive end (a five-technique) and three-technique, much more like Arik Armstead than DeForest Buckner.
Street dominated rookie Colton McKivitz from end and on the interior with would-be sacks on two-straight reps. He did the same to McKivitz later. McKivitz was also beaten by Solomon Thomas and looks behind the pace.
Kerry Hyder also continued to look solid, a reliable backup off the edge.
Arik Armstead was in pads and was involved in pre-contact drills, but not in 1-on-1s or 11-on-11s.
Laken Tomlinson looked like the most reliable part of the interior offensive line, once pancaking Kevin Givens and looking staunch against Javon Kinlaw, for the most part, though Kinlaw definitely created pressure on a handful of reps. Kinlaw had an easy sack against Kofi Amichia, who had a rough day. It seems at this point, Kinlaw will excel against younger linemen, and struggle with more experienced ones while he works to refine his technique.
Dee Ford beat McGlinchey once with speed and did the same in 11-on-11s for a would-be sack. McGlinchey’s main issue appears to be dealing with speed rushers.
The best matchup of the day was Trent Williams versus Nick Bosa. Williams won three of four of their reps on Thursday, with Bosa forcing a pressure on the last rep, pushing Williams back into the pocket and flushing out the theoretical quarterback.
The rest of 11-on-11s
Reporters were on the far side of the field on Thursday, meaning it was one of those low-visibility days where practice is hard to view. The standouts from the day werenthe entire starting secondary (including the linebackers), who forced a plethora of incompletions.
The only real success the offense had was C.J. Beathard’s and Nick Mullens’ red zone session, when Beathard had a pair of touchdowns over the middle to Kendrick Bourne and Brandon. Aiyuk has looked impressive with the ball in his hands and the 49ers have thus far schemed him open on short passes and end around-type plays.
Mullens also had a touchdown over the middle to Ross Dwelley, who caught the ball outstretched and flung it into the fence to celebrate. Dwelley was active on Thursday, later making a nice grab down the right side of the field.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s red zone session featured three incompletions and a would-be sack by Dee Ford versus McGlinchey, with one short touchdown on a dump pass to Jerick McKinnon.
Some healthy scuffles
Thursday saw the first real skirmishes of camp. The main one came when Jared Jones-Smith successfully stopped Dion Jordan, but Jordan kept pushing and eventually went to the ground by the offensive linemen behind the pair. Words were exchanged, punches thrown and players broken up. McGlinchey gave Jones-Smith a bit of veteran advice (that sounds odd, but it’s the reality now) after the situation and defensive line coach Kris Kocurek talked to Jordan.
Jones-Smith pancaked Jordan on their next rep and then blocked him successfully the following rep. Jordan doesn’t look fantastic early.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan didn’t seem too bothered by the scuffles, but would review the tape to ensure they weren’t reckless.
“I liked the energy today, especially coming off a day off. Sometimes guys tend to have to wake up a little bit after that a few periods in, but guys came ready to go,” Shanahan said. “I thought it was probably one of our most physical days yet. There were some little scuffles there going back and forth, which is typical of camp around this time. We’ll see it all when we get on the film and stuff, but sometimes scuffles are okay. They wake everyone up a little bit, but I’m trying to make sure no one’s throwing punches or doing anything that would get us a penalty or them ejected in a game.”
The 49ers made a host of moves before practice began on Thursday. Below are the signings and their new numbers:
DB Evan Foster #46
S Johnathan Cyprien, #48
IOL Hroniss Grasu #50
WR Jaron Brown, #88 to a three-year deal.
To make way for the signings, Jalen Hurd was placed on Injured Reserve while CB DeMarkus Acy and LB Jonas Griffith were waived.