Photo credit: 49ers
Another day of 49ers practice took place under poor air quality conditions on Saturday (above 150 AQI at the start), as fires continue to ravage the Bay Area and state of California. Unlike on Friday, when Tevin Coleman and Jaryd Jones-Smith were removed from practice due to air quality reaching a set, unacceptable level, no players were removed from practice on Saturday.
Injury, absence updates
- Nick Bosa sat out of practice on Saturday, something head coach Kyle Shanahan referred to as “maintenance.” Bosa did not finish 11-on-11s on Friday. He was present, however, in his uniform, but not in pads, to watch Saturday’s practice from the sidelines
- D.J. Jones had no issue with his shoulder, Shanahan said, after the team ran multiple tests which came back clean. He is, however, in concussion protocol, which is something the team found out while testing his shoulder. Shanahan said the team didn’t know when the concussion occurred, but he was somewhat relieved that his shoulder isn’t an issue.
- Ross Dwelley was not present during Saturday’s practice because “his foot was bothering him,” Shanahan said. That left George Kittle and two rookies in Charlie Woerner and Chase Harrell as the team’s only healthy tight ends.
- Jordan Reed was not seen doing conditioning, but can be presumed to have been working with the team’s strength and conditioning staff indoors. He won’t participate in contact drills in this block of practices, nor is it likely that he’ll participate in the next set of four practices. Shanahan said the team is working on getting him into shape, and given his history of myriad concussions, will take a highly cautious approach to introducing him to contact.
- Arik Armstead (back) continued to practice, but just like on Saturday, was limited, taking a few reps of 1-on-1s and 11-on-11s at the start of drills before observing for the remainder of time.
- Dee Ford took very few reps on Saturday.
Practice report: Impressive days from Witherspoon, Jennings, Daniels, McKivitz
- Javon Kinlaw still looks like he’ll struggle, especially in the early part of the year, getting stonewalled twice by Colton McKivitz, who had his best day of practice after some questionable performances in the first few. Kinlaw did have more success than in prior days, beating the usually staunch Laken Tomlinson in spectacular fashion, with power, and pressuring Daniel Brunskill.
- Dion Jordan continues to look like the worst edge rusher on the roster and Trent Williams stopped him twice with hilarious ease.
- William Sweet had a solid day, stopping the camp standout Kerry Hyder on back-to-back reps before Hyder pulled out a rip move to get back at him on the final rep
- Darrion Daniels was consistently good, beating Hroniss Grassu and then getting and easy sack against Ross Reynolds
- Saturday was one of those low-visibility days in which reporters had to watch drills from the the far sideline, rendering the trench battles just about invisible and meaning you could either choose to see the whole play or use binoculars to focus on a 1-on-1 battle and hope the ball went that way.
- Ahkello Witherspoon was absolutely fantastic on Saturday. He had an interception in red zone drills, fighting off Dante Pettis to steal the ball, had a pass breakup against J.J. Nelson, another one against a shallow target (looked like Jeff Wilson Jr.) and forced a late incompletion along the sideline. He looked verifiably elite.
- Jauan Jennings stood out on the other side with at least three catches on the day, one of which was a touchdown in the red zone. He broke one catch over the middle for a sizable gain after the catch. He has more speed than you’d expect from his somewhat awkward, lanky frame.
- Practice ended with a deep pass from Jimmy Garoppolo to Kendrick Bourne for what would be about a 70-plus yard touchdown. It appeared like a busted coverage, as Bourne came wide open over the top of Richard Sherman, who earlier had an interception for the second-straight day while covering George Kittle (who also had a nice catch down the left sideline earlier). Bourne described it as if Shanahan drew up a play specifically to beat Sherman, who Bourne said is made fun of for how he sits down in zones and reads the 49ers’ offense.
- Brandon Aiyuk also had another day with flashes of brilliance, making a few catches including a red zone TD, but had failed to reel in a deep pass down the right side against Emmanuel Moseley.
- Solomon Thomas said he played most of last season around 265 pounds, but anywhere from the range of 260-270 pounds. He said over the summer he added weight, now weighting 280-282 pounds and that he feels comfortable with his added weight and athleticism on the interior.
- Shanahan said it’s highly unlikely that the 49ers will have live tackling. “I planned on it going into camp… right now, I’ll be very surprised if I do… right now I think that’s too big of a risk… as of now, I don’t plan on doing any full tackling.”
- McKivitz, who looked more of an NFL guard than a natural tackle, where he played in college, is playing more at right guard. Shanahan said the team viewed him as a tackle, but is now seeing his versatility. That may be a nice way of saying he was getting beat badly at tackle and looks more comfortable at guard.
- The interceptions Jimmy Garoppolo threw to Sherman over the past two days are invaluable for correcting mistakes, Shanahan said. He seemed to intimate what Bourne said, about later exploiting Sherman’s propensity to sit down in coverage, saying:
- “A DB, if he’s squatting on every single route and covering the heck out of us, I’m hoping that we can call it go route to show him, ‘Hey, yeah, you’re doing good in these coverages, but we’re gonna run by you in this coverage.”
- Shanahan affirmed that he gets the final say in the starting corner competition:
- “I expect that always to be my final decision. But what it comes down to me is who covers people the best, who tackles the best, and who makes the least mistakes. And it’s pretty easy to see that stuff if you give all the same guys opportunities and they can stay healthy throughout all this.”