49ers Notebook: A Richard Sherman scare, then interception, and another strong Dante Pettis showing

Photo Credit: 49ers – Terrell Lloyd


Training camp, at least by name, is nearly over. With a Thursday and Friday practice, the latter of which will be hosted in Levi’s Stadium, the 49ers’ training camp will be concluded. Of course, there is one more week before roster cuts are due, giving the team effectively one more week of quasi-camp, and a week following that to focus solely on preparing for the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals on September 13.

With two-and-a-half weeks to go, there is no shortage of injuries within the 49ers ranks, and they got their greatest, though shortest-lived injury scare yet on Wednesday.

Richard Sherman’s scary moment and return

For a brief moment on Wednesday, the collective hearts of the 49ers’ front office, coaching staff and defensive backs group all stopped.

The defensive backs group was participating in light tackling drills, where one player takes the place of a running back and the other player runs at them to practice their tackling form at something around half speed. There is no tackling to the ground.

Richard Sherman took the role of a running back in one of these reps, with Jaquiski Tartt as the tackler. Sherman looked like he wasn’t fully prepared for the contact, and got his feet tangled up as Tartt quasi-tackled him. Sherman’s left shoe slid partially off and he tripped and went down to the ground, holding his left ankle. He slammed his fists and tapped his head on the ground in frustration, looking to be in pretty significant pain.

Quickly the DBs huddled around him and Sherman got up. General manager John Lynch appeared, discernibly, out of thin air, with Kyle Shanahan and Robert Saleh flanking him soon after.

Sherman continued testing out the ankle for the next few minutes, and eventually, rejoined practice. It’s hard to imagine any other player being allowed that same luxury of returning. Dee Ford, who pulled up on Sunday with a calf issue after a 1-on-1 rep against Mike McGlinchey, seemed to plead with Shanahan to remain active in practice. Ford was not granted that opportunity, and remained out (he’s day-to-day) on Wednesday, but Sherman rejoined practice and participated in full on 11-on-11s.

Oh, and he picked off Jimmy Garoppolo, too. It was one of those “what on earth”-type head-scratching throws from Garoppolo, who targeted a triple-covered, never-open Kendrick Bourne. He does that pretty frequently during training camp. Instead, he found Sherman, who ran, at about 50 percent speed, into daylight, to the other end zone.

To be clear, calling it a pick-six would be inaccurate. No one pursued him. That’s like if I found a football on the goal line and ran it into the other end zone, untouched. With that same logic I could claim I scored a 100-yard touchdown against the 49ers.

It is the third interception for Sherman off Garoppolo in camp so far, and not even his most impressive. He also caught a deflected pass and jumped a route, which Garoppolo was obviously unprepared for.

That was also just the first of three Garoppolo interceptions on the day. The second was a pass broken up by Tim Harris Jr. against Charlie Woerner, which fell into the hands of safety Johnathan Cyprien. The final one was a ball deflected at the line of scrimmage which popped up for Javon Kinlaw to scoop up and run with. By the same logic as that Sherman interception, Kinlaw had a 60-yard interception return TD.

Sherman’s return to practice was, to understate it, a relief for Saleh.

“I was hoping it was nothing serious with what he was grabbing,” Saleh said. “I got a little nervous for him, but once we got over there, realized that when he talked through what he had gone through, saw there was no concern… He was hobbling a little bit, but he’s fine. He just needs a little bit of rehab, a little treatment. He’ll be alright.”

Practice report: Dante Pettis stands out again

Quarterbacks:

  • Jimmy Garoppolo was given his longest run of camp on Wednesday, going 14-for-23 with 3 INT and 3 TD. He had 17-straight reps with the team in red zone drills, during which he threw all of his interceptions and touchdowns. The three touchdowns followed the final interception by Kinlaw in quick succession, with one to Kendrick Bourne over the middle, one to Dante Pettis against Tarvarius Moore and one to Tavon Austin, which might need to be reviewed (just on the goal line). Two of the interceptions were deflected, but the one to Sherman was in triple coverage, and he had another incompletion which went to genuinely no one and might be called for intentional grounding. Not the best day from Garoppolo.
  • C.J. Beathard, though, had his greatest performance of camp. Whereas Garoppolo’s would-be situational drive resulted in an 0-for-3, Beathard’s 11-play drive saw him go 8-for-10, capped off by a touchdown over the middle to an elated Jauan Jennings and an offensive unit which was just as hyped as if it was a game. On that drive, Beathard connected with Jennings twice (to open and close it), JaMycal Hasty twice and Chase Harrell twice, as well as Josh Hokit and Shawn Poindexter. Beathard was 9-for-11 with that TD on the day.
  • Nick Mullens got very limited time on the field, going 1-for-3. His drive attempt sputtered and he went 0-for-2.

Standouts:

Dante Pettis had four catches on the day, opening with that touchdown from Garoppolo in the red zone period and ending the day better than anyone on the field. In Garoppolo’s final, and best set, Pettis had a catch over the middle against Emmanuel Moseley, then broke out an out route crisply against Kwon Alexander, and finished practice with an outstretched grab, again against Moseley, over the middle, this time covered tightly. It’s the type of catch he had no chance of making a year ago.

Chase Harrell is getting a run with Ross Dwelley still out and George Kittle getting limited reps. He flexed his athleticism in 1 on 1s against Johnathan Cyprien, and then against Tarvarius Moore with a well-covered grab. He had a pair of catches in Beathard’s drive down the field.

Kevin Givens looks like a domineering force on the inside, bullying Colton McKivitz twice and getting a would-be sack on Jimmy Garoppolo. He looks like a ready-made backup for D.J. Jones and presents a promising, physical pairing with Kentavius Street (or Solomon Thomas).

Absences/injuries:

  • Kyle Juszczyk was out Wednesday and was doing sideline work. This would normally be assumed as a vet day, but the team has not confirmed that. There was no prior news of injury for him.
  • Ross Dwelley (foot) remained out. There’s been no update on his condition.
  • George Kittle participated in practice through the first couple sets of 11-on-11s before going to work on individual strength/conditioning.
  • Marcell Harris was out with an unknown issue.

Scuffles: Fred Warner and Raheem Mostert were jawing at each other all practice, with the two shoving back and forth on multiple occasions. Warner has been stellar, but increasingly physical this camp, and Mostert received the brunt of that energy, which he clearly did not appreciate. Javon Kinlaw also got into a scuffle with Jaryd Jones-Smith after an extended rep against Justin Skule. It led to punches and both players being pulled off each other at the bottom of a pile.

 

Win!

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