Photo Credit: Chris Mezzavilla
After the first off day of training camp, the 49ers were back and decidedly not better than ever on Monday. The first few days had standout performances and a bit of a rhythm, but on Monday things seemed a little disjointed.
Both Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance were picked off, though Garoppolo was bailed out by a Dee Ford offsides; this was Ford’s first full involvement in team drills and he got caught twice for jumping offsides. He was not the only offender on the day, not by any stretch.
On training camp day five, this was as penalized and disjointed as the 49ers — on both sides of the ball — have been thus far. They went through their first full red zone series, when there were flags flying from the crew of NFL officials on seemingly every other play, whether it was an illegal formation, offsides, a false start, or pass interference on either side.
Kyle Shanahan said as much after practice, attributing much of the stumbling and bumbling to Sunday’s off day. He said they lacked the crispness they’d shown in the first four practices.
“I thought we were a little rusty today. Everyone got a day off yesterday. I didn’t think the defense was as crisp with our calls, when we changed our motions and stuff it seemed like there’s a little bit of hesitation with everyone,” Shanahan said. “When you’re grinding every day and then you get to relax for a day, sometimes your mind’s a little too relaxed and I thought the D started out that way. I thought that the O was a little bit sloppy also.”
Lance threw his first interception of camp to Jonas Griffith, who’s excelled thus far. He was targeting an in-cutting Brandon Aiyuk for a would-be touchdown, but the ball came out a beat late and Griffith did his best Fred Warner impression, snatching it over the middle.
This was definitely a much shakier practice from Lance, specifically in red zone drills. In addition to the interception, he also had an overthrow to George Kittle. That said, he was limited to more simpler passes like screens and balls to the flat, along with a healthy dose of read-option runs; on those plays, he’s demonstrated an outstanding knack for reading the rushing defender and knowing whether to hand the ball off or keep it.
Garoppolo also had a few shaky throws, throwing a near interception — also targeting Aiyuk — who was clamped by Jason Verrett. There was no opening to throw the ball. He did close his day out with a red zone touchdown to an in-cutting Kevin White on a nice throw.
He and Lance were much more limited today, only operating in sets of three reps at a time, which is fewer than in previous sessions. It may have been a concerted effort to involve both Nate Sudfeld and Josh Rosen more, and ease back into things before the first full padded practice on Tuesday.
The defensive line had a few nice moments, with Zach Kerr remaining stout in the run game, Kentavius Street finding himself in the backfield a few times, and both Jordan Willis and Arden Key finding a few would-be sacks. Some of those were coverage sacks, or hesitancy by Garoppolo to throw the ball.
Arik Armstead and Mike McGlinchey had a nice battle going on, with McGlinchey rebounding well after Armstead beat him once.
One of the few players who really stood out yet again was Ross Dwelley, who is having a hell of a camp. He’s made at least four nonsensically good catches, including one on Saturday which wasn’t intended for him. He caught one ball in double coverage against both Deommodore Lenoir and Tavon Wilson (who was extremely and hilariously wrong in thinking he’d broken up the pass), and another which Garoppolo feathered over the outstretched arm of Warner. It’s the first pass thus far — that I can remember — where Garoppolo tried Warner in that sort of a position and came out as the winner.
There were a handful of fumbles, too. One was inexplicable by JaMycal Hasty, who ruined what looked to be a nice, shifty run up the middle. Trey Sermon lost one out of bounds on the far sideline, and Garoppolo and Alex Mack had their second bad exchange of camp on a snap for what would have been a defensive fumble recovery.
Shanahan said those fumbles aren’t a result of Garoppolo and Mack getting accustomed to each other. He attributed Monday’s error as a result of “hiccups” on Mack’s end.
“No, Jimmy’s been taking snaps for a long time and Alex can snap,” Shanahan said. “Today’s one happened because I think Alex was making a call and just froze, so everyone went. Just got the hiccups and didn’t snap it right away. It happens sometimes, but hopefully it happens in practice and not the game.”
We’ll get a much better look at this team with pads on Tuesday; that should provide the best look at the 49ers’ running backs corps thus far, and a clearer picture of the offensive line.
Nick Bosa, Javon Kinlaw and Jalen Hurd were all present in practice, though only Kinlaw participated in team drills. Maurice Hurst, who sat out with a “slight ankle” injury returned, along with Dre Greenlaw, who missed Saturday’s practice with a foot blister.
Tim Harris Jr. was limited, while Dontae Johnson left practice with a foot injury, as did a worrisome injury to Azeez Al-Shaair, who was down for a while having his knees examined by team doctors before getting up and slowly walking to the locker room. Shanahan said the team is optimistic, though waiting on tests, that Al-Shaair’s injury is not severe. He’s been stellar thus far as the SAM linebacker.