Better day for Brock Purdy and Sam Darnold; Observations from day 3 of 49ers training camp

Here is what stood out from the 49ers third day of training camp in Santa Clara.

Brock Purdy

Purdy continued the process of getting back in the groove. His numbers were better than yesterday, 6-12 overall with all throws coming in team drills.

It still looks like there’s a way to go before he gets back to where he was prior to the injury.

Purdy started the day off by hitting the throw he missed to open practice on Thursday. After hitting a checkdown to Christian McCaffrey he threw a short pass behind Brayden Willis and cornerback Isaiah Oliver nearly came away with an interception.

The second-year quarterback finished practice strong, completing three of his final four attempts, with the lone incompletion coming on a drop by George Kittle. Purdy made a pair of strong throws to Christian McCaffrey along with fitting the ball between two defenders for a 25-yard completion to Deebo Samuel.

Trey Lance

For the second practice in a row Lance completed just two of five attempts while splitting reps with Sam Darnold.

It was a rough start for Lance. On his first play he rolled to his right off play action and had Brayden Willis open in the flat, but the short pass came up short. On his next throw, Lance had Jordan Mason open in the right flat but threw well behind the running back.

The next couple of drop backs saw Lance use his legs to pick up positive yardage. Both plays featured good coverage downfield and Lance did a good job of keeping the play alive with his legs.

Those scrambles got Lance into a rhythm as he completed two of his final three attempts. Lance connected with Tay Martin off play action for a nice gain of 25 to the right side. The quarterback went right back to Martin on his next attempt, but the two could not connect on a deep throw down the right sideline. Lance then finished up his day with a short completion in the left flat to Brayden Willis while rolling in that direction after a play fake.

Sam Darnold

Darnold had two of the best deep throws of camp. On the first layered the ball over the underneath linebacker to Elijah Michell who was running up the left seam. A few plays later Darnold put the onto the hands of Ray-Ray McCloud who was running a go route down the left sideline, but McCloud was unable to hang on.

Darnold finished the day with three completions on six attempts, connecting with Jauan Jennings for a highlight reel play to end the practice.

In the competition to back up Brock Purdy, Darnold is currently ahead of Trey Lance.

Brandon Allen

After having a solid day on Thursday, Allen completed just one of four passes. He followed up his completion on a check down with a near interception on a deep throw to the right side.

Kyle Shanahan’s choice to continue giving Allen reps over Lance and Darnold is a curious choice.

Christian McCaffrey

McCaffrey went down hard while running to the left on the opening play of team drills. He bounced right up and went on to record a couple of nice connections with Brock Purdy. The first came on a throw over the middle when he beat the linebacker. A few plays later the two connected on a quick out to the left side.

Jordan Mason

Mason has ran the ball well throughout the first three days of camp. Today he showed up in the passing game as well with a pair of receptions, one from Sam Darnold and the other being the only completion of the day for Brandon Allen.

Colton McKivitz

Expected to replace Mike McGlinchey who left for the Denver Broncos in free agency, McKivitz has looked strong through the first three days of training camp. He has displayed solid footwork in pass protection and appears to be playing with confidence.

George Kittle

Kittle has not been very active in the passing game to this point. He was targeted twice today, the first was an off target throw from Brock Purdy. Purdy came back to Kittle later and the tight end could not hang on to a pass that hit him right between the numbers.

Cameron Latu

The rookie tight end had a mixed day. He continued to look good as a blocker, holding up will in pass protection on a play action call.

However, he still looks like a project as a route runner. Today he had the linebacker beat up the seam but let up and the pass from Purdy sailed incomplete.

Jauan Jennings

Jennings made the highlight catch of the first three days when he made a one-handed grab on a throw over the middle from Sam Darnold. It looked like the pass was going to be too far ahead and high, but Jennings was able to reach out with his right hand and snag the ball.

Javon Hargrave

Hargrave showed up on this list yesterday, and likely will throughout camp. He is a force along the 49ers defensive line, making stops along the line of scrimmage in the run game and generating pressure on the quarterback against the pass.

Arik Armstead

Armstead wasn’t about to let his fellow interior defensive lineman have all the fun. The veteran blew by Aaron Banks for a would be sack of Brock Purdy.

Kevin Givens

Givens has been a solid rotational piece inside for the 49ers defensive line since 2020. He appears to be in terrific shape, showing quickness off the ball. Today he made a couple of plays along the line of scrimmage against the run.

Dee Winters

The rookie linebacker has improved in pass coverage since the offseason program, and today he showcased his speed by running down Ty Davis-Price on an outside run.

D’Shawn Jamison

Jamison was impressive during the offseason program. Today the undrafted rookie free agent had tight coverage on Deebo Samuel to force an incompletion and was all over Danny Gray. The speedy receiver could not shake Jamison.

Taylor Hawkins

Hawkins has been around the ball a few times over the first three days of camp. Today the safety showed off his range by nearly coming away with an interception on a deep throw to the right side from Brandon Allen to Willie Snead.

This article has 30 Comments

  1. I have been saying for a while now that if KS keeps Allen around he may have plans to trade SD or TL late in camp. It makes good cap sense. The 9ers need as much cap room next year as they can get. Extending Bosa as well as trading Darnold could send the 9ers into next season with 16 mill on the cap and 20 mill if they trade Lance.
    My biggest concern regarding BP last season was how many dropped Ints he threw along with his almost Ints. So far he has thrown a few this camp. Lets hope it doesn’t become a habit.

    1. My thoughts. If he’s testing Allen, then KS wants to see if he can be the #3QB.
      I’m still rooting for Dee!

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  2. Shoot! Nothing about Khalon Leborn? Well, I’m certainly happy Jordan Mason will be kept. I like Elijah Mitchell. I hope the heck he can stay healthy for a change. TDP is a curiosity. The problem is that with five rb’s – I doubt SF will keep five – somebody will end up being cut. My fear is Leborn. Some team will snatch him up. Not sure about Danny Gray. He hasn’t done well overall. But I’m hoping he makes it and learns better routes to combine with that speed. We need that speed burner to complement the other wideouts. I know every team has talent, but if we stay true to our game and the lousy injury bug is kept down to a minimum, as Jerry Rice implied, we can win it all. Our Pot- O – Gold at the end of the rainbow. Our 6th would be on par with the 1849 Gold Rush that our proud team is named after.

    1. k,
      I have heard from a couple other 9er contributors that Laborn has looked incredible so far. They both said if the 49ers don’t intend to cut/trade TDP they probably won’t play Laborn more than a minute or two in all 3 preseason games together. Then try to slip him thru into the PS

  3. Thanks, Jack.
    It’s early in camp, but so far the news has been good.
    I’m glad to hear good reports on UDFA, D’Shawn Jamison.
    Jack, has WR Ronnie Bell seen any action?

    Also, It’s a little concerning that Lance is off on some of his passes. It’s never been written in stone, but I felt that he was the unofficial QB2 entering TC.
    If Trey can’t improve his accuracy there’s a good chance that Darnold will become the official QB2.

    Darnold could provide the same QB play that Shanahan envisioned when he drafted Lance. Like Lance, SD can throw deep, run and extend plays. But more importantly, he might be more accurate, which gives him the edge over Trey.

    1. AES,
      Larry Krueger said that R. Bell looks overwhelmed, which is pretty usual for rookie WRs. Remember all of those Jerry Rice drops early in his rookie year. I see Bell on the PS this year then taking Jennings spot next year.

      1. Coach,
        I’m surprised at this. During ota’s and mini, Bell was showing the ability to physically go after 50/50 passes. Of course, this was happening without pads and contact.

        I certainly hope, that he’s not being overwhelmed due to the physically of TC. I would be disappointed with a Dante Pettis impersonator.

        1. AES,
          I think its more info overload. Rice’s rookie year when he had a case of the drops he said when your thinking about the plays and your patterns your not concentrating on the ball. Once you have the playbook down and your patterns are second nature you can concentrate on the ball. Even if he settles in and gets comfortable I still see him on the PS for one year.

    2. The excitement about Lance has been greatly improved throwing mechanics. That translates into a faster release and a smoother throw. But I don’t think that necessarily translates into improved accuracy. Time will tell if it has for him.

      1. George,
        You’re right. According to almost all reports, Lance has not separated himself from Darnold. I usually read David Lombardi’s assessments, because he’s straight forward and doesn’t deflate players in order to inflate his ego.

        He gave a very honest and less than positive report on Lance’s practice yesterday. If Trey can’t correct his accuracy anytime soon, he may become the QB3 by preseason. If the season were to start right now, Darnold would QB2.

        1. AES,
          If Lance ends up being #3 do you think the 49ers will attempt to trade him? Or do you see them paying their #3 QB 9 mill?

          1. As Lombardi said, in his recent report, it’s much to early to make any decision on Lance. He reminded his followers not to forget that Lance had a good opening day of practice.

            By the time preseason rolls around, hopefully Lance is looking much better than his last couple of practices, and we’ll see where it goes from there.

            1. AES,
              I still think Lance will win the #2 job but I also strongly believe that they will trade whoever ends up at #3. If its close they will trade the player they can get the best return on.

              1. Coach,
                I just wonder how much further having Lance, Garoppolo and
                even (hypothetically) Darnold would have taken the team after Purdy was injured against Philadelphia.

                Because of the hard lesson learned against the Eagles, I firmly believe that Lance and Darnold will make the 53R. The only question is, who will be QB2? Darnold is on a reasonable contract, so keeping him won’t be a financial issue.
                Interesting time at 49ers TC.

              2. AES,
                I have been watching the 9ers since about 1960 and to my memory they have never needed a 4th QB (before last year) and i’m not sure they have needed a 3rd QB. I just don’t see what happened last year happening again in the next 20 years. I do know that they are going to be in serious cap problems next year and trading one of the 2 QBs would save them 5 to 9 mill against the cap. imho

              3. Coach,
                The 49ers have always found a way to keep their top talent. Not sure if Lance has reached that level yet, but Shanahan and Lynch might give him the opportunity to do so.

                Missing out on Lance after all the capital they gave up for him, might give Trey a little more time than others to prove the FO didn’t make a mistake.

                Perhaps, they can consult Paraag Marathe on this, if he can break away from English League Leads for a minute, lol.

          2. OC, if he turned out to be qb3, I can’t think of a good reason anyone would give us anything for him. So if there would be a way for them to avoid paying him or reduce that amount, I’d expect them to cut their losses and release him.

            1. Geo,
              I was thinking if Lance and Darnold both looked good. One of them has to be #3 and possibly a trade could be made. I don’t think they will cut either Lance or Darnold it would cost them 9 mill for Lance and 5 mill for Darnold.

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  6. Mason has ran the ball well throughout the first three days of camp. Today he showed up in the passing game as well with a pair of receptions, one from Sam Darnold and the other being the only completion of the day for Brandon Allen.

  7. I think today is a Purdy rest day, so TL and SD should get all of the 1st and 2nd team reps. I predict a big comeback day for TL leading to a positive week once they put on the pads.

  8. Yup. Waiting for Jack’s report. The head to head competition between Darnold and Lance today is something I’d like to get Jack’s perspective on.

  9. Hearing that Brandon Aiyuk was unstoppable in TC4. Can’t wait to see the new and improved version of BA this season.

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