Observations from Day 3 of 49ers training camp

49ers practice on Friday, July 30, 2021. (Jack Hammer)

Here is what stood out during the 49ers’ third practice of training camp. As will be the case for the first five sessions, the team was in only helmets. The first padded practice is scheduled for Tuesday.

Quarterback play
Jimmy Garoppolo finished the day 6-11. Three of Garoppolo’s completions came on checkdowns with another off an RPO. His best pass of the day was a strike to George Kittle on the right sideline to convert a third and long.

Trey Lance was 5-10 while splitting reps with Garoppolo. Lance started slowly, underthrowing George Kittle on a deep crossing route after avoiding pressure and then missing River Cracraft and Josh Pederson on deep throws to the left side. The rookie would eventually heat up, hitting Mohamed Sanu on the left side after his initial read was not there. Following the completion to Sanu, Lance would do a terrific job of avoiding pressure and finding Ross Dwelley for a first down while moving to his right. It wasn’t all good news for Lance today. He had two passes that were nearly intercepted, one of which nearly hit linebacker Jonas Griffith squarely in the hands before falling incomplete.

Josh Rosen finished the day 2-4, including a completion to Sanu on a pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage to wrap up practice.

Nate Sudfeld did not complete any of his three pass attempts on the day.

Defensive Line

As head coach Kyle Shanahan said after practice, “the defense got the best of the offense today.” It was the strong play of the defensive line that led the way. Samson Ebukam was a force off of the edge today, getting around the corner a would-be sack on multiple occasions. After bouncing between linebacker and defensive end during his time with the Rams, Ebukam is able to focus solely on playing defensive end with the 49ers and says this change is allowing him to play fast without having to think. Watch out.

Kentavius Street is taking the starting reps at defensive tackle while Javon Kinlaw works through an issue with his knee. Street held up well against the run, and on one play burst past left guard Laken Tomlinson to stop a Trey Sermon rushing attempt in the backfield.

D.J. Jones set the tone for the day on the first snap in team drills. Jones was able to beat Alex Mack and force Raheem Mostert to bounce the run outside for no gain.

Elijah Mitchell

The rookie running back was impressive every time he touched the ball today. Mitchell showed the ability to run between the tackles, hitting the hole very quickly for some big gains. It will be interesting to see if this continues next week when the pads come on.

Marcell Harris

After spending the majority of his first three seasons with the 49ers playing safety, Harris is in the process of transitioning to linebacker. He has worked out with this group through the first three days of camp. Harris was able to show off his coverage skills today. With River Cracraft running a deep out, Harris was able to get underneath the receiver to knock away the target from Trey Lance.

Mohamed Sanu

The veteran has impressed players and coaches since rejoining the team. Sanu was targeted five times today and hauled in four of them, two from Garoppolo, one from Lance and one from Josh Rosen.

Sanu appears to be looked upon as a leader by the younger players in the receiver room.

Deebo Samuel

Caught both of the passes thrown his way by Trey Lance, including a 60-yard touchdown grab on a deep throw down the left sidelines. Often looked at as primarily an underneath, run after the catch threat, Samuel has made some big plays down the field through the first three days of training camp.

Wayne Gallman

The veteran had one of the best outside runs of the day. He took a handoff around the right side and did a terrific job of following his blockers before exploding through the hole for a big gain.

Richie James

The veteran had two targets during team activities and dropped them both. The first was a deep in- route and while the throw from Josh Rosen was a little out in front of him, James should have been able to bring it in. The second drop was much the same, only this time it was Trey Lance throwing the ball. Lance has a lot of velocity on his throws and James just couldn’t hold on.

Jack Hammer is a lifelong 49ers fan who shares insights on the team, and leads discussion on all football and team topics. Follow Jack on Twitter @JackHammer_NFL and subscribe to his YouTube Channel, YouTube.com/c/JackHammer49.

This article has 28 Comments

  1. Any Dee Ford sightings ? Is he working out ? Let’s use that guy sparingly this year. When he is healthy and on his game our Defense is elite.

    This is encouraging. Barrows: Kyle Shanahan said there were five players (of 91) who are unvaccinated.

    1. Bruce problem is 2 of those 5 are 2 out of 3 of our most important defensive players. We lose Verrett or Bosa and we are hurting.

      1. Private organizations (NFL) and companies are exerting pressure on the holdouts to get vaccinated. David Frum in The Atlantic has a great article about how the rest of us , consumers, can exert pressure as well. For example refuse to attend a concert or sporting event or target/walmart if proof of vaccination is not required. Europe and Canada are doing just that they have overtaken us in vaccination rates. We cant allow our country to be held hostage by 30% of the population.

  2. Congrats Jack I am so happy for you and happy for all of the old timers here. A quick question, do you have any idea what happened to Chase Harrell? Also I hope the Niners can move JG for a reasonably high pick but if that happens do you think Rosen or Sudfeld can win with this team if Lance gets hurt.

    1. Thank you, Coach! Very excited about this opportunity.

      Harrell was waived back in April.

      I think Rosen is the better pick of those two right now. The run game and defense may be enough to help keep the ship afloat for a couple weeks if necessary.

    2. There is no point of trading Garoppolo this season. No draft pick is worth losing the respect of the locker room.

      1. If Garoppolo loses his starting role, I prefer he loses it on the field and not training camp.
        I believe we all remember when JG threw 5 consecutive Int’s in TC back in 2019. Then he proceeded to help lead the 49ers to the Superbowl.

        Lance is our QBOTF and he will eventually take over for Garoppolo, but at moment I feel better with Jimmy G at the helm because of his NFL game experience.

  3. James doesn’t block well so he can’t afford to drop passes.

    Mitchell keeping Mostert fresh is a nice luxury, just as Ebukam keeping the miles off Ford is.

  4. “Samson Ebukam was a force off of the edge today, getting around the corner a would-be sack on multiple occasions”

    This is promising, I didn’t like him as a free agent as all I saw him do in LA was run directly into the OT’s chest, and it was maddening given his skillset. Here’s hoping he develops a move or two to go with his speed.

    1. I am expecting more cleanup sacks from Ebukam. Cleanup after the interior guys flush the QB out of the pocket. I don’t really see him bending the edge like Ford, Barrett, Miller etc.

      I think this team was desperate for some speed off the edge regardless of pure talent at the position. We saw it last year with all of those big guys in the middle it was easy for QB’s to extend plays. That’s probably part of the reason they started blitzing more with DB’s as the injuries and season progressed

      1. James,
        I get what you’re saying, and that is pretty much my impression as well. The problem is the need more than that imo, cleanup sack guys are a dime a dozen.
        That is why I was so excited to hear he had some wins. That would be huge for this defense.

        1. Well guys, nothing wrong with you having “meh” opinions about Ebukam, but Lynch/Shanny signing him says they feel he has upside rushing off the edge; despite any misgivings we “experts” might have.
          While we can’t draw too many conclusions from a few wins in a no pads practice, the player notes that the Rams used him as a hybrid LB/DE while he’s now solely focused on DE. Dee Ford reached his potential after he was relieved of LB responsibilities in KC.
          The glass might be half full……..

  5. KS and JL made a commitment that we would be much stronger at QB 2 this year. If we trade Jimmy that leaves Rosen or Sudfeld. I think they are both terrible. I believe they need to keep JG around if only to have a quality back up. In the NFC west a couple of losses while QB1 is down could eliminate them from the playoffs. They can trade JG around next years draft as long as Lance works out.

    1. The team learned the hard way these last few seasons about the critical importance of the backup QB position. I sure don’t want to see another season down the drain if our QB1 goes down.

      Speaking of which, Nick Mullens apparently is tearing up the Eagles training camp. Fools Gold.

      1. Rib,
        I’m not sure if I wouldn’t rather have Mullens than the 2 we’ve have. At least he knows the playbook inside and out. I just hope they keep JG around if Lance wins QB1.

        1. And have fans calling for CJ Beathard to replace him again? No thanks. Let him go 5-11 with some other team.

          I just hope they keep JG around if Lance wins QB1.

          If they don’t it means they learned nothing from the 1-2 punch of Mullens and Beathard.

    1. Hey OldCoach,

      With the new Covid protocols space is limited. We are still working with the team for daily access. I will be there for sure on Tuesday and Friday of this week.

  6. Hilarious. Something has gone terribly wrong with artificial intelligence – some of the recent bot postings on this site. And I quote….

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  7. The Vikings are forced to practice with their 4th sting QB after covid breakout hits their QB Room. Last week the Vikings fired OL coach for refusing the vaccine.

    Frustrated Zimmer sounds off after Vikings’ positive COVID test : “I’m frustrated, not just with my football players who didn’t get vaccinated, but I’m frustrated with everybody [who didn’t].”

    1. Most of us feel Zimmer’s pain and are also frustrated with the anti-vaccine people. Our brilliant scientific community produced a vaccine to a novel virus in record time. Our moron /idiot community is trying to sabotage everything.

      On a side note, remember when the Niners management , some fans and a few media people had an infatuation with Cousins. Bullet dodged.

    2. Someone needs to hit these “personal decision” idiots over the head with the concept of public health. Either you’re someone who cares about your team, your teammates, your neighbors and community or you’re not. Bosa and Verrett, you are team leaders, start acting like it.

      1. But Rib 29,673,304 people have recovered from C19 and only 629,384 have died.
        It’s a hoax designed to make sure that the 9ers don’t win the SB!
        Those tactics also acted to be a good way to be aware that some people have similar desire just like my own to realize a great deal more when it comes to this problem!!!

      2. Exactly. Seatbelts are a mandate. Airport security is a mandate. No smoking is a mandate. Public school vaccination requirement is a mandate. General George Washington required the Continental Army to be vaccinated against smallpox. Obviously that is a mandate.

        Sporing events, movies , concerts , grocery stores etc must require vaccination proof prior to entry.

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