Observations from Day 5 of 49ers OTA’s

The 49ers held their fifth practice of OTAs Wednesday afternoon. This will be the only session of three this week to be open to the media. Here is what stood out.

Brock Purdy

49ers general manager John Lynch told Sirius XM NFL Radio that Purdy began his throwing sessions earlier this week. This puts the quarterback slightly ahead of the 12-week timetable given by the team.

San Francisco remains optimistic about Purdy being ready in time for training camp. Lynch again mentioned a quarterback competition between Purdy, Lance and Darnold.

Quarterback competition

Trey Lance took all the first team reps in week one. Today was Sam Darnold’s turn to work with the starters.

Darnold completed 10 of 13 attempts on the day. His three incompletions included a pair of drops and a pass breakup on a late checkdown to Jauan Jennings in the left flat.

The best downfield throw from Darnold came on an attempt over the middle to veteran Chris Conley. Darnold ripped the ball into the receiver’s hands, but he couldn’t hold on and it fell incomplete.

Darnold bounced back from the drop by hitting Christian McCaffrey for a big gain down the left sideline to open the next series of plays. The veteran quarterback read the man coverage and got the ball out to McCaffrey who had just turned up the right sideline.

Day five was a rough one for Lance. The third-year quarterback didn’t display the same accuracy during early drills. He finished the day 6-12, but the lack of completions wasn’t all on him with three incompletions being the result of drops.

In one series of plays Lance had a pair of drops, hit Brandon Aiyuk for a big gain down the left sideline and passed up an open receiver over the middle for a checkdown to Conley leading to a pass breakup by Ambry Thomas.

Lance’s final throw of the day was easily his worst. Working against the second defense, Lance had Danny Gray open on a deep out on the right side, but his pass hit the ground well before getting to the receiver.

Brandon Allen continued his strong camp as the number three quarterback. Allen hit all five of his attempts including the best throw of the day when he connected with Willie Snead deep down the left sideline to beat good coverage by Tre Swilling.

Christian McCaffrey

McCaffrey burst through the line on the first run of team drills. Later he had another big play when Darnold got him the ball quickly and he was able to outrun Marcelino McCrary-Ball down the right sideline.

Brandon Aiyuk

Aiyuk caught all three targets on Wednesday. The highlight came when he beat Darrell Luter Jr. on a go route down the left sideline. The throw from Lance was a little short, but Aiyuk was able to adjust to the ball to make the big play.

Danny Gray

Gray finished the day with two catches on four targets, an improvement on last week.

On the first play of team drills, Gray got behind the coverage of safeties Talanoa Hufanga and George Odum. However, the throw from Sam Darnold hung up in the air and Gray was not able to come down with the ball.

Drake Jackson

Jackson continues to look much improved from his rookie season. During a read and react pass rush drill, Jackson showed good burst off the line of scrimmage before properly diagnosing the play and sticking on the tight end.

Ronnie Bell

Bell had been a standout through rookie minicamp and week one of OTAs. He had a rough practice on Wednesday, dropping both of his targets.

Cameron Latu

The rookie third round draft pick made his first catch of offseason practices open to the media when he got open over the middle and Brandon Allen hit him for the completion.

Nick Zakelj

Zakelj worked at center with the second team offense, and it was a disaster. He hit Lance in the ankles with a shotgun snap on his first play leading to a fumble. Two plays later with Lance under center, the snap was again missed, and Kyle Shanahan pulled the second offensive line off the field.

Kicking Competition

Jake Moody and Zane Gonzalez each made four attempts for the second practice.

Moody hit all of four of his attempts including one from 53. The rookie nearly kicked the ball out of the facility on his first two attempts, with the ball traveling close to 70 yards on each.

Gonzalez connected from 33, 38, and 48 yards out, but missed wide right from 43.

Ty Davis-Price

The second year back lacks burst and consistently runs into the backs of his offensive linemen before being stopped for short gains.

Jordan Mason

Mason continues to show he is one of the best backs on the team. With Elijah Mitchell not participating, Mason stepped in and looked good on his rushing attempts along with hauling in a pair of passes.

Isaiah Oliver

Oliver has been impressive during these early practices. Today he locked up Jauan Jennings in man coverage.

Deommodore Lenoir

Starting opposite Samuel Womack, Lenoir got a good break on a late throw from Sam Darnold to Jauan Jennings and knocked the ball away.

Willie Snead

Got behind Tre Swilling for a deep grab down the left sideline for a big play. Snead caught all three of his targets.

This article has 43 Comments

    1. OC,

      LaBorn had one carry yesterday. Gained a couple yards before running up the back of an offensive lineman.

    2. I hope Laborn can replace Ty price. Price showed poorly last year and, frankly, was a waste of a 3rd round pick. We can save some money with an undrafted player with potential.

      1. Allie,
        I don’t know what the cap situation with TDP is but sometimes keeping a cheaper player while cutting a more experienced player can cost a team money on the cap. Thats one of the reasons why I hate the current form of the cap.

  1. Jack, from what you wrote above and based on last year, it would appear TDP’s job is for the taking. Hoping that Laborn and Awatt are worthy enough to stick. Is there anything you can add in that regard?

    Good to see Mason’s catching passes.

        1. Howdy. Just stopped by to read about the practices.
          Hope everything is going well with you-all.

          1. Great, thanks.
            You know you are always welcome back as a regular. It is a much kinder and gentler place since Jack took over and we could use more regulars. It just wasn’t the same build up to the draft without Seb the king of the mocks.

            1. TYVM. I will consider it.
              I like Niners Nation, and have lengthened my legendary status by being almost the only one there to predict that Jimmy G would stay with the Niners last season, Sure wish it had worked out, but I was content. At least they were relevant, but injuries are hard to overcome. Now, Jimmy G has gone over to the dark side, so I will be rooting for Lance and Purdy.
              This last draft was a success. They did what I advocated. I wanted them to bundle picks for a modest trade up, to get the player they coveted. I struck out on my final mock, but on my second to last mock, I had Ji’Ayir Brown and Cameron Latu.
              I have lurked every so often, and do consider Jack Hammer to be an upgrade. Wish all the regulars well, and am very excited about this upcoming season. With the addition of Hargrave, this 49er defense may be scary good.

              1. Oh my! The seb, the legend!
                Still tooting his own horn…
                Love to see your predictions on who will be Mr Irrelevant with our QBs, Lance, Sam or Brock?

              2. I see my gadfly is haunting my posts.
                He seems to like to snark at me, but I can’t reply directly to him, so here it is.
                I had to endure tons of pushback and derision, but in the end, I had the last laugh. Fortunately, many posters had the class to give me kudos. Some even had to eat crow. It was very satisfying to get hundreds of acknowledgements for taking the road less traveled, braving the storm of opposition, yet triumphing in the end. I took on a whole blog site, and did not work up a sweat.
                I will say that Lance may win the starting job, and they will let Purdy work his way back slowly. Mr Irrelevant may be Darnold, if Allen continues to throw so well. Sam does have value, so I hope they get a second round pick for him, from a desperate team.
                JL may keep both Lance and Purdy, unless a team offers something almost too good to be true.
                They may need al 4 QBs, but Sam is certainly expendable, if Allen out competes him for the QB3 position.

              3. I see my gadfly is haunting my posts.
                He seems to like to snark at me, but I can’t reply directly to him, so here it is.

                That sounds like some serious stuff.
                It must be frustrating for you if you can’t reply to your gadfly directly because he’s haunting you.
                I always enjoyed your verbosity especially when it haywire.

            1. Gratz on your blog. You have certainly improved, and I look forward to the practice analysis.
              I am well, but wish the season started tomorrow.

              1. Now that’s silly.
                If the season would start tomorrow we wouldn’t have Purdy!

  2. Thank you, Old Coach. I’m didn’t mention LaBorn, who I think should make the team. I think he is better than Davis-Price, who I think is on the verge of following in Trey Sermon’s foot steps if he doesn’t start getting better. Mason is a lock to make it. “Groan”! Now what is up with Elijah Mitchell now? I know Ota’s are not mandatory, but he – like every body – should be there to get the rust out and build comaraderie with his teammates.

  3. Fun team ,tons of Intrigue.
    York would be Wise to Promote Lynch and Keep him with the 9ers for at least the next 10+ Seasons.
    I really Feel that he’s been the Catalyst in terms of fostering one of the Leagues most Talented Rosters.

    1. Lynch blows three 1st round picks and a third on a QB that is struggling at best and you want to give him another 10 years??? You must be kidding.

      1. hey gary, who are the top 5 Gms in football??
        actually, JUST NAME 5! You can even google it! lmao

        1. All kidding aside…..Lynch is top 5!
          He might not be top as a pure talent evaluator, since he didnt come from the scouting ranks……
          But he is top 5 in prestige, hes revered and respected as a SB champ an HoFer….. ( remember what a clown Baalke was? free agents would NOT COME HERE! Remember when Josh Norman was an all-pro? and the Panthers rescinded the franchise tag in the middle of summer…….and the only teams with the cap space to sign him where us and Washington???? He chose washington over the niners!!!! That really happened!!!!

          In addition to being respected, Lynch is great at dealing with the media……
          And he should be applauded for having the footballs to trade up for a franchise qb……if this org. can consistently make it to SBs with JG…….they could consistently win em with a franchise QB!

          Remember when Baalke didn’t have the footballs to trade up for OBJ?

          Final thought for all the Lynch/Shany haters…….if we fired those guys…….we would be desperately searching for someone to get us back to THIS EXACT SPOT!!!!!!! To the point where we are consistently competing for SBs ….. ……except in all likelyhood……we would end up with another Tomsula/ Baalke/ Kelly/

          1. I agree Lynch is top 5. Drafting and signing FA’s is a team effort including coaches. As compared to most other teams they have been wildly successful. Not perfect, of course, but no one is. I think this management team is probably the best since the Walsh era and I hope Lynch and Shanahan stay for a long time.

    2. yes, lots of intrigues. But sadly, I still do not think Trey is accurate enough to be a franchise QB-or maybe even a starter. The Darnold story is intriguing. Is he now in the right place to show his skills as a 3rd choice in his draft? He certainly is a great backup to Brock at a minimum. I still think Trey could be traded this year. I don’t have confidence in him. Just too many first-round picks for an untried QB playing in a minor-league situation. Good character, mature, and stable. I like him as a person. Not as a prospective starter, much less a franchise QB.

    3. DSG is right: Lynch is a fine GM. I can see why he is popular with the players and why he is respected.

  4. Wait! Check this out. In his defense, and unfortunately, Trey Lance was slowed down by injuries. And in case you forgot, he has been training with the same guy who trained Patrick Mahomes. Not to mention working with Patrick himself. End results: improved mechanics, ball out quicker, no arm fatigue. I say give him another chance because he is at least trying hard, working hard. Plus he is pumped up by the competition of Brock and Sam. Nobody’s perfect. Even Bill Walsh and Bill Belicheck. I think John Lynch has done an overall great job with building the Niners. Three NFC Championships. One Super Bowl appearance that we got cheated by the Chiefs. #1 ranked defense. Oh, no! You can’t say John Lynch isn’t worth an extension again.

    1. Everyone has an off day. No one should be giving up of Trey at this point. At the end of training camp we’ll have a better idea of where he fits in the scheme of things.

  5. Mr. Hammer,

    I appreciate your observations, and have a request. You are very knowledgeable and I’d like to see more of your evaluations. For example, among the QBs who do you see as the most accomplished at this point? Another: among the draftees and free agents, who do you see as having the best chances of staying with the team?

    Please offer your insightful judgements.

  6. These OTA’s help to feed us 49ers fans a new and fresh start to a new football season. Like everyone here, I’m excited about the prospects of the young players at this time of the year.

    But, I also have to remind myself that all of these players won’t define themselves until late July and in preseason.

    For the most part, many rookies may look good right now. But when the hitting starts, we’ll see who separates themselves from the pack.

    That being said, I want to say thank you Jack, for your reporting.

    1. AES,
      And some of them won’t define themselves until their 2nd and 3rd years.

  7. Jack,
    I caught a video clip of Trey Lance throwing a complete wobbler pass about 5 ft. over the head of an assistant coach on your JackHammer49 YouTube channel. What are your thoughts on this?

    1. 3 1st round picks and a third. Does anyone here stop to consider what those picks could have meant for this team otherwise? No. Means nothing to most here. Just hire Lynch for another 10 years. Lynch’s a nice guy. Soothes feathers when the thin-skinned KS gets angry and goes on a rampage, as he did yesterday. Gets along with the media, especially after the team loses two NFC championships and a Super Bowl. Golly gee, what nonsense!

      1. Gary,
        It’s too early to give a final judgement on Lance and therefore on lynch. Also, I’m pretty sure this was Shanahan’s ultimate call. No matter, it happens every year where someone moves up to take a QB or other high pick that turns out to be a bust. In order to fairly judge someone, including yourself, one must look at the totality of their work, not just cherry pick the one time it went wrong. By your standard, we’d all get fired multiply times. I doubt you hold yourself to the same standard that you hold Lynch. As for the losses of 2 NFC championships and Super Bowl, how do you grade the 30 teams who didn’t get this far.

    2. AES,

      Those are like an NBA player missing during the layup line and not out of the norm for Lance.

      1. Thanks Jack,
        I hope that it doesn’t happen in a real game situation. That kind of throw has turnover written all over it.

  8. My personal philosophy is to move forward rather than dwell on what might have been.
    It’s good for my high blood pressure, lol.

  9. Gary,
    My philosophy has changed as I have aged. At one time I was SB or bust but most years we weren’t even close. In the 20 years since Mooch we have been a 500 or under team 14 out of 20 seasons. Somewhere along the line my expectations changed. Win more than you lose, make the playoffs but most importantly entertain me every Sunday. When we lose a SB or NFCCG I mourn for about 24 hours then I just remember all of the exciting Sundays they gave me this year. They could get rid Of KS and likely end up with Nolan, Tomsula or Singletary. They could fire JL and likely hire T. Donohue or T. Ballke. I will keep a winning coach and GM there just aren’t that many of them out there. imho

    1. OC, don’t forget that Brock was a gift. A gift no one expected.
      Maybe it was “fortunate” that he got injured, it might have been more painful if we had lost in the SB with all the hype.
      Brock did make something out of last season to make it memorable.
      Not just the wins but all the potential that this team had/has.
      It was fun like the Harbaugh years!

  10. “They could get rid Of KS and likely end up with Nolan, Tomsula or Singletary. They could fire JL and likely hire T. Donohue or T. Ballke. I will keep a winning coach and GM there just aren’t that many of them out there. imho”

    Thanks Coach. Those are my exact sentiments.

  11. I’m sure this has been covered but is Tre Swilling related to Pat Swilling?

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