Observations from day 7 of 49ers training camp

Here is what stood out from the 49ers seventh practice during training camp in Santa Clara.

Light practice

After its longest training camp practice on Tuesday, San Francisco took the shoulder pads off and dialed the intensity back on Wednesday. Among those taking the day off were tight end George Kittle, linebacker Dre Greenlaw, and offensive lineman Jaylon Moore.

Trey Lance

Lance completed just three of nine pass attempts during team drills. 

On the positive side, two of Lance’s completions went for touchdowns during a redzone session. On the first touchdown, Lance found Brandon Aiyuk who did an excellent job staying in bounds. The next play saw Lance had Drake Jackson right in his face, but he was able to hit JaMycal Hasty in the left flat for his second touchdown throw of the day..

On the downside, Lance had a couple of clunkers. Lance missed Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel by a mile with consecutive deep throws to the outside. 

Aside from a few splash plays here and there, it’s hard to see how this offense is currently better at quarterback than they were last year at this point.

Brandon Aiyuk

Aiyuk has been excellent throughout the beginning of training camp, and today was no exception. 

The third-year wideout started the day by beating Charvarius Ward during a one-on-one session in the redzone. Aiyuk was able to beat the press coverage to get free quickly. He followed that up with a terrific catch along the back line of the endzone to defeat the tight coverage of Jimmie Ward.

Aiyuk made a pair of exceptional catches during team drills as well. The first coming when he leaped high to grab a throw from Nate Sudfeld over the head of Ambry Thomas along the left sideline. His second was the touchdown throw from Trey Lance in the redzone. When the ball left Lance’s hands, it looked like it would fall incomplete, but Aiyuk did a terrific job of making the grab and staying in bounds. Aiyuk wrapped up practice with yet another touchdown, this one coming from Sudfeld in the back of the endzone.

Deommodore Lenoir

Lenoir struggled when forced onto the field as a rookie. The second-year cornerback has turned heads with his tight coverage during training camp. Today saw Lenoir drive on a quick inside route to break up Brock Purdy’s throw to Austin Mack.

Lenoir was also able to snag a pass that Mack bobbled in the left flat for an interception.

Elijah Mitchell

Mitchell busted off a couple of long gains on inside runs, one going for a touchdown to open the redzone session. 

Mitchell has focused on improving his hands this offseason. He dropped the first target that came his way but came right back on the next play to grab a checkdown from Lance in the right flat. 

Tay Martin

Martin showed off his explosiveness and ability to beat press coverage when he completely shook Ka’dar Hollman to win in one-on-one drills. Martin is probably a long shot at making the 53-man roster out of training camp, but he will be a prime candidate for the practice squad. 

Tanner Hudson

Today, the backup tight end had a pair of big receptions from Brock Purdy. The first came on a broken play when Hudson, running a wheel route up the right sideline, stopped in the open area, and Purdy saw this and got the ball to Hudson for a long gain. 

Purdy fired deep down the left sideline on his next throw to Hudson, who outleapt Marcelino McCrary-Ball for another long reception.   

Spencer Burford

Burford’s strong camp continued today. The rookie right guard completely swallowed up Kevin Givens in pass protection. 

Trey Sermon

Sermon added some bulk this offseason and worked out with Dalvin Cook. Sermon learned from the veteran running back to trust his eyes. 

This advice has shown up in camp as Sermon has made several strong runs. It looks like he’s gained some explosiveness early in camp.

Samuel Womack

Womack worked at nickelback with the starting unit. The rookie cornerback has been competing for the role all offseason and continues to impress.

Oren Burks

With Dre Greenlaw taking a rest day, Burks stepped into the starting lineup. The free agent acquisition from Green Bay was solid throughout practice.

Jake Brendel and Daniel Brunskill

Brendel and Brunskill continue to share snaps at center with the first team offense. Yesterday it was Brunskill who got the first shot, and today it was back to Brendel. This competition will likely carry on through the first preseason game next Friday.

Deebo Samuel

Samuel dropped a deep throw down the left sideline from Trey Lance. The ball was placed perfectly but glanced off the hands of the veteran receiver.

While Samuel had a terrific season in 2021, he struggled with drops over the year’s first half. 

This article has 26 Comments

  1. The accuracy issues with Trey Lance are concerning. It’s great to have a shortstop that can make the occasional spectacular Sports Center top 10 play but if he makes errors on 1 or 2 ground balls per game he’s a terrible shortstop. Is your sense that Lance makes all the routine throws but misses on the difficult throws? Or is he inconsistent at all levels?

    1. He is inconsistent at all levels because he just has not thrown enough footballs against a live defense with quality players defending.

      Do you remember his first throw after half time in the first Seahawks game last year? Ever since then I have tempered my expectations for Lance quite a bit.

      1. No, I don’t remember that play. Time will tell but I just don’t think any NFL QB can achieve sustained success unless they develop great accuracy. I know my opinion is not shared by many but I don’t think Lamar Jackson will ever win a Superbowl. Jackson’s athleticism is unmatched by any other player at his position with the exception of maybe Josh Allen but he is very inaccurate with his passing. He can make all the throws but he’s wildly inaccurate on multiple throws every game. The OC can shield him by calling game plans that calls for short passing but that limits the entire offense. In my opinion accuracy is more important than athleticism.

        1. “…but he’s wildly inaccurate on multiple throws every game. ” – So you’re saying he’s a mobile version of Jimmy G I guess?

          1. I don’t necessarily disagree with that assessment. The big difference is Jimmy G had Kyle Shanahan and Lamar has Greg Roman.

            Advantage: Garoppolo.

          2. Jimmy was the 6th most accurate passer in the league last year at 68.3% so to imply he was wildly inaccurate is ridiculous.

        2. Lance will experience some ups and downs in his full year as a starter.
          I suspect that there will be a significant improvement by game 5-6. Until then, our vaunted defense will keep us games.

          My only pause is the Oline. They will play a major role in allowing Trey time in the pocket to develop his confidence.

  2. There Seems to be a lot of dropped passes so far this camp. Jack would you say there has been more drops than usual at this point in camp.

    1. No. There have been a few from receivers, but I don’t think it’s more than what we saw last year.

  3. Jack,
    I was wondering if you saw my comment in your last post, Tempers flare……. If so do you agree or disagree? Thanks OC

      1. Made a comment about Lamar Jackson being a mobile version of Jimmy G and it appears that could be said about Lance, with the possible exception of the claim that Jimmy can’t throw the long ball. Funny because I still wonder if Jimmy G really can’t throw the long ball (I’ve seen him do it!) or if that is just part of being “highly inaccurate on multiple throws”. I’m still open on Jimmy and hope he can play behind an offensive line that can pass block. Only then will I believe that he is as bad as many here believe.

      2. They better have some movement stuff with the 9er’s interior line questions. Garropolo wouldn’t last the first half of game 1 with his mobility.

  4. They are $25 million better on offense and have a qb who can make a play when the o line breaks down. Not close to same as last year. Significantly better.

  5. It is early but our draft class seems to be holding up well. Burford may well start on the OL in September. Many will make the 53 and Purdy makes the PS.

  6. Hey Jack thanks for the coverage. Your super on it as your referencing numbers from last training camp. I know it’s different year to year but the numbers provide good insight.

    It’s seems like every time I check in there is 2-3 passes dropped by receivers. This certainly was an issue when Lance was throwing too hard or too wobbly last year. Is it the same this year? Or just WR dropping passes?

    1. Thank you, James. I think the drops are mostly on the WR’s. The number of drops is exaggerated a bit in my opinion.

  7. Aside from a few splash plays here and there, it’s hard to see how this offense is currently better at quarterback than they were last year at this point.

    They are approximately $25M better at QB, assuming Jimmy has moved on.

    1. There will be little use for that 25 mill this year and it doesn’t make Lance a better QB at all. Now next year is a whole different matter. Along with the 25 mill the cap should be increasing quite a bit. It could make FA season a lot of fun.

        1. Rob,
          The cheapness label that as been affixed to the York family goes back to John York it really doesn’t apply to Jed. The NFL now forces teams to spend their cap monies. So if they are say 40 mill under the cap next off season NFL rules mandate that teams spend 90% of the money.

  8. Jack
    As always, I enjoy reading your summaries of the 9ers training camp. keep up the good work.
    * The 9er D looks to be, if not the best, one of the best D’s in the NFL.
    * I would agree, most of the incomplete passes are drops by the WR’s and the number of drops is exaggerated a bit!
    * My main concern is the O-Line, primarily Center and RT. IMO, neither Brendel or Brunskill are capable and RT McGlinchey is coming off a quad injury and reportedly back down to 290 pounds. As we know, the last time his
    weight was that low, he resembled a blocking sled the D pushed around. Not a shut down RT….
    * Next Friday (08/12/2022), the 9ers play the Packers! we’ll get a better idea if the O-Line can protect Lance and open holes for the RB’s…..If not, it could be a long and wasted season!

  9. “Aside from a few splash plays here and there, it’s hard to see how this offense is currently better at quarterback than they were last year at this point.”

    That’s a pretty curious statement to make…
    Dont tell me..
    you’re team Jimmy,right?

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