Purdy makes unexpected appearance; Observations from day 7 of 49ers training camp

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

Brock Purdy

Over the first week of cam Purdy did not participate in the first practice following a day off. That changed today as the 49ers starting quarterback took the field. It was also his first day without Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle and Trent Williams.

Purdy finished his day 7 of 10. He missed badly on a deep out to Deebo Samuel along the right sideline to open practice, the ball sailing high and wide. The second-year quarterback bounced back to complete his next five throws.

During his rookie season Purdy was terrific on throws in the intermediate, 10-to-19-yard, area. This has carried over to training camp.

Purdy showed excellent timing to connect with Brandon Aiyuk over the middle as the ball hit the receiver in stride just as he cleared the underneath linebacker. A few plays later, Purdy hit Jauan Jennings on a dig route from right to left off play action for another chunk gain.

One area Purdy had struggled with early in camp was making throws on the move. He shook that off today, at least for one play. During a third and short period, Purdy was on target to Ross Dwelley while moving to his left off play action to convert the situation.

Although he was the best quarterback on the field today, Purdy did have a few down moments.

Purdy opened a move the ball period with a false start when he began to fall back from center before the snap. In addition to the miss mentioned above to Deebo Samuel, he was off the mark on a throw over the middle to Brandon Aiyuk.

On his final play of the day Purdy threw incomplete to Deebo Samuel deep down the right sideline. Samuel had a step on the defender, but the pass was underthrown. This is the type of throw Purdy needs to hit.

Trey Lance

Although the stats don’t look good, 5-8 with an interception, Lance continued his solid start to camp.

Lance opened his day by rifling a pass over the middle to Willie Snead off play action. This was the second time during camp that observers on the field could hear a Lance pass hitting his receivers shoulder pads.

The next throw from Lance was his best of the day. Lance got to the top of his drop and laid the ball perfectly in to Tay Martin who had run an out to the right sideline. The improvement of Lance on throws like this cannot be emphasized enough.

A couple of short throws followed, resulting in a completion and Lance’s first incompletion of the day.

Next came situational work. Facing third and two, Lance connected with Brandon Aiyuk on a short curl route to the right side off play action to move the sticks.

The one mistake of the day for Lance came when he threw an interception on his first snap during a move the ball series. On the play the 49ers offense was running a high-low concept and Lance tried to fit the pass over the dropping linebacker instead of taking the check down.

Lance rebounded two plays later when he connected with rookie tight end Brayden Willis on a short throw while rolling to his left off play action. Lance ended his day when he was forced to throw the ball away on the ensuing third down play.

Sam Darnold

After completing just two of six passes on Tuesday, Darnold had a nice bounce back day.

The veteran hit on six of eight throws and did the best job of moving the offense down the field late in practice.

Darnold opened his day with an easy screen to his left to tight end Charlie Woerner. A pair of completions on curl routes followed, one to Brandon Aiyuk and one to rookie Ronnie Bell.

During his turn at the short yardage situation mentioned above, Darnold could not connect with Brayden Willis. It appeared the defense did a good job of disrupting the route of Willis which forced Darnold to hold onto the ball before throwing behind the intended receiver.

Starting at his own 35 for a move the ball possession, Darnold was on the money. On the first play of the series Darnold ripped a throw down the field to Danny Gray for a gain of 21. Following a short run, Darnold found rookie tight end Cameron Latu in the right flat off play action for a gain of 15 and another first down. A six-yard completion to Gray on the other side of the field followed.

Darnold’s final throw came on first and ten from the 18. Trying to hit Brayden Willis on a seam in the endzone, the pass sailed high for an incompletion.

Brandon Allen

For the first practice of training camp, Allen did not take a snap.

Brandon Aiyuk

Aiyuk was targeted six times today, the most of any 49ers receiver. He has clearly been a focal point of the offense and continues to make play after play.

Today Aiyuk and Brock Purdy connected on three of their four targets, two coming on tight throws over the middle.

Danny Gray

Gray has been among the most improved second year players in camp. The 2022 third round pick looks stronger and has begun making the type of plays many envisioned when the selection was made.

Today saw Gray go up to snag a Sam Darnold throw for a 21-yard completion. A couple plays later he showed off his versatility with a short catch and run for a gain of seven.

Ronnie Bell

The seventh-round draft pick had a catch today. This was his fourth of the season, all coming from Sam Darnold. It appears Darnold is the only quarterback who will throw the ball to Bell.

Jordan Mason

Mason continued his strong camp. With the starting offense facing second and 15 during their move the ball possession, Mason came up big on consecutive plays. After picking up five yards on a draw play, Mason caught a checkdown from Brock Purdy and took it eleven yards for a first down.

Khalen Laborn

The undrafted rookie free agent running back showed his explosion when he took a draw and weaved his way untouched through the defense.

Brayden Willis

Willis continues to bet the better of the two rookie tight ends during the early portion of training camp. He was targeted four times today but caught just one. Two of the three incompletions were due to bad throws from Lance and Darnold, while the third was a throw away in his direction.

Cameron Latu

Latu has been quiet as a receiver in this camp. Today he took a short throw from Sam Darnold and turned up the right sideline for a gain of 15.

The route running ability is there with Latu, but he’s struggled with his hands.

Leroy Watson

With Trent Williams taking a vet day and Jaylon Moore out due to injury, Watson stepped into the starting lineup at left tackle.

Watson held up very well in pass protection, winning his one-on-one matchup repeatedly to keep the quarterback clean. With Moore likely to be out for about a week, Watson will get an opportunity to show if he can back up today’s performance.

Jason Poe

Aaron Banks missed practice on Thursday and is in the concussion protocol. As a result, the 2022 undrafted free agent stepped into the starting lineup.

Facing the 49ers best interior defensive linemen, Poe more than held his own. He was solid in pass protection and was able to get movement in the run game.

JiAyir Brown

The 49ers top draft pick in 2023 has been quiet in camp, mostly due to a lack of big plays in the passing game.

Today the safety was in position to make plays against the run around the line of scrimmage several times. Keep an eye on the rookie once the preseason games start and live tackling begins.

Dee Winters

Winters shows up on this list for the second day in a row. The rookie linebacker forced the only turnover of the day. It came when he leapt to snag a throw from Trey Lance over the middle intended for Tay Martin. Winters has really stepped up his game since the pads went on.


Elijah Mitchell has an abductor strain and is expected to miss at least a week.

Jaylon Moore suffered a bone bruise on his knee during Tuesday’s practice. He is expected to be out for about a week as well.

Aaron Banks is in the concussion protocol.

Jon Feliciano was out with a shoulder injury. Kyle Shanahan said he expects to have the veteran offensive lineman back tomorrow.

This article has 16 Comments

  1. Mitchell out an abductor can be a lingering issue. Sounds like Laborn could step in. From what I have read/heard none of the QBs have had a great day little own back to back great days. Good days yes but not great days. I am really waiting for a great QB day.

    1. OC, I’m hearing good things about TDP, whom I had written off. I hope I was being premature and he proves me wrong. That would be a huge get. Regarding Mitchell getting injured once again, that isn’t helping his cause, don’t you think?

  2. Will Mitchell ever overcome the injury bug? This is the third year that Eli has suffered an injury.

    I’m not sure if Mitchell has reached Jalen Hurds injury level yet, but not being able to get on the field while players like Ty Price and Laborn have been ascending does not bode well.

    If Eli misses any preseason games, it might close the book on him. That would be very disappointing, because Mitchell is a very good player.

  3. 49ers place Mitchell on the season ending injured reserve. No not that Mitchell, CB Terrence Mitchell. Then they sign CB Anthony Averett.

  4. Danny Grey is doing just what I want him to do. Improve! Elijah Mitchell could be in trouble. With major improvements from TDP and Jordan Mason, plus my new favorite Khalon Leborn, if Elijah can’t stay healthy, he could be waived with an injury settlement. The Niners have excellent depth behind CMC. Oh, yeah! Fbs Kyle and Colleto. Sad but true. The Nature of the Beast. But it’s a business. Anybody agree with me?

  5. Is it just me or does it seem like the offense has been playing a leg up on the defense in TC? It seems like it’s usually the other way around, but maybe that’s just the focus of the reporting.

    1. The offense is pretty well intact, while the defense is missing the DPOY, Nick Bosa, and Char Ward. Also, the 3rd LB position has not been completely settled.

  6. So the 49ers have 4 NFL quality QBs. They can’t keep 4 QBs so one will be traded before the start of the season. 2 questions:

    1. What can we read into the QB rotation in preseason game 1. Is the starting QB, the QB the 49ers are looking to trade? Or is it the QB who plays the most?

    2. When the 49ers trade that QB, what position group will they target in return? Oline? Guards? Swing Tackle?

    1. I think the 49ers might try and keep all 4 QB’s with Allen on the practice squad. I am anticipating Allen getting lots of playing time in joint practices and preseason week 1. I think the 49ers want to make him feel valued so he stays on PC. Additionally i think they want to see how he plays in joint practices and games, a mid season trade could make sense if he is needed down the road.

      1. I honestly don’t think there’s any way Allen, or any other 49er QB, clears waivers to make it to the practice squad. Some team will claim him. It’s either make a trade or lose the player. I really don’t see any other options. That’s why I see a trade before the final cut downs.

        1. It does appear that a trade/release is imminent, however it would not surprise me if the Niners try to stash Allen on the practice squad with the thought that if they lose him no big deal. If Allen was well sought after, then I doubt he would be the fourth string QB for the Niners. Allen could wind up being the third QB if the Niners decide to trade Donald or Lance. The question is would Donald or Lance command much of a market. It would seem to me keep what you have and if Allen slips through the cracks so be it. There again injuries to opposing teams QB can often tip the scales regardless of talent.

    2. Pat,
      If Allen ends up #4 I think he will be released with the intent of placing him on the PS. He will get picked up off of waivers.
      If they trade either Darnold or Lance they will trade for draft picks. I’m betting that they will be stockpiling picks for the 24 draft.

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