SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out to me during Wednesday’s OTA.
- QB Jimmy Garoppolo throwing in the red zone. Garoppolo attempted 11 passes in the red zone and completed seven for touchdowns. He almost was unstoppable in this particular area of the field against this particular defense, and he routinely picked on Jimmie Ward. More on him below.
- WR Kendrick Bourne. Caught a touchdown pass from Garoppolo in the red zone while running a quick slant between free safety Adrian Colbert and outside linebacker Korey Toomer. Bourne also beat Ward down the sideline for a 40-yard catch earlier during practice. Bourne has been the third-best receiver on the team during OTAs after Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin.
- WR Dante Pettis. Beat cornerback Trovon Reed with an out-and-up double move, and should have scored a touchdown, but caught the ball out of bounds – C.J. Beathard’s pass sailed wide right. A Beathard special. Pettis also beat cornerback C.J. Goodwin in the red zone, but Pettis stepped out of bounds before catching the ball, and the touchdown didn’t count.
- TE Garrett Celek. Caught three touchdown passes in the red zone, and seemed to be Garoppolo’s go-to target near the end zone.
- TE George Kittle. Caught two touchdown passes in the red zone, and caught another pass on third down. Garoppolo has thrown to Kittle frequently on third during the two OTAs in front of the media. And Kittle hasn’t dropped a pass yet.
- DE Arik Armstead. Weighs 295 pounds, his natural playing weight. Last season, Armstead weighed only 275 pounds, and he got hurt. Losing all that weight was a mistake.
THE NOT SO GOOD
- DE Solomon Thomas. Weighs only 256 pounds, down from 275, his playing weight last season. Now, Thomas is nine pounds lighter than starting strongside linebacker Eli Harold. Weird. Thomas is supposed to be an interior rusher – that’s what the 49ers keep saying. But, he’s too light to rush from the inside. He has to be an edge-rusher, and he’s not a natural fit there. The 49ers are playing him out of position.
- DE Cassius Marsh. When I watched him rush against rookie right tackle Mike McGlinchey, the rookie owned him. Rode Marsh around the edge and out of the play with ease.
- CB Jimmie Ward. Gave up three touchdown catches in the red zone, and got burned deep twice. Ward also broke up two passes, but he got beat on those plays – the quarterback made bad throws, and allowed Ward recover. Ward is a terrible fit at cornerback in the 49ers scheme. I’m guessing they hope to trade him before the season starts to some team that’s desperate for a corner.
- Garoppolo throwing deep to Marquise Goodwin. First, Garoppolo threw high and behind Goodwin, who ran a deep dig route over the middle and was open. Then, Garoppolo underthrew Goodwin, who ran a deep go route and was open. The pass hung up in the air and Ward almost picked it off. Goodwin had to run back and knock the ball to the ground.
- OG Joshua Garnett. Defensive tackles continuously pushed Garnett into the backfield during one-on-one pass-rush drills. He could not hold ground. That’s not good for a guard.
- OG Laken Tomlinson. What I wrote about Garnett.