The good and not-so-good from 49ers OTAs: Week 2

San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey (69) runs during practice at the NFL football team’s training camp in Santa Clara, Calif., on Tuesday, May 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out to me during Wednesday’s OTA.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. TE Garrett Celek. Caught three touchdown passes in the red zone, and seemed to be Garoppolo’s go-to target near the end zone.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. OG Laken Tomlinson. What I wrote about Garnett.

This article has 92 Comments

  1. Solo Thomas, I don’t know man. I hope this guy does indeed turn into a solid player. Why would he lose all that weight?

    1. I think the original plan (DE base, inside passing downs) was the way to go. Maybe 60% snaps played inside with
      a little creative substitution.

      Injuries has hampered the development of Ward and Armstead, but position experimentation hasn’t helped. Hoping they don’t mess with Thomas too much.

  2. Stunned Thomas is 256. Is this his listed weight, or did he say he’s 256? I’m really at a loss.
    Any word why McKinnon was out?
    Like seeing Armsted at 290+. I want to see him forklifting guards.
    Is Pettis looking more like he belongs? Is he getting separation?
    How did Joe Williams look?

    1. Pettis looks GREAT. Definitely blew my (low) expectations away. Seriously will be hard to find a db to cover him

  3. Interesting notes and periscope today.

    1. Pettis is in the good section in write up , but in periscope Grant noted he was playing against 2nd and 3rd string. Let’s see what this guys looks like in the middle of August.
    2. Ward is the highest paid player on Niners D. Remind me why. Agree that trade seems likely.
    3. Grant noted Breida running harder than J Williams thus far. I get the feeling Breida and Mckinon will share duties and Williams will be outside looking in.
    4. I dont know what to make of S Thomas weight loss.
    5. Guard situation is not good which was predicted by everyone.
    6. Garcon, Bourne, Goodwin and Taylor are a talented WR corps.

  4. I wonder if part of the issue with Goodwin is that Jimmy G is not used to his speed. Assuming I’ve done the math correctly, if Jimmy throws a 50 yard perfect pass to a guy who runs a 4.5 forty, he needs to throw that same pass about 52.3 yards to a guy who runs a 4.3 forty. In other words, if both guys start off the line at the same time, the 4.3 guy will have run 52.3 yards when the 4.5 guy has run 50 yards.

  5. I think Grant alluded to this in his periscope session, but the only way they can trade Ward is to showcase him at the premium position of cornerback and preferably outside CB. The soft safety market and high 5th year salary (about $8.5 million) will probably make it very difficult to unload him as a safety.

    1. It is of course too early to make anything but hyperbolic projections at this point.
      Less prognosticators and more Jack Webb observations would be good, but I get that elsewhere and then come here to read and then perhaps chat with commenters.
      Using Pericscope to communicate here reminds me of two teens sitting on a couch silently texting each other via satellite technology while sitting 18” apart.

      1. Jack Webb/Joe Friday quote: “Flinch and you’ll be chasing your head down Fifth Street!

        And then there’s Broderick Crawford/Dan Mathews:: “You’d be amazed how many middle-aged juvenile delinquents there are.”

        1. Broderick Crawford, its been a day or two since I have heard that name.. Highway Patrol was his game.

            1. Damn you, Cassie! I wound up watching episodes of Highway Patrol for hours on YouTube! I’m glad that Broderick Crawford isn’t a 49er coach. He mumbles so much that none of the players would be able to understand him!

              1. Hell, it was so long ago that most of the roads probably weren’t even paved! President Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highway system bill in June 1956 and the show Highway Patrol ran from 1955-1959.

              2. Inland Santa Barbara County. Some Ventura County.
                US101 was two lanes each direction San Diego to San Rafael.
                One in each direction San Rafael to the Oregon Line.
                US99, no I5.
                Route66 was a Highway.
                Air was clean and sex was dirty, and 50s Moms’ (think Barbara Billingsly) favorite phrase was:
                “Get out of the house!”

        2. Riddle me this, Batman………who said…………..”Well, we aint got none o’ that! We aint got no lemonaide, neither!!!!”

    2. They might also have to pick up some of his salary in a trade. They only signed him as insurance for one year anyway. If someone is better they should dump him this year. 8.5 mil is too much for a backup.

  6. Regarding Solomon Thomas, here’s what Saleh said today:

    “No, the plan for Solomon is the same. He’s on the edges during base downs and he’ll come in and rush the passer on the inside. ”

    But then Saleh also said:

    “So, Pita, [LB] Dekoda [Watson], [DL] Cassius Marsh, Eli Harold, it’s like we said the SAM and LEO, they’re interchangeable. We want to make sure that in base downs, those LEOs are on the football field, giving up a little bit of size in exchange for a little bit more pass rush. Those guys are taking to it and they’re figuring it out. Eli is doing a great job, along with Marsh, Pita and Dekoda. They’re all doing a really nice job. So, to get them some more LEO reps for sure.”

  7. Does McNichols touch the ball in practice? He was a solid pass catcher and runner in college. Is his “ability to master the playbook” showing up on the practice field? He was active for at least one game last year. I don’t know if he saw the field.

    What about Chancellor James? He was on IR all last year. Has he made any plays? If Ward does get traded I would like an idea of who will backup the presumed starters.

  8. Hmmm…. so pass rush and guard (two glaring areas of need they virtually ignored in the off-season) having issues? Who would have thunk. I don’t subscribe to their defense that the talent wasn’t there in the draft or free agency. You find a way!

  9. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, hope that Solomon doesn’t turn out to be a bust. The 2nd overall pick in the draft should be an absolute monster of the defensive line. Having him drop to 256 looks like they’re already trying to cover the mistake of not trading up to the 4th pick and taking Chubb.

    1. To be fair not all draft classes are equal. The drop off from Myles Garret to the next best d-lineman was the size of the grand canyon. That’s why that meaningless late season win did more harm than good for the franchise.
      It was not a case of a team learning to win, or laying a foundation for the future because they basically have purged that team in one year.

    2. I really really really hope that posters do not talk about ST being a bust.
      I hope posters cut him some slack, and focus on his positive accomplishments in the OTAs. Sounds like he has been solid in the pass rushing drills.
      I hope they do not fixate on his weight. Second year players have had the whole off season to work out hard and replace their adipose tissue with muscle, which weighs more than fat. I hope that he has become quicker, and has worked on developing more moves.
      Give the guy a break. He just lost his sister to a tragic end, and must be in a world of hurt. He needs love and support right now.
      It was not a mistake to draft him. He is talented, and he helped the team immensely last year to fix the run defense. Even with missing out on the OTAs last season, he got 3 sacks. I think he will get better, and I hope they put him in the best position to succeed. Von Miller weighs 256, so I am hoping he can replicate VM’s success.

      1. Seb,
        I’m not saying he is a bust… I’m saying that Garrett was a far superior prospect , he could be something special… think Julius Peppers. I expect Thomas will be a pretty good player but only a solid starter who is a good run stopping DE that might occasionally get the team 7 sacks in a season.

        1. Shoup, my comment was directed at BW, not you. I did not infer that you called him a bust.
          I agree, ST will be a solid player, and I would be happy if he got 7 sacks, especially if he can help with the run defense.

  10. Grant,

    Thomas is not 256, more like 276. 256 is his listed weight on the 49ers website, and by looking at photos of him in practice he has not lost any weight.

    As usual you are always shooting your wad early with predictions and evaluations. So what’s new?

    1. I think in his pod cast he did mention that he didn’t seem to think that he looked any different from last season.

  11. Does no one in our organization remember that horror movie Jimmy and Brandon Marshall starred in? Wasn’t that with Cutler? The Peacocks just signed him. I would rather cut him at this point and take the hit, then see him on our roster come November… lol

  12. It seems like the only players on our team with an actual position, all 3 downs are DeFo, Witherspoon, Tartt and Colbert.

    1. Uh, assuming you are only talking D, you forgetting about Foster and Smith. Not to mention I expect Sherman. Everyone else will be based on the sub packages.

    1. Yeah, I didn’t get an answer to my question in the previous thread. Is the 256lbs something that comes from Thomas (or someone that legitimately knows) or is it based on a second had source such as (which lists him at 256lbs)? And if it does come from Thomas, did he also say he used to weigh 270+ last season?

      Based on the pics I have seen of him this year he doesn’t look smaller.

        1. In that case it is very much a mountain being made of a mole hill. Those weights shouldn’t be considered gospel.

          1. The 49ers listed weights have been more or less accurate since Shanahan took over. The team has correctly updated Atmstead’s weight. He’s 295 now, and he said so.

            1. May 31, 2018 at 11:26 am
              Per Matt Barrows in his latest mailbag on Thomas listed at 256:

              “He was listed at 256 pounds last year — the 49ers often grab a player’s weight from his college bio — but said at the end of the season he was around 275 and didn’t think he would alter his weight. As far as the eyeball test, he doesn’t seem different than a year ago. We’ll have to ask him. It would have been inappropriate yesterday when he was talking about the loss of his sister.”

              Again, Grant making something out of nothing.

              1. I didn’t claim to have any information other than what was provided by the 49ers.

        2. The team ? Or the official website ?

          Because if it’s the team how come nobody else than Cohn can confirm that ?

          1. Here is the thing about websites which may get the info from the team-ever hear about typo. I have seen many websites list players height or weight in correctly. Even years tenured. So, until you get it from the horses mouth (meaning Solomon himself) it is conjecture.

            Perhaps Grant should have been more like an investigative reporter than gossip columnist by asking Solomon himself-simple no?

          2. “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. ”

            This quote from the lead article is clearly intended as a statement of fact. To now try to shrug off responsibility onto the team is weak to be polite. Poor journalism. And pure click-bait, same as the deep ball comment about Garoppolo. 30 seconds research explains this, too.

  13. Guys , till we see them with pads on .

    We have no idea what to expect .

    They learning position , and plays .

    Do I think they let ST rush from the outside ,. Yes,,,,

  14. I’ve really enjoyed the Twitter feeds. Grant reports what he sees, no sugar coat. He could be wrong, but so could be Cam Inman, or the Matts. The issue is the unsupported prognostication at this early phase. Just take it with a little salt. He feels he needs to be topical.

    1. No sugar and a little salt…. Any chance we can add some dill?

      Yes on the unsupported prognostication take.

  15. No reason to have kept ward and paid him all of that guaranteed money. Another coaches mistake just like allowing hoyer to play for us. That back up qb is also a major mistake waiting to happen

  16. I’m not as worries about Ward as many seem to be. He’s working at a new position “again” and has to learn how to play it. Lets at least get into preseason before rushing to judgment. (I swear the 49ers should write a book on how not to develop a draft pick.)

  17. I see the poison pen is out again.

    What Grant isn’t telling everyone is that Thomas has been outstanding in the pass-rush drills. If you only read here, you’d think Thomas is failing and Grant has a handle on it. You’d be wrong.

    1. All the defensive linemen perform well in the pass-rush drills. The defensive players have the advantage.

  18. I want to know how Jimmy’s footwork is coming along. He’s been picked apart by several film gurus footwork wise. Grant’s report on passes past mid range sounds like he is still struggling with his feet..

  19. grant … come on man … I know you work for the clicks . But please make sure you report accurately. the weight of 256 pounds has been listed for more than a year. But then again we live in the era of trump where you can make up facts to support your argument. most of the other reporters do not mention a weight loss and in the case of people who have lost weight they have reported it. I know you have your opinion but please stick to the facts.

      1. Grant,

        The 49ers website lists several players that seem to be incorrect in height and weight. The current videos and photos of Thomas do not look like he is 256. Also, you mentioned that Thomas is 9 lbs. lighter than Eli Harold, who is listed at 265, but from reading everything up to today the Niners want their strong side linebackers to be around 250-255. Don’t go by the height and weight listed on the 49ers website – since you are there reporting why don’t you ask the players themselves if there are any changes in their height and weight?

        1. To clarify on the height and weight listed on the 49ers website – I state some of the height and weights are incorrect based on the height and weight that the players were measured at the NFL combine.

          In Solomon Thomas case he was measured somewhere a shade under 6’3 (like 6’2 5/8) and at 273 -then he came into camp last year at 276, and Thomas stated himself that is the weight his going to play at.

          Again, look at all the current videos and photos and you will see Thomas looks the same as last year. Why would the Niners ask him to lose weight, get to 256 and then rush him from the inside on passing downs? At 256 lbs, no matter how strong Thomas is, he would not get any push on against 300 lbs plus guards.

            1. Looks can be deceiving-just ask the damn player instead of trying to do the eye test, nobody is that good or accurate. Are you afraid of doing some serious investigative journalism that will dash your suppositions?

  20. People wait for the pads to come on before rushing to judgement…little premature for praising or dumping.

      1. I think he meant his footwork on his longer passes. That is where some observers felt he had problems last season.

  21. Nice report. The good and not so good. At least it was not the good, the bad, and the ugly.
    Sounds like JG is doing well. He may have missed on a couple deep balls, but that is what practices are for. Once he gets dialed in, watch out. Wonder who JG was throwing to during the off season. Obviously, KS did not know. ;p
    Ward and his struggles are a concern. I hope they showcase him, then trade him to a team that just lost their cornerback to injury, like what Grant surmises.
    I am concerned about the Guards. Hope Person emerges and Cooper fully recovers from his injury.

  22. Laughing so hard at you saying Solomon is lighter . He’s actually up to 280 lbs . Surprise surprise you’re wrong

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