San Francisco 49ers’ Nick Bosa adjusts his helmet at the team’s NFL football training camp in Santa Clara, Calif., Saturday, July 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out during Day 1 of 49ers training camp. Keep in mind, the players wore helmets but no pads.
- The first-string defense. Gave up zero points and only one long play to the first-string offense when Ahkello Witherspoon fell down covering Jordan Matthews. The run defense was dominant and the pass rush was effective. The third-string defense even forced a fumble. Didn’t see many of those plays last year.
- DE Nick Bosa. Played left defensive end for the second-string defense, and right defensive end for the first-string nickel defense on third down. During 11 on 11s, Bosa beat Staley around the edge on third down and almost stripped the ball from Jimmy Garoppolo’s hands. Bosa didn’t abuse Staley the way Aldon Smith abused him during Day 1 of training camp in 2011, but Bosa was impressive.
- DE Arik Armstead. The starting right defensive end for the first-string defense. Armstead blew up every run that came his direction. He set the edge beautifully. And on third downs, he moved to nose tackle where he played toward the end of 2018. Armstead will get lots of playing time this season. Bosa probably will back him up, and they’ll play together on third downs.
- DE Solomon Thomas. Played exclusively with the second-team defense, which doesn’t bode well for him next season, but he played well against the backups. He even tackled Matt Breida for a loss during a run play.
- DE Jullian Taylor. Manhandled starting right tackle Mike Person with a bulrush during-on-one pass-rush drills. Taylor is the most violent defensive lineman on the 49ers, and he’s improving.
- OLB Dre Greenlaw. Stopped Tevin Coleman for a five-yard loss on the first play of 11 on 11s. Also blitzed once and sacked Garoppolo. Greenlaw seems to end up in the right place at the right time. He has “good instincts,” as Robert Saleh said after practice.
- WR Deebo Samuel. Reached over his head and made a difficult catch while running a dig route through traffic. The 49ers need Samuel to consistently make catches over the middle, because Dante Pettis can’t. More on Pettis below.
- QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Completed his final six passes during 11 on 11s after missing his first two. Most of his passes were short completions, except for the long pass to Matthews. It will be interesting to see how Garoppolo performs against a live pass rush and a defense that intercepts passes.
- QB Nick Mullens. Took all of the second-string reps at quarterback, and completed three of five passes during 11 on 11s. His best pass was a deep out to Jordan Matthews. Mullens’ arm seems to have gotten stronger.
THE NOT SO GOOD
- The offense. Eight of their first 10 plays either were incomplete passes or runs that gained nothing. The outside-zone run plays did not work against the Wide 9 defensive alignment. The entire offensive line struggled to pass protect. and the wide receivers struggled to get open except when Witherspoon fell down. More on him below.
- WR Dante Pettis. Ran a dig route over the middle and stopped running his route because the pass was slightly above his head. Pettis made no attempt to catch the pass. Didn’t even raise a hand. Bad.
- C Ben Garland. Started at center early in practice because Weston Richburg is out. Garland struggled so much, the coaches replaced him halfway through practice.
- G/C Mike Person. Started at right guard, then moved to center to replace Garland. Persons struggled at both positions. He could not hold his ground against second-year defensive end Jullian Taylor.
- G Joshua Garnett. Played right guard with the first-string offense after Person moved to center. Garnett still looks out of football shape. During one-on-ones, DeForest Buckner easily tossed him to the side.
- CB Ahkello Witherspoon. Gave up two catches on two targets and fell once. Hasn’t seemed to improve yet since last season. Will he ever improve? I’m eager to see Jason Verrett play cornerback when he’s healthy, because I’ve seen enough of Witherspoon.
- DE Kentavius Street. Lost his balance and fell when rushing against undrafted rookie Ross Reynolds during one-on-one pass-rush drills. Street doesn’t seem to have much body control.
- QB C.J. Beathard. Played exclusively with the third-string offense, and completed just one of four pass attempts during 11 on 11s. His sole completion was a 10-yard play-action rollout pass to Kendrick Bourne.
Grant’s training camp report:Day 1 https://t.co/wupAIGlR7l
— Grant Cohn (@grantcohn) July 28, 2019