SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out during Day 2 of 49ers training camp. Keep in mind, the players wore helmets but no pads, and I didn’t watch seven-on-seven drills because I watched two-on-two pass-rush drills instead. Wouldn’t you?
- The defense. Dominated the offense for the second practice in a row. Shut down the run game and the pass game, and gave up only one long play – a 15-yard run by Tevin Coleman. The defense also forced a fumble, recovered the fumble and intercepted Jimmy Garoppolo
- CB Ahkello Witherspoon. He’s the one who intercepted Garoppolo. This happened during seven-on-sevens (I know, I said I wasn’t watching. I caught the replay). Witherspoon was covering Dante Pettis, who ran a slant. Witherspoon jumped the route, intercepted the pass and returned it for a touchdown. Later during 11 on 11s, Witherspoon broke up another short pass for Pettis who ran a curl route. Yesterday, I prematurely wrote off Witherspoon. Today, he was the best cornerback on the field. Sorry, Ahkello. My bad.
- CB Jason Verrett. Played right cornerback for the second-team defense and didn’t tear his Achilles or ACL. Also didn’t get targeted by the offense.
- LT Joe Staley. Faced Nick Bosa twice during two-on-two pass-rush drills and stonewalled him easily both times. The day before, Bosa beat Staley three times. Good competition so far.
- DE Dee Ford & DT DeForest Buckner. Faced Mike McGlinchey and Mike Person during two-on-two pass-rush drills and destroyed them twice. During the second rep, Ford ran around McGlinchey, and McGlinchey fell over.
- DE Nick Bosa. Struggled during the pass-rush drills, but stopped running back Matt Breida for a three-yard loss during an inside-zone play. Bosa already seems like one of the 49ers’ best run defenders along the defensive line.
- LB Fred Warner. Stripped the ball from Tevin Coleman during a run play, and Malcolm Smith recovered the fumble. Warner has a chance to be special. He is the quarterback and leader of the 49ers’ defense.
- QB Nick Mullens. Took all of the second-string reps for the second day in a row, and completed six of eight pass attempts during team drills. Mullens has been the 49ers’ most consistent quarterback through the first two days of camp.
THE NOT SO GOOD
- QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Played well Saturday but not today. Completed only 5 of 12 pass attempts during 11 on 11s and consistently missed Deebo Samuel over the middle when Samuel ran a dig route. Garoppolo’s passes sailed high and away from his receivers when he missed. He still has lots of throwing talent, but today he played like a 27-year-old rookie.
- The offense. Failed to generate any rhythm in the run game or pass game for the second practice in a row. The wide receivers didn’t consistently beat press coverage or man-to-man coverage, the running backs didn’t have much room to run, George Kittle didn’t get many targets and the starting quarterback seemed rusty coming off a torn ACL. Otherwise, the offense was brilliant.
- The discipline. The defense committed six offside penalties, the offense committed two turnovers and rookie wide receiver Jalen Hurd started two fights. Still, Kyle Shanahan said nothing on the field and disciplined no one. More on Hurd below.
- WR Jalen Hurd. Started a fight with Dontae Johnson by aggressively blocking him downfield during a run play, then started a fight with Antone Exum Jr. by doing the same thing a few plays later. Hurd’s effort would be commendable in a preseason game or a fully-padded live-action practice, but the players weren’t wearing pads. The goal of a non-padded practice is to protect your teammates. Hurd could have injured somebody – that’s why the defense surrounded him and chased him off the field. Solomon Thomas seemed particularly irate with Hurd, who has caught two passes and started two fights since training camp started. Hurd should learn how to play receiver before he throws any more punches at his teammates.
- WR Dante Pettis. Beat Richard Sherman with an out route during 11 on 11s, but couldn’t beat Ahkello Witherspoon. And when Witherspoon jumped Pettis’ slant route and intercepted Garoppolo during 7 on 7s, Pettis didn’t fight for the ball – he gave up on it. Garoppolo scolded him after the play.
- WR Deebo Samuel. Caught zero passes during 11 on 11s and struggled beating bump-and-run coverage. He and Garoppolo don’t have chemistry yet, probably because Samuel missed most of OTAs and all of minicamp.
- CB Richard Sherman. Broke up a pass intended for Joran Matthews, who was running a deep crossing route. Impressive play by Sherman. But, Pettis spun him around before making a 12-yard catch near the sideline – Sherman has trouble covering Pettis because he’s so shifty. And Sherman gave up three or four yards of separation to Marquise Goodwin, who was running a deep curl route, but Goodwin dropped the pass. It will be interesting to see if quarterbacks target Sherman more frequently next season. He seemed vulnerable today.
- LB Kwon Alexander. Participated in 11 on 11s for the first time with the 49ers, and started at weak-side linebacker. But, he bit on a play-action fake and gave up a 15-yard catch to Goodwin. Alexander obviously is rusty after coming off a torn ACL.
- RT Mike McGlinchey. Fell down trying to block Dee Ford during two-on-two pass-rush drills. McGlinchey had trouble blocking Cassius Marsh last year during training camp, so it makes sense he would struggle blocking Ford. McGlinchey still has lots of room to improve in pass protection.
- RG Mike Person. Jullian Taylor “pancaked” him, meaning Taylor knocked Person onto his back and flattened him into a pancake. Person has not played well the first two days of camp. Unfortunately, his backup is injured.
- G Joshua Garnett. Dislocated his thumb. Garnett hasn’t been healthy for two years. Last season, he dislocated his toe.
- RB Tevin Coleman. Produced the offense’s biggest gain of the morning, but also produced the offense’s only turnover of 11 on 11s. Coleman has struggled to find running room during practices this offseason. To be fair, so have all the running backs.
49ers training camp report: Day 2 https://t.co/FiZXoR8W86
— Grant Cohn (@grantcohn) July 28, 2019