The good and not so good from minicamp: Day 1

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo throws a pass during a drill at the team’s NFL football training facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Tuesday, June 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

SANTA CLARA — Check out my Periscope report from Day 1 of minicamp.

THE GOOD

  1. RB Tevin Coleman. Caught three passes from Jimmy Garoppolo during 7 on 7s, including a 40-yard touchdown pass. Coleman ran a wheel route up the sideline and beat middle linebacker Elijah Lee for the touchdown catch. Coleman already has become one of Garoppolo’s favorite targets in the pass game, along with Trent Taylor.
  2. WR Trent Taylor. Caught eight passes, including six from Garoppolo. The 49ers’ starting quarterback trusts Taylor, and Kyle Shanahan loves calling plays for him. Taylor seems on track to bounce back from a poor 2018.
  3. WR Marquise Goodwin. Caught three passes, all from C.J. Beathard. On the first catch, Goodwin beat Ahkello Witherspoon with a corner route for a 20-yard gain. On the second catch,, Goodwin beat Dontae Johson with an out-route for a 15-yard gain. And on the third catch, Goodwin beat Tarvarius Moore with an out route for a 10-yard gain. Goodwin should have had a deep touchdown catch as well — he was open — but Garoppolo overthrew him. That was the second time Garoppolo missed an open Goodwin downfield Tuesday morning. Those two have not yet recreated the chemistry they had in 2017.
  4. WR Jordan Matthews. Caught a touchdown pass from Beathard in the red zone. Mathews ran a corner route. Beathard rolled out to his left and stared at Matthews, who was running toward the back pylon and was covered. Instead of staying covered, Matthews quickly broke away from the pylon and got open, and Beathard hit him for the touchdown. Veteran play by Matthews.
  5. QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Completed 13 of 19 passes (68 percent) during 7 on 7s, but failed to lead a touchdown drive while trailing by four points with 1:20 on the clock in the fourth quarter.
  6. QB Nick Mullens. Completed 9 of 13 passes (69 percent) during 11 on 11s and 7 on 7s. Almost lead a touchdown drive down four with 1:20 left, but his receiver, Malik Henry, fumbled while sprinting for the goal line.
  7. OG Ross Reynolds. An undrafted rookie who plays like a veteran. Rarely gets beat during one-on-one pass-rush drills. Already better than Joshua Garnett, and may be better than Mike Person soon.
  8. DT Sheldon Day. Consistently generates pressure from the 2i position (inside shade of the guard) in the base defense. But, can he stop the run from that position? We’ll find out during the preseason.
  9. DE Arik Armstead. The starting Leo (weak-side defensive end) in the base Wide 9 defense. Armstead has taken most of the reps with the starters and doesn’t seem to be competing for a job. That could change when Nick Bosa returns from a hamstring injury.
  10. LB Elijah Lee. Forced a fumbled, recovered it and returned it for a touchdown. Lee is an underrated player.
  11. The Wide 9. It’s not a good defense to stop runs between the tackles, but it’s perfect for stopping bootleg passes. Mullens attempted a play-action bootleg pass on Tuesday and, as soon as he turned around, Armstead was in his face. Mullens had to throw the ball away.

THE NOT SO GOOD

  1. SS Jaquiski Tartt. The Wide 9 is not a good defensive alignment to stop play action. On the first play of practice, the offense came out in 11 personnel (three wide receivers), and the defense matched up with Nickel personnel. Tartt lined up in the C gap, and bit hard when he saw the run action coming toward him. This created a huge void in the secondary, and helped Goodwin make a 20-yard catch. Defending play action will be an issue all season.
  2. CB Ahkello Witherspoon. After Tartt bit on the play-action fake, Goodwin ran an out-route and juked Witherspoon so drastically, Witherspoon spun around like a dreidel. I still can’t fathom why the 49ers would bring back the same starters from the worst defensive backfield in the NFL.
  3. DE Solomon Thomas. he backup Wide 9 defensive end behind Dee Ford. Solomon Thomas almost never takes snaps with the starting defense. He is not a starting-caliber player.
  4. WR Dante Pettis. Beat Richard Sherman with an out-route for a 10-yard gain, but also dropped a pass and failed to fight for a contested target. Pettis hasn’t improved since last year. He’s the same player.
  5. WR Richie James. Fumbled and seemed disengaged. Not a lock to make the final roster.
  6. WR Deebo Samuel. Sat out with a strained hip. Also missed last week’s OTAs with the same injury. Doesn’t seem on track to make a big impact as a rookie. By this time in 2017, George Kittle already was a go-to receiver in the 49ers passing offense during OTAs and minicamp.
  7. WR Jalen Hurd. Sat out with the knee injury that ended his college season last year. Missed all of OTAs as well. Not a good start to his career.
  8. OT Mike McGlinchey. Sat out after receiving a platelet-rich-plasma injection in his knee. Yikes.
  9. QB C.J. Beathard. Completed 9 of 16 passes (56 percent), and struggled throwing toward the sideline. He put way too much air under those throws. He doesn’t have a strong arm.
  10. P Mitch Wishnowsky. Shanked back-to-back punts. One of them came off his foot sideways, both ends pointing toward the sideline, and traveled just 39 yards.
  11. Players diving for loose balls. After Malik Henry fumbled, three or four defensive players ran to the ball and dove on it. None of the players were wearing shoulder pads. They could have injured themselves, as Jimmie Ward did during OTAs when he broke his clavicle. The 49ers are lucky more players didn’t get injured this offseason.

This article has 69 Comments

  1. Good to hear that the backup QB competition is so heated. Hope both do well, so if they do trade away a QB, they will get a decent draft pick for him. I expect some team will lose a QB to injury, or have a QB under performing, so they will want to acquire one of the Niner backups.
    .
    Kinda sad to hear about Thomas getting the second team reps, but I guess Armstead is shining in these practices.
    .
    Interesting to hear about Sheldon Day becoming the interior DT. Guess he is out competing DJ Jones.
    .
    14 is Max McCaffrey. Maybe Grant was looking at 41- Emmanuel Moseley.
    .
    Glad to hear about the defenders stripping the ball, but agree with Grant that they should not be diving on the ground to secure the turnover.
    .
    Lots of injuries are allowing a lot of the second string to take first string reps.

      1. If Haskins becomes injured, CJB may be a good landing spot at Washington, with Bobby Beathard being the former GM.
        .
        Miami may be dissatisfied with Rosen, and may want to upgrade the QB position.
        .
        Buffalo and Josh Allen may not work out. He has been inaccurate.
        .
        If Flacco shows his age, or regresses like he did in Baltimore, Mullens may be a good option, since Scangarello favors Mullens like a son.
        .
        Many teams may suffer from an injury to their starter, and may be dissatisfied with their backup. Mullens or CJB may be a good alternative.
        .
        However, I think with the injury to JG, they may keep both backups, just in case. Of course, if Speight does shine, it may make one of those players expendable. Then, it would benefit the Niners to trade away a QB, instead of cutting him, and losing him for nothing.

  2. Interesting that Grant can’t recall the 4th QB’s name…and doesn’t seem to give a flyin’ one. It’s Speight, Grant. Speight.

    1. Remember what “The Dude” said: ” Yeah,well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.” And you know who The Dude was. 🤣

    2. Matt Barrows

      @mattbarrows
      Mitch Watch
      The 49ers’ punter had six punts on Tuesday. Hang times, per a panel of so-called experts with stopwatches on their iPhones:
      4.43
      5.15
      4.24
      3.65
      5.11
      4.91

    3. And here’s what Chris Biderman reported:

      Chris Biderman

      @ChrisBiderman
      Replying to @ChrisBiderman @mattbarrows
      His six punts today: 4.78, 5.16 (this was a bomb), 4.00, 3.58, 5.05 and 4.66.

      1. So, if you average its 4.58 or slightly better than 4.44 average of 2014 NFL punters. This, I assume without pressure.

    4. Inman says…

      “The punter who commanded a fourth-round draft pick is making us all look, well, skyward. A few of us timed the hang time on his punts Tuesday, and some lasted over 5 seconds. He’ll likely hang some longer than that when it counts. Looks like a weapon, indeed.”

      If it proves out, nothing wrong with getting a weapon in the fourth round…there is that word again “IF”.

      1. Yup. Many ifs involved–across the roster.

        If Wishnosky remains healthy and the punt team–as a unit–plays consistently well (good blocking and good downfield coverage), the 9ers should reap the benefits.

      2. UC,
        I believe that the FO described TBW as a weapon after drafting him. Looks like others are starting to agree.

  3. Grant… How’d you like to field a horizontally-spinning punt–as you described? There you are, standing on your 17 yard line–late 3rd quarter in a tight game–and the ball is coming down, spinning curiously–and here come a couple of 9er gunners, zeroing in.

    1. I remember my sophomore year in high school. I became the punt returner because our starting returner was having trouble catching the ball. I could catch anything. Never dropped a single punt and was ok on the returns. Not the best on the team but I was reliable when it came to catching. Spin didn’t bother me at all. I was also naively fearless. I was not going to fair catch anything. I was going to get everything I could out of every punt. In my 3rd game as a returner, this punter hit an absolute bomb. I didn’t have to back up too far but I had to wait forever for it to come down. No fair catch. My head was still tilted up when I caught the ball and this guy absolutely blasted me. Crown of helmet straight to the chin and full decleater. Kind of thing where I could hear my teammates and fans yelling “OOOOOO” before I even hit the ground. It was back before the hard shell chin straps so I just had this piece of cloth to protect my chin. The dude actually chipped the bottom right of the bone in my chin. You can still feel the break in my chin today. My chin split open like a sausage that sat too long on the grill. I had blood all over my face and down the front of my jersey. I will not lie. I almost had tears. It hurt like a MF. I missed one series on offense but never missed another return the rest of the year. I did start fair catching high punts after that hit though.

      Point is, for an NFL player spin may be more difficult to catch but those guys are so skilled it really shouldn’t matter what type of spin the punter puts on the ball. If you muff 1 too many punts you’re out of a job so those guys catch any type of punt 99.9% of the time. Where Wishnowsky can differentiate himself is if he can flip the field and create more fair catches.

  4. Love your video reports. Why because it enables you to go into greater detail. In these video’s you reveal your opinions as probabilities and not as dogmatic facts, which is how your print reports come across. These video’s reveal your level of insight because you are able to express the rationale behind your statements.

    The perspective about players not putting themselves into injury situations during these type of camps makes sense. Have you considered that is what Pettis might be doing? Last season the closer it got too real, the more he put himself out. Not saying that is his reasoning all the time, but rather that that might be a consideration for his play.

  5. I have been hearing rumors that the Niners want Deebo to drop 5 -10 lbs.
    It is really hard if not impossible draw any real conclusions until mid August and we see how everyone is doing in full padded workouts.
    Prediction: Tevin Coleman leads niners backfield with 1400 rush/ pass yards and 10 td .

    1. Wow! 5-10 pounds now. Sounds more like what you tell a redshirt in order to get him ready for transition to the next level. But what do I know?

      1. 49ers assistant Wes Welker says Deebo Samuel is working on losing weight,

        https://www.49erswebzone.com/articles/125827-49ers-assistant-welker-samuel-working-losing-weight-catching/

        New 49ers wide receivers coach Wes Welker recently joined the 49ers Insider Podcast and discussed the two rookies. He feels Samuel is versatile enough to play any receiver position. He will, however, need to lose some weight to perform effectively in the slot, says Welker.

        “I think he’s a guy that you can play inside or outside,” Welker told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. “He’s definitely a bigger body but he does have good quickness, and speed, and all those different things.

        “Me and him, we keep on talking. If he wants to play in the slot, he’s going to have to lose a few pounds. That’s something that we’re working on now, and he’s working hard to do it. We’re going to keep on just harping on him of doing that. He’s had a great attitude about it.

        “He’s looked really good, and I’m excited about how far he’s come so far. And we’re just going to keep on working on it.”

        Welker went on to explain why Samuel has to shed some pounds to play in the slot.

        I think the more weight you have, the more getting in and out of breaks becomes tougher,” Welker said. “I love his size, and I love his physicality and everything, but we’re still going to want to be able to use him on some of those plays where you really want him to get in and out of those breaks. The lighter you are when you’re doing that, the better off you’re going to be.”

      2. I hope all the rookie WRs study hard and work out to gain muscle mass, so they can take the pro hits, yet be lean enough to stay fast.
        .
        Sounds like Pettis was replacing fat with muscle, since muscle is denser and weighs more.

  6. Wow thanks Grant…I appreciate you candor….glad to see the team is not going far despite the obnoxious homers available..thanks Grant

  7. I have been skeptical of Grant’s opinions in the past, but he has been right about a lot of things lately. I’m normally an optimist, but I’m a bit pessimistic about the defensive changes too. SF used the wide 9 alignment some last year, and I don’t have a problem with them using it a little more, especially on passing downs. But I hope they don’t overdo it. The defense was not bad last year in terms of yards. But they were bad in terms of scoring because they couldn’t get turnovers. I don’t think they need to reinvent the wheel.

    I’m also very concerned about all the injury prone players. Some players just seem to get hurt more than others and SF seems to have a roster full of them.

  8. I don’t totally blame Saleh for the bad defense. I don’t think we’ve ever had the personnel to effectively play Cover 3. Those holding out hope that Tartt and Witherspoon make the jump because of the pass could be waiting a while. Maybe Lynch and Shanahan finally realized they don’t have the personnel for the cover three and got coaches who best utilize what we have? I don’t think scheme will fix these players issues.

      1. Dietrich, it’s more than health. People keep wishing these players would perform in a way they never have before. Can you really tell if someone is solid from OTA’s and mini camp?

    1. That is why I wanted them to draft Malik Hooker, after trading back. Jamal Adams would also had been a good option.
      .
      This season, I wanted the Niners to trade back, get multiple second round picks, and select Juan Thornhill with one of those second round picks.
      .
      Until they find that single high safety, the Pete Carroll defense will not work properly. Colbert took bad angles last season. Maybe Tarvarius Moore will work out, but Richard Sherman may be the best option, and it would help him to continue his career.

      1. seb, I agree about the S position! they have passed on some good ones the last few years ( Dewin james , to go along with JA and MH)
        but I agree with the roster construction…..and I like how, when a weakness is evident….they ATTACK the position!
        roster construction- offense- qb, line, rb……THEN wr!
        roster construction- defense- stop the run, rush the passer, THEN the secondary!

        attacking positions- identify pass rush as biggest defensive weakness……biggest splash in free agency…..D.Ford! speed/ finesse guy….one of the, if not the best possible guys on the market via free agency or trade! some would argue flowers….but he too closely resembles Bosa.
        But they didn’t stop there!!!! they spent the 2nd overall pick on………ANOTHER PASS RUSHER!!! that’s how you attack a position!
        They did the same thing w wr…….drafting 2 guys back to back may seem redundant….but wr was the biggest weakness on offense……so they attacked it aggressively by adding 2 guys early in the draft that do different things!

        well see the same aggressiveness next year in regards to the secondary. 4th rounders or worse, weren’t going to bump guys like Tart, Ward,Verrett, Moore,or AW…….all of whom were drafted in rounds 1-3!!!!!!! this is what most fans don’t understand and it drives me nuts!!!! I don’t understand why grant dosent get this either!!!!
        and I didn’t even name other guys who were lower round picks competing for jobs (Colbert, etc)

        these highly drafted guys deserve a shot at finally staying healthy and competing on a D with an ACTUAL pass rush!
        it will sort itself out…..and next year…..they will be aggressive in not just plugging holes in the secondary…..but adding long term quality high caliber starters!

  9. The obsession with the punter on this forum is quite something. Maybe you can start a fan club and call it; “Mitch’s B!tches.”

        1. Shoup, then shouldn’t that flak come after he’s revealed to be anything less than a perennial all pro? How about we – you – give him a season at least?

  10. So I listened to the entire periscope. My reactions are :

    1. There are a lot of nagging injuries around the league right now which are preventing several probowl caliber players and high profile rookies from practicing. It seems like this is the norm in the early goings.

    2. Kittle injured his shoulder in the first preseason game last year and did not play or practice until the regular season. I seem to recall that he performed pretty well during the regular season.

    3. Grant suggested taking Trent Taylor over Deebo in fantasy because Deebo is injured often ???? And Taylor isn’t ??

    4. Let’s distinguish between injury prone and freak injuries. I think Verrett has had a series a freak injuries not unlike Keenan Allen. Jimmy Ward on the other hand is injury prone.

  11. Niners should employ some martial arts trainers. Maybe Judo so they can hit the ground without injuring themselves.
    .
    Mitch shanked 2 punts? They might cut him. ;p
    .
    I wonder if Welker will be able to help Trent Taylor excel, since they have similar body types, and both played the slot.
    .
    The WR competition may come down to Bourne or Richie James. Maybe Hurd will be put on IR with a mid season designation to return, so he can totally heal his knee.

  12. A quick sampling of OTA and minicamp injuries across the league. Ain’t just the 9ers…

    Miles Sanders (PHI)
    Andrew Luck (IND)
    Connor McGovern (DAL)
    Brice Butler (MIA)
    Josh Allen (JAX)

    Google for the details. Press Democrat is blocking the posting of multiple links.

    1. And more current injuries….

      “Safety Marquise Blair

      Marquise is still coming back from a hammy that happened about a week ago, 10 days ago. It’s unfortunate too. For the young guys these practices are so important for them. We miss the opportunity to learn them, and they miss the chance to pick up on stuff and get reps and all that, so it’s unfortunate. The little bit that he has had, he has looked very good, and we’re disappointed we can’t get him back out.”

  13. Grant. Question (again)…

    Why is the 9ers official website so slow to post photos of on-field practices? Is the site’s content manager incompetent? Are the 9ers concerned about ‘letting too much out’?

    Years ago there seemed to be more timely and inclusive pics and video. Not so much the last couple years.

    What gives?

  14. Deebo’s Injury might be due to Welker working him too hard to quickly lose weight. I don’t think you can read too much into OTAs and such. Preseason games are when it counts. Tevin Coleman will be the star on offense while the pass rushers will star on defense. Jordan will be a nice red zone target until Hurd learns the offense which may not be til next year. Kwon Alexander, when healthy, will be a rock on defense. Never seen so many injured guys getting big contracts. I thought we learned from Balke not to do that.

  15. Grant…

    You say… “P Mitch Wishnowsky. Shanked back-to-back punts. One of them came off his foot sideways, both ends pointing toward the sideline, and traveled just 39 yards.”

    In your periscope session you qualified one of the shanks as a 40++ yard result, so you seemed unsure if it was a true shank. Just sayin’…

    Also, did you Google the term ‘banana punt’? You said… “both ends pointing toward the sideline.” Check out banana punt. May have been deliberate Grant….

    https://www.sbnation.com/2017/9/10/16285590/colts-vs-rams-johnny-hekker-trick-punt-best-special-teams-play

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HhQfaLrD6w

  16. What NFL injury data say….
    https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2019/2018-adjusted-games-lost-part-i

    2018 Adjusted Games Lost: Part I
    by Vincent Verhei

    A handful of trends clearly stand out in the NFL injury data from 2018.

    Injuries, as a whole, have been on the rise in recent years … or, at least, teams are reporting injuries more often.
    This is particularly true for wide receivers, tight ends, offensive linemen, but most of all for defensive backs.
    Most of the time, it’s obvious from the injury report who will and who won’t be playing on Sundays.
    We have collected the data from the NFL’s weekly injury reports for every season since 2002. This allows us to measure not just who played and who didn’t, but who was able to play with injuries, even if those injuries meant the player was at something less than 100 percent. That’s why we call this metric adjusted games lost — in addition to players who missed games entirely, we also count those who hit the field after appearing on the injury report at an adjusted rate. Further, we track whether the injured player was a starter, a situational reserve, or simply bottom-of-the-roster fodder. Obviously, an injury to a starting tackle is more important than one to a guy who only plays on special teams.

  17. I have mixed feelings about that
    > “Players diving for loose balls. ”

    Sure, in OTA without pads it seems unnecessary risky.
    However, compared to last year where the 49ers had a more “relaxed” mentality in the offseason and started the season with all the defensive players not able to tackle anymore, I think the change is welcomed.

    Cultivate their aggressiveness right from the start is a good thing I think.

  18. Question regarding Jimmy G. Why isn’t it safe for Jimmy G to participate in 11 on 11 drills yet he can participate in 7 on 7 drills? Aren’t all drills non-contact?

      1. Yes, more bodies that may initiate contact. 7 on 7 is more controlled.
        .
        Glad they are protecting JG from possible further injury.

  19. Barrows:

    Big news from 49ers minicamp: Jimmy Garoppolo took his first 11-on-11 rep post ACL tear today during a 2-minute drill. After that it was back to 11 on 7 (no dlinemen). Spoiler: the offense scored.

  20. Off topic. Here’s a great quote from Mark Twain for the graduation season:

    “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

  21. Thanks Grant…always enjoy your write ups and periscope analysis…..sounds like more of the same= injuries and the same poor performing players playing poorly….hopefully this team can win 4 more games this year.

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