The good and not so good from Week 2 of 49ers OTAs

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo throws a pass during the NFL football team’s practice in Santa Clara, Calif., Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)

SANTA CLARA — Check out my Periscope report from Week 2 of OTAs.

Here are the Cliff’s Notes:

THE GOOD

  1. No more injuries.
  2. No one-on-one pass rush drills. Last week, Nick Bosa pulled his hamstring during a competitive, full-speed, full-contact pass-rush drill with no pads. This was not a smart drill for May. OTAs are for learning, not competing. The 49ers got the memo, and scrapped the one-on-one pass-rush drills today. Good move.
  3. RB Tevin Coleman. Scored a touchdown on his first carry. The play was an outside zone run to the right. He got to the edge, turned the corner and sprinted down the sideline for the touchdown.
  4. TE George Kittle. Caught three touchdown passes in the red zone. One touchdown catch came against man-to-man coverage. Kittle reached over the defensive back’s head and caught the ball away from his body — something Kittle rarely did last season. Good to see him make a contested catch, and good to see the 49ers get him more involved in the red zone.
  5. CB Richard Sherman. Broke up a pass intended for Dante Pettis near the sideline. Pettis lined up outside the numbers and ran a comeback route. Sherman gave up lots of separation on comeback routes last season, but not today. He smothered Pettis, and nearly intercepted the pass, but stumbled out of bounds before he secured the ball.
  6. WR Deebo Samuel. Caught a slant in the red zone, another slant on an RPO play and ran a jet sweep. Samuel currently is competing to be the 49ers’ No. 3 receiver. Pettis and Marquise Goodwin are the starters.
  7. WR Kendrick Bourne. Beat Marcell Harris with a slant route in the red zone for a touchdown. Also scored a long touchdown in the middle of the field after running a square-in.
  8. WR Jordan Matthews. Made a wide-open touchdown catch in the red zone. Took advantage of a blown coverage.
  9. TE Ross Dwelley. Made a touchdown catch in the red zone while running a speed out. Clearly the second-best receiving tight end on the field.
  10. SS Jaquiski Tartt. Had tight coverage on an incomplete pass intended for Pettis in the end zone.
  11. SS Marcell Harris. Almost intercepted a pass intended for Kaden Smith in the end zone.
  12. MLB David Mayo. Broke up two passes during 7 on 7s, and recorded a tackle for loss near the goal line during 11 on 11s.
  13. QB C.J. Beathard. Completed six of nine pass attempts.

THE NOT SO GOOD

  1. 7 on 7 drills. The quarterbacks continue to stand in one place for up to five seconds while searching for an open receiver. Standing in one place does not prepare a quarterback for a real game. After 2.5 seconds, a coach should jog slowly  toward the quarterback and force him to slide, reset his feet and then throw.
  2. DE Dee Ford. Failed to set the edge on the first run of practice and gave up a 70-yard touchdown run to Coleman. Ford’s run defense will be an issue all season.
  3. WR Dante Pettis. Caught only one of four targets, and dropped two passes. Doesn’t work hard enough to make contested catches. Not reliable enough to be a No. 1 receiver, although the 49ers clearly see him as their No. 1.
  4. CB Ahkello Witherspoon. Grabbed wide receiver Max McCaffrey in the red zone and committed a defensive pass interference penalty.
  5. DB Tarvarius Moore. Took reps at free safety after playing the first season of his career at cornerback. Now, Moore is in the same position Jimmie Ward has been in the past couple of seasons — he’s learning multiple positions, but mastering none of them.
  6. QB Nick Mullens. Completed just five of 10 pass attempts. Three of his passes probably should have been intercepted.
  7. QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Completed just 11 of 20 pass attempts during 7 on 7s — a shockingly low percentage for a player of his skill level, especially when he’s not facing a pass rush. A supposed franchise quarterback like Garoppolo should be more consistent in practices, even during May.

This article has 87 Comments

  1. Why Is Moore listed in the bad column when he made an interception in both practices as a free safety ?

  2. Thanks for the breakdown Grant. I have a few minor quibbles though. While I do agree that the 49ers are potentially placing Moore in a similar situation that Ward was in last season, I believe it is too early to put the move in the “good” or “not so good” sections of your OTA report.
    Next, you dinged Garoppolo on his performance in practice and stated that a supposed franchise QB should be more consistent in practice, but you failed to state whether the passes he threw were catchable. If they were, then that is more on the receivers than the QB.
    Finally, while you did praise Sherman, you left out that he was not 100% healthy last season as opposed to this season with regards to his struggles against the comeback route.

          1. Either one.

            We had to do a hand timer. We would yell “get it out” at 2.5 seconds and at 4 the whistle blew.

            1. That is a good way to handle that drill. Niners should employ that strategy in future practices.
              .
              However, they may be allowing the extra time to help the QB and Receiver get more in sync, and the positive feedback from successfully completing passes, helps the offense.
              .
              Early on, the offense is behind the defense, so they need to gel, get into a rhythm, work on routes and develop timing.
              .
              Niner receivers need to always work to get open, and come back for the ball to give the QB a target to throw to, if there is extra time.
              .
              I am impressed with the working knowledge of the posters on this site, and hope they take Grant’s advice on rushing a coach with his hands in the air after a few seconds, to give the play a more realistic feel.

          2. Why, I bet in all his years of coaching Shanahan never heard of such a thing :/

            Grant, why not ask Shanahan why he’s not using a timer? Despite you and Jack knowing everything he does, doesn’t do, should do, shouldn’t do, perhaps there is a reason. Find out for us, ok?

    1. Mullens has shown himself to be a gamer and not much of a practice player. Some players are like that as opposed to those that shine in practice but suck in games.

  3. Sometimes we see only that which we want to see.
    A tale of two sports writers:

    Grant: “QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Completed just 11 of 20 pass attempts during 7 on 7s — a shockingly low percentage for a player of his skill level, especially when he’s not facing a pass rush. A supposed franchise quarterback like Garoppolo should be more consistent in practices, even during May. ”

    Cam Inman 49ers mailbag: Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. How’s Jimmy? (@im_bonin)
    Safety Jaquiski Tartt said Jimmy Garoppolo “for sure” has familiar zip on his passes, and there were a lot to judge Wednesday. Garoppolo completed 10-of-18 passes in 7-on-7 action, most of which came on red zone drills and were highlighted by touchdown strikes to George Kittle (two), Jordan Matthews and Richie James; Dante Pettis dropped one.

      1. Mullins report is the one am interested in reading I. Hope Joe decides to finish his career with the 49,ers

  4. How many years were you a football player or a scout? It doesn’t seem like having only a journalism degree and a grandiose sense of self-importance qualifies anyone to be an expert. I guess the benefit of having a bully pulpit is making your megaphone of baseless opinions louder than the next jabroni.

  5. Grant, is it fair to say that in RZ drills you would expect the pass completion % to be below that of normal play between the 20s?

    1. Of course. But, during a seven-on-seven drill with no clock on the quarterback, the completion percentage should be higher.

  6. You mention QBs completions being low but also mention many dropped passes. Can’t blame qb for dropped passes… you say you don’t want players getting hurt yet you want Jimmy to move in the pocket in early otas coming off a injured acl. Doesn’t make sense…

  7. All though it sucks that hes saying it .But grant calked this last year and was right so im going with what he says but hoping for better that way its not a let down they should ask mike shanahan for more imput for otas

  8. “Coffee’s for Closers says:
    April 10, 2019 at 11:46 am
    I think he’ll(Deebo) see a lot of specialty plays similar to Cordarrelle Patterson, Jet sweep etc.

    “Grant Cohn says:
    April 10, 2019 at 11:50 am
    I see that with Deebo. He ran those specialty plays at South Carolina.”

    WR Deebo Samuel. Caught a slant in the red zone, another slant on an RPO play and ran a jet sweep.

    ;)

        1. I also think Bourne is a sleeper to be much more productive then he’s getting credit for. I’m not a Pettis or Goodwin fan. I’m waiting to see if Taylor can redeem himself this year or not. I think Taylor or Bourne could sneak into the #3 receiver(in terms of yards) conversation.

          So it’s:

          Samuel
          Kittle
          ??

            1. Yeah, at this early stage I am thinking he ends up being cut, with Matthews retained as the backup z receiver and option in the slot. The versatility to play multiple positions the main reason I think he ends up preferred over Bourne.

              1. Yep. Lack of versatility hurts Taylor too if you’re discounting his ability to field punts.

        1. I guess after reading this if they would like to be more competitive they need to have a timing or something of that matter to have the quarterbacks be more polished and ready for pre-season and regular season for after reading Garoppolo completed 11 of 20 as he stands there in the pocket with no pass rush or pressure this may be a early things but maybe we might need to be looking at trading him for something more cheaper and willing to deliver on no pressure for they’re not playing backyard football it’s to get ready for the long season

  9. Grant, I appreciate you as one of our more grounded & realistic Niners reporters. But if you’re going to use broad proclamations about players and their roles on the negative side of things (ie. Pettis not being reliable enough to be enough to be a number 1 receiver) can we see some of those on the positive? For example, why no comment about how Coleman will be a force for our offense this year after reporting about his big run?

    It feels like you only commit broadly to things when it comes to the negative, which I think is what irks me about some of your reporting.

    1. I’ve committed to Mullens being a high-end No. 2 QB and a possible starter. I also mentioned how Kittle is improving in the red zone and how important that is.

      1. Noted.

        But you can see how that seems weak in comparison, right? Comments about our insanely talented TE getting better or our number 2 qb projections pale in comparison to your takes that Pettis isn’t a number 1 guy, or that Dee Ford’s run defense will be a problem all season.

        You went out on a limb for those negative statements, which may well prove to be true. But I’d love to see you do the same for the things you believe in. Maybe there aren’t any of consequence?

              1. C’mon man, that’s a cop-out from our conversation.

                I’d challenge you to write an article about the things you are genuinely excited about for the 2019 season. We know you’re down on the team & its leadership — it’s an easy time to feel that way. Take a risk. Is it really just Kittle’s red zone performance & Nick Mullens as a backup qb? Is there nothing else you’d go on the record believing in? Of all our beat reporters, you’re the one I’d most want to see this from.

                Btw — Kawakami would have blocked me like 3 posts ago. Truly appreciate you having the back & forth.

              2. It’s an easy time to feel down on the 49ers? Everyone predicts they’ll have a good season. I’m on my own.

              3. Grant-

                you are letting the past taint your view of the present.

                Montana was not at his best-yet-at this time of year……

  10. I’m pretty enthusiastic about Tevin Colemen . I think he will have a big year . Some things to consider about him:

    1. In college, IU , he combined Rush/Received for 2,200 yards his senior year with 7.5 YPC and scored 15 TD.
    2. ATL Superbowl season with Shanahan as OC his rush/receive stats were 520/420 with 11 TD.
    3. 2018 his numbers were 800/276 with 8 TD. His YPC was 4.5 on 270 carries.
    4. Shanahan picked him out of IU and again hand picked him for the Niners.

    He is a workhorse who who is a duel threat and has a nose for the endzone.

  11. I say moving moore to safety will end up being a good move, he needs to be on the feild and safety right now is is best chance since he has way more experience there in college and he wasn’t winning the starting corner any time soon, but I also just tweeted today the same issue about players swtiching positions in general at the same time calling for the Moore switch and sounds like hes recorded picks in back 2 back practices so it may pay off!!

  12. I say moving moore yo safety will end ip being a good move, he needs to be in the feild and safety right now is is best chance since he has way more experience there in college and he wasn’t winning the starting corner any time soon, but I yweeted the same thing about players swtiching positions in general at the same time calling for the Moore switch and sounds like hes recorded picks in back 2 back practices so it may pay off!!

  13. 6 points:

    1) Seems strange to list a player on “the not so good” list simply for having been moved back to a position a lot of scouts believe was his “natural” position coming out of college, especially since this may very well be change come training camp.

    2) It seems equally as strange to leave rookie punter – Mitch Wishnowsky – off of “the good” list if the reports of him going 6-for-6 on plus-50 punts inside the 10-yard line, including two that were downed inside the 3-yard line, are actually true. Combined with a reported average hang time of 4.6 seconds, these can be game changing elements for a football team on any given Sunday!

    3) The 49ers didn’t trade for Dee Ford for his ability to set an edge, but it’s an underrated part of his game, and more use of the Wide-9 concepts should work in his favor in terms of run defense.

    4) If Richard Sherman looks to be moving closer to 100% health wise, that in itself is a huge development for the 49ers defensive backfield, and deserves more attention than it’s getting.

    5) Having 2 very good SS’s could be a huge boost to this defensive backfield with the tweaks they’ve made to this years defensive scheme scheme. The SS and FS are being utilized in a much more interchangeable manner, and I am thinking Safety play this season could see a drastic improvement across the board, especially if Ward can get healthy and stay healthy for at least close to a full season (which is of course admittedly, is a big IF).

    6) Nick Mullens could very well be who we thought he was – a serviceable backup, but not a QB who can win NFL games consistently throughout a season, and certainly not a QB who elevates the players around him.

    1. 3 more points:

      1) George Kittle and Deebo Samual are both dynamic receivers in their own right, and their skill set’s also seem to compliment each other perfectly. Add the exceptional route runner – 2nd year WR Dante Pettis – into the mix, and one of the league’s most dangerous deep threats in Marquise Goodwin, who will likely benefit from a more focused offensive role, along with a rare skill set in all-purpose WR/H-Back/RB Jalen Hurd, to go along with 3 proven dual-threat RB’s, and the 49ers 2019 crop of offensive weapons sure looks like a dangerous group across the board, especially with an offensive genius and brilliant game planner like Kyle Shanahan, calling plays on game day.

      2) Provided Garoppolo comes back healthy (again, I like Nick Mullens, but he isn’t anywhere near as talented as Jimmy G, and that is a very simple fact!) the interior of the 49ers OL is the only serious question mark as far as I am concerned, heading into the season.

      3) New DL coach – Kris Kocurek – is really something, and exactly the kind of coach who could potentially unlock the potential of arguably the 49ers most talented position group (and potentially one of the leagues best), and if he does, it will almost certainly trickle down to their entire defense, provided the LB corp is up to the task of their evolved defensive assignments.

      1. It kinda does. I’m not on their PR staff, but I am a loyal fan who is very optimistic for their upcoming season. I figured it would take a couple seasons for the new regime to put together a potential contender, and while I don’t think this team is yet ready to win a Super Bowl, I do think the 49ers are one of the most improved teams heading into this upcoming season, and if they can avoid the laundry list of injuries that derailed their 2018 season, I agree with Chris Simms and plenty of other pundits who are projecting the 49ers to be in the playoff conversation come late season. As a lifelong fan then, why wouldn’t I concentrate on the positives, when all arrows, or at least most arrows, appear to pointing up?

        This team seems poised to field a top 10 team on both sides of the ball, provided they can remain relatively healthy, and while I admit this is pure speculation on my part, at this stage of the game, that’s enough for me to be hyped about this upcoming season. I recognize that a lot can change between now and late December, knock on wood. I know all too well, it’s a long season, and it takes a certain level of good fortune in order for any team to reach their true potential. And it’s early, a lot of these pieces still need to fall into place in order for this team to compete in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.

        But I loved almost every move this team made during this offseason, with the exception of not addressing FS through free agency, or the draft. And I am certainly not going to focus on Dee Ford’s run defense, when his primary job, and the reason the team traded for him, is to hunt quarterbacks.

        If you can’t get excited about your favorite team in May, and focus on the positives when their are so many positives to focus on, then you probably need to re-evaluate what it means to be a die hard fan, don’t you think?

        1. “why wouldn’t I concentrate on the positives, when all arrows, or at least most arrows, appear to pointing up?”

          Hofer, is this you?
          He was the “all arrows pointing up”guy around here.

  14. Grant, is Moore on your not so good list purely because he has been moved to FS, or because of how he performed at FS?

    Also, what are your thoughts overall on the move?

    Personally I think it is telling regarding how the team feels his transition to CB is going (not well), which is negative, and it is also bad that if the move is permanent he has basically spent a year not learning the facets of his long term role. But at the same time getting him back to a position he is more comfortable in and he has performed well at in college should be a positive. I think it is where he should have been playing all along.

    Of course, if it ends up being a temporary move back to FS then that is much much worse. That would either mean they aren’t thrilled with how his development at CB has progressed but that he also didn’t do enough at FS to convince them his future lies there, or, they are trying to cross train him to be a backup at multiple spots which (a) means they don’t think he can compete for a starting role at any spot and (b) will just delay and stunt his overall development.

    1. His best opportunity to start lays before him. He plays the position like he did in college, and the job is his imho.

    2. The 49ers appear to move their players like they’re chess pieces. Lose your bishop, use a knight to fill in. Ward hurt, Moore fills in. Not good for player development and shows that their mentality is too much scheme driven. As if we didn’t have too many moving parts before, we now are changing scheme as fast as we move players around the board. Interesting part is that the scheme changes seem to be position coach driven instead of DC driven. (Tail wagging the dog.) Also another interesting element: Moore is not only moving back to his original position, he’s moving into a newly invented position – interchangeable safety (IS for short). Gonna be interesting.

  15. Moore has all the tools to be a great safety I’m glad that made the switch. 2 years ago Colbert looked like the future free safety so I can see why they wanted to make him a corner but we had to pump the breaks on the seventh round pick as his true colors were shown last year. IF we roll out in week 1 a starting secondary of Moore and Harris at safety with Verett and Sherman at corner I think we will see much improvements in the backend of our defense in 2019.

  16. I assume they won’t show anything this early, but I certainly hope that they have Breida or McKinnon in the backfield with Coleman at times…. I think the speed element there is too good to pass up, even if you don’t put them in motion.

  17. Dig that you’re out there covering OTA’s and presenting a POV, young man. Everyone’s so quick to attack analysis— when several posting here would cry in their little millennial sleep pods— if their bosses dared to attack their PowerPoint presentation, with such rancor!

    1. Yeah, it doesn’t matter if you are there reporting what you actually see in the internet era, since you don’t have to be right, you just have to be sure. Sure about what your buddies want to hear. I can’t help thinking I’m still back in high school.

  18. Good report. This is why I come here. Glad the Niners took your advice and toned it down. Sure hope they have a coach act as a pass rusher after 3 seconds to make the drill more realistic.
    .
    Kocurek is yelling? That act will grow stale fast. Luckily, he is just starting out with the D line, so he is trying to instill the need for urgency.
    .
    Sorry to hear about the speed of the TEs. They really could have benefited by drafting Josh Oliver, Moreau, or Caleb Wilson.
    .
    I wonder if the pass completion rate is down because the Niner DBs are actually in position to make plays. Defense always is dominant in the early practices, because the offense is working on timing and routes, and the QB and receivers need to sync up, while the defense is playing fast and reacting.
    .
    Still think Mullens is better than CJB. CJB may be accurate in practices, but he holds onto the ball way too long in games. Hopefully, the improvement in the WRs will help.
    .
    Grant can say 13 good things, but posters will dwell only on the 7 bad things.
    .
    Lynch will not be on the hot seat. Saleh will. Hopefully, having Joe Woods, the former DC, will help the entire defense.
    .
    I agree about Ford. They should use him like they did with Aldon, and make him a sack specialist. If he gets 12 sacks, Ford will be worth every penny they pay him. I like the idea of Thomas taking the base snaps.
    .
    Happy to hear the coaching has improved with the DBs. Hafley had receivers uncovered. Joe Woods was a smart hire, and he will help the entire defense. Glad to hear that they want more versatility, with interchangeable players, and making the defense less static and more unpredictable.
    .
    The Wide 9 is being focused on, but teams will not need to spread them wide, they already will be spread wide, so the best strategy to counter it, is gashing them up the middle. This means that the play of the middle LBs will be critical. Niners do not have a Bowman/Willis tandem. Wonder if Kwon/ Warner will be strong enough. I hope they copy more of how Pete Carroll lines up his players on defense.

  19. Deebo will be the starting slot receiver? I wonder if they will try to trade away Trent Taylor to a QB needy team.

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