Three touchdowns for Brock Purdy; Observations from day 18 of 49ers training camp

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk catches a pass during the NFL team’s football training camp in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, July 31, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Here is what stood out from the San Francisco 49ers 18th day of training camp.

Tuesday’s practice was a hot one, and it wasn’t just the warm Santa Clara afternoon. The 49ers defense came out ready to make up for a rough performance the day before.

On the second play from scrimmage Fred Warner popped running back Jordan Mason, who continued and was hit down the field by Deommodore Lenoir. Mason seemed to take exception to the second hit, running into Lenoir again. This led to the two exchanging blows before teammates could get to them and break it up.

The tempo for the day was now set.

Brock Purdy

Tuesday’s practice was a tale of two halves for Purdy.

The 49ers quarterback opened practice with an errant throw to Deebo Samuel on a deep over route from right to left off play action. He bounced back on the next one though, hitting Brandon Aiyuk on a deep out along the left sideline for a gain of 20.

Next, Purdy had four attempts during a passing period. He opened the period with a throw to Brandon Aiyuk on a short in which was broken up by linebacker Fred Warner. After a screen to Deebo Samuel, Purdy couldn’t find anyone open leading to a “sack” by Javon Hargrave; however, the play continued, and he found George Kittle while moving to his left. Purdy’s last throw of the session came on a quick in route to Jauan Jennigs which was broken up by Charvarius Ward.

A quick redzone period came next. After another screen to Deebo Samuel, Purdy’s throw to Samuel on an in route to the left was behind the receiver for an incompletion. He bounced back on the next play, hitting George Kittle along the goalline on the right side to beat the coverage of Fred Warner. The session ended when Purdy’s throw to Tay Martin on a crosser from right to left was too far in front of the receiver and glanced off his fingertips.

Following the special teams break, the offense worked on getting out of their own end.

Facing first and ten from the four, Purdy hit Samuel for a gain of five on a quick out off play action. On third and two from the 11 two plays later, Purdy badly underthrew Deebo Samuel along the right sideline. The play would not have counted anyway due to Samuel moving before the snap.

On Purdy’s second series he faced second and seven after a gain of three by Jordan Mason. The quarterback dropped back and tried to hit Mason over the middle on a choice route only to have Javon Kinlaw get his hands on the ball and nearly come away with an interception. Purdy bounced back from the near miss, hitting Ronnie Bell with a quick slant for a gain of ten to convert third and seven.

The offense next moved back to redzone work and Purdy opened with an incompletion on a throw down the right sideline which sailed wide and out of bounds. Two plays later Purdy hit Kyle Juszczyk on a Texas route and the fullback was dropped by Warner at the two.

Purdy opened his next redzone series with a strike to Brandon Aiyuk on a double move for a touchdown. The quarterback had his next throw along the backline to Willie Snead broken up by Tre Swilling. He wrapped up the period with a throw to Cameron Latu while rolling to his left off play action. The throw sailed high, and although Latu was able to get it he could not get his feet down in bounds.

Finally came a move the ball period from the offenses 35.

On first down Purdy hit Juszczyk in stride off play action on a leak route out the left sideline for a big gain. Running an RPO two plays later, Purdy threw a strike to Aiyuk on a slant to the right side for a gain of ten. A 16 yard completion to Chris Conley over the middle off play action followed. Now at the 20, Purdy hit his back foot and lofted a perfect pass into the hands of Deebo Samuel on a go route up the left sideline to end the drive with a touchdown.

Purdy finished the day 13-23 with three touchdowns.

Sam Darnold

Darnold was first up with the second unit on Tuesday.

His first throw was a deep slant to Deebo Samuel who had beat D’Shawn Jamison; however, the ball hung in the air and Jamison was able to recover to knock the ball away.

Moving on to a quick passing period, Darnold found Chris Conley on a slant to the left. On the next play Darnold tried to hit Ronnie Bell deep down the left sideline but again his pass hung in the air. As Bell hit the ground the ball bounced off him and into the hands of Tre Swilling for an interception. Darnold finished the period with a screen to Willie Snead.

Darnold opened up a backed-up possession from his own four with a completion to Jack Colletto in the left flat off play action for a gain of eight. Now facing second and two, Darnold ran an bootleg to his left and with no one open kept it himself to run for the first down.

Next up came work in the redzone. Darnold opened the period with a nice throw to Brayden Willis on quick out to the right flat for a gain of six. Two plays later he hit Willie Snead on a short crossing route for a gain of five.

Darnold was given the opportunity to work with the second unit for a move the ball period to wrap up practice. Facing second and six from the 39 after a four yard gain by Jordan Mason, Darnold was forced to throw the ball away when Austin Bryant read the play and got in the quarterback’s face while rolling to his right. Now looking at third and six, Darnold converted when he found Snead on an in route for 13. His final throw of the day came three plays later, an incompletion to Cameron Latu on an inaccurate throw to the right.

Darnold finished 6-10 with an interception.

Trey Lance

Lance had a rough first half of practice. His first throw, a screen to Ty Davis-Price was dropped by the running back.

He then went 0-3 in the redzone. On consecutive plays Lance threw incomplete to well covered receivers, first to Brayden Willis and then Ronnie Bell. After getting into the endzone on a draw, Lance tried to hit Tay Martin along the backline while sprinting to his right, but the pass sailed high and too far in front of the receiver.

Lance next got to work the backed up possession. He opened with a completion to Cameron Latu in the left flat off play action for a gain of three. Facing third and five two plays later, Lance threw another screen to Davis-Price. The running back caught this one and took the ball up the sideline for a long gain.

Moving on to a redzone series, Lance connected with new acquisition Anthony Miller. On the play, Lance went from read to read before finding Miller in the right flat for a gain of five. Lance then hit Tay Martin on a quick in route for a touchdown from five yards out.

Lance finished his day 4-8 with a touchdown pass and a touchdown run.

Nick Zackelj

Zackelj stepped in at left guard instead of Jon Feliciano when Aaron Banks was forced to leave practice. The second-year offensive lineman did a good job of protecting Brock Purdy and opening holes in the running game. It appears he could be in line for a spot on the 53-man roster.

Dee Winters

The rookie linebacker had tight coverage on consecutive plays in the redzone to force incompletions from Trey Lance.

Javon Hargrave

Hargrave recorded a sack of Brock Purdy for the second consecutive day. The defensive tackle also made a tackle at the line of scrimmage on a run by Jordan Mason.

Javon Kinlaw

The defensive tackle batted a Brock Purdy pass over the middle high into the air and almost came away with an interception.

Tashaun Gipson

The safety came on a blitz off the left side and dropped Mason in the backfield for a loss. Gipson timed the blitz perfectly and was on the back as soon as he took the handoff.

Charvarius Ward

The cornerback broke up a third and eight pass from Purdy to Jauan Jennigs.

Deommodore Lenoir

After his fight with Mason, Lenoir returned to drop Deebo Samuel for no gain on a screen to the right side.

Tre Swilling

The cornerback was in position to grab an interception when the ball bounced off Ronnie Bell as the receiver fell to the ground.

Austin Bryant

The free agent defensive end acquisition continues to make a push for a roster spot. Today he made a stop on a run, moving down the line of scrimmage to make the stop on a run away from him.

Bryant also forced a throw away from Sam Darnold when he didn’t bite on a play fake and was able to put pressure on the quarterback.

This article has 16 Comments

      1. Crap. Zakelj may make the roster but man o man has he been bad in the preseason. He looks like he doesn’t belong in the NFL. Same for Feliciano. They have both been horrendous. The 49es are in real trouble if they have any injuries to the starters.

  1. Oh, boy. Here we go. It is a part of football, of course, but the injury bug will always strike. Which is why it’s critically important to have good depth behind the starters. Which is what worries me about the o-line depth. The backups are not that good yet.

  2. Lance not at practice today. Rumored the 9ers exploring all options after Darnold named QB2

    1. Sounds like they are going to try and trade him which might explain his absence today. I had hoped they would keep him, but almost 10 million is a lot to pay for a QB3.

  3. On further thought, since they announced the backup position earlier than expected and Lance is absent today, this leads me to think that they might already have a pretty good offer for Lance or maybe even 2 offers.

    1. I hope you’re right, Felix. He’s not starter material. So he’d be a backup who’d be coming in late and likely start as a qb 3 and be extremely expensive for such a role. Since no one running another club is a dummy, I think it’s likely they’ll have to give him away (in other words, eat his salary) in exchange for a set of future conditional picks based on his level of productivity.

      1. It might depend on what’s more important to the Niners – getting draft picks or getting rid of the salary.

    2. After 3 years , Lance is now the third QB on the depth chart.
      If he stays and developes, great, If he is traded or just is released, so beit.
      It is time to move on and focus on the upcoming season.

  4. Do we think Justin Fields would get beat out by Sam Darnold? I don’t think so. What a colossal failure in talent evaluation.

    1. I don’t know. I think it might be a toss up. I do believe that Lance is a better prospect than Fields. If I had a to make a choice between those two, I’d choose Lance.

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