Trey Lance continues strong start; Observations from day 8 of 49ers training camp

Here is what stood out from the 49ers eighth day of training camp in Santa Clara.

Brock Purdy

Friday was a bit of a mixed bag for Purdy who finished the day 13-19 with one touchdown and one interception.

After a couple of short throws to start, Purdy aired out a couple of throws down the left sideline and both passes were underthrown.

George Kittle bailed Purdy out on the first with a leaping grab over Dre Greenlaw for a long gain. On the next deep shot a couple plays later, Talanoa Hufanga took of from the middle of the field and nearly came up with an interception. Purdy has struggled to connect with his receivers on deep throws outside the numbers, overthrowing some and underthrowing others.

Next up for Purdy was a first and long situational session. To set this up the first play was a run with a phantom holding call.

Facing first and 20, Purdy connected with George Kittle for a gain of five followed by another connection with the tight end to pick up ten yards. Left with third and five, Purdy went to Deebo Samuel on a curl, but Deommodore Lenoir was able to knock the ball away.

Purdy’s next series featured his worst play of the day. After a play fake, the quarterback had pressure in his face. Trying to flip the ball to his running back in the flat Purdy instead threw the ball right to safety Tashaun Gipson. This is the second time during camp we have seen this from Purdy. Not good.

San Francisco ended practice with a 30 minute move the ball period. Purdy got two shots at the 49ers defense and performed well.

Purdy opened the first possession with a 23-yard strike over the middle to Brandon Aiyuk. The receiver going up and snagging the ball with Lenoir draped all over his back. The two connected again a couple of plays later with a throw to the right side for a gain of 15 to reach the redzone.

Facing second and 11 after Christian McCaffrey was dropped for loss by Drake Jackson, Purdy found McCaffrey with a checkdown for eight. On third and three from the 11, Purdy found Deebo Samuel in the endzone along the right sideline for a touchdown. Samuel went up an made a terrific grab over tight coverage from Charvarius Ward.

Purdy opened his second possession with a seven-yard completion over the middle to Aiyuk. After a McCaffrey run gave the offense a new set of downs, Purdy evaded pressure by moving to his right and hitting the running back for a nice gain along the right sideline. However, the 49ers coaching staff ruled the play a sack. A checkdown to McCaffrey on second and 18 for three set up the offense with third and long.

Facing third and 15, Purdy made a strong throw on a deep out to Brandon Aiyuk, but the receiver was unable to hold onto the ball as he went to the ground.

Trey Lance

Over the last five practices, including today, we have seen the best version of Lance since he was taken third overall in 2021. The ball is coming out more consistently, has good pace and accuracy.

Lance opened with a completion to Brayden Willis in the left flat before hitting Jauan Jennings to beat a blitz.

During the first and long situation, Lance efficiently guided the offense to a first down. In fact, he was the lone quarterback to get the job done.

On first and 20, Lance hit Willie Snead on a quick out for a gain of seven. He then found rookie fullback Jack Colletto with a check down for five yards to set up third and eight. Lance converted the third and long with a strike to rookie Ronnie Bell that allowed the rookie to pick up several yards after the catch.

The next throw from Lance was the best of the day by any quarterback. On the play, Lance had Jauan Jennings running a deep over route with a linebacker close behind and another underneath. The quarterback layered the ball perfectly over the underneath defender to Jennings for a long gain.

Lance had only one series during a move the ball period and made it count.

A pair of runs by Ty Davis-Price picked up nine yards to open the possession. Facing third and one, Lance executed a play fake and hit Ronnie Bell in stride over the middle of the field for a 25 yard pick up.

Following a scramble which gained four yards and an incompletion, Lance was faced with third and six. The quarterback made another nice throw out to the right side and Isaiah Winstead made a leaping grab over D’Shawn Jamison to move the sticks.

The drive came to an end at the eight-yard line after a second down pass from Lance was dropped by Brayden Willis.

Overall, Lance was 8-11 on the day.

Sam Darnold

Darnold had another solid day as well, finishing 12-14 overall.

The veteran quarterback hit several short throws to start off but struggled with the first and long situation. After picking up five yards on a screen to Ray-Ray McCloud, Darnold’s pass to Chris Conley was off the mark and Jamison nearly came away with an interception. Another screen, this one to Danny Gray, picked up a few yards but was well short of the line to gain.

Like Lance, Darnold had just a single series to move the offense.

Darnold opened the possession with a completion to Wille Snead on a quick out to the left side for a gain of 16 yards. He followed with a short completion on a checkdown to running back Jordan Mason over the middle.

After four Mason runs picked up 16 yards, Darnold had another opportunity to throw, but was forced to throw the pass away due to good coverage from the 49ers defense. He followed this up with a short completion to McCloud on second down after which Kyle Shanahan sent out the field goal team.

Brandon Allen

Allen was given snaps today after having none on Thursday and he finished 5-8. His best play was his first. On the play, Allen evaded pressure by stepping up into the pocket where he found Danny Gray about 20 yards down the field for a nice completion over the middle.

Taco Charlton and Drake Greenlaw

The defensive end and linebacker each recorded a tackle for loss.

Tashaun Gipson

The veteran safety came away with his second interception of Brock Purdy of this training camp. Both have come with Purdy under duress and would have resulted in defensive touchdowns.

Myles Hartsfield

The veteran safety was a free agent acquisition this offseason. He flashed for the first time in training camp, getting to rookie running back Ronald Awatt on a run to the left side and dropping him for no gain.

Marcelino-McCrary Ball

The second-year linebacker has been all over the field during camp. Today he was all over fullback Jack Colletto in the right flat to record a pass break up.

Talanoa Hufanga

For the second time during this training camp, Hufanga was able to break up a big play opportunity from his single high safety position. On this one, the throw from Brock Purdy to Deebo Samuel hung up in the air and Hufanga was nearly able to come down with the interception.

This article has 12 Comments

  1. Jack,
    You wrote Taco Charlton and Drake Greelaw. Did you mean Greenlaw or Jackson?

  2. Another day, another Int pick 6 for Purdy. Purdy is starting to worry me just a little bit. I said going into this season that I was concerned with Purdy’s interceptions and near Ints. I was also concerned with his ability to throw the deep ball along the sideline as well as the deep out. I hope it is just a residual of him not throwing during mini camp and OTAs but I am getting a little bit worried.

  3. Has Purdy thrown a successful long ball yet? Seems to underthrow the receiver every time he goes deep, which is worrisome.

    Lance stays after practice to work on the short throws he has a problem with, does Purdy ever stay after practice to work on the long ball?

  4. Jack,
    “Tashaun Gipson
    The veteran safety came away with his second interception of Brock Purdy of this training camp. Both have come with Purdy under duress and would have resulted in defensive touchdowns.”

    It’s only practice and this is the time to correct certain issues. But, the important thing for QBs is not to develop any bad habits that could carry over into the regular season.
    Lance needs to improve his short game.
    Darnold needs to improve his overall consistency.
    And Purdy, needs to improve his mindset not to force throws that could become Int’s.

    I, definitely don’t want see any of these short-comings (from all of the QBs) carry over in 2023.
    We know that Lance and Darnold will get the lions share in preseason, but, I hope that Purdy will see some action as well. His pocket decision making needs to improve when he’s under duress, as mentioned by Jack.

  5. Jack:

    You don’t mention the level of the defense that the QBs are playing against (1st string, 2nd string, etc.). Do you not consider that to be important? Or is another factor that one would have to consider the level of the offense that the QB was playing with as well?

  6. Shanahan isn’t concerned about Purdy. He just needs to get reps to get back into football shape and get his timing down. As Shanahan said the other day, he’s the “real deal”. We saw him play 8 games last year at an extremely high level and statistically he was at the top of the league. Maybe we should just enjoy the process, confident that he’s likely to be just as good as last year and probably better.

    1. I dunno know Felix. When you read the many 49ers blogs, seems to be a sharp difference of opinion on Purdy and whether he ultimately will prove to be the answer. Concern seems to focus on his long ball & interception susceptibility, as Old Coach has referenced repeatedly here. Just over a month before the season begins so I guess we’ll all see, find out soon enough.

      1. So you prefer the information given by people who spend their Sundays on their couch over those that earn their living coaching football. I suppose you also prefer the opinion of couch potatoes over what you could see with your own eyes last year. Training camp is the time needed to get back in shape after a 6 month layoff.

  7. ESPNs Jeremy Fowler is reporting that as long as BP is healthy and playing well that the 49ers will likely trade either Darnold or Lance before the end of camp. He said it will take a high pick for Lance to be available, making Darnold the more likely candidate. One cap fact that makes Lance a strong candidate to be traded is he would save about 25 mill off of next years cap.

    1. At the moment, the race between TL and SD is close. Based on what Darnold has on his career resume thus far, it makes more sense to keep Lance.
      Lance can’t be fairly judged because of his minimal games experience, and also, because his cieling has yet to be fully measured, imho.

      Lance is basically still a young QB with untapped potential. While Darnold has a somewhat skechy resume.
      But in the final analysis, it’s the FO that will make the decision.

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