Trey Lance continues strong start; Observations from day 11 of 49ers training camp

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

Tuesday was the final day of practice in Santa Clara before the team heads to Las Vegas for joint practices with the Raiders.

Brock Purdy

Purdy stepped out of the rotation a couple of times during early warm up reps with the wide receivers. This simply could be due to being on a pitch count and having a heavier practice on Monday. Something to keep an eye on.

Once team drills began Purdy was on the money early. He beat pressure to complete a short throw to Ross Dwelley and did it a second time for a short completion to Deebo Samuel.

Purdy carried over the strong start to the next series. The quarterback opened with a completion to Christian McCaffrey to the right side for a nice gain. He followed that up with one of his best throws of the day, connecting with Brandon Aiyuk on a deep out along the left sideline. Purdy’s first incompletion of practice came on the next play when he tried to hit Charlie Woerner up the right seam. The throw was on target; however, Fred Warner was right there to knock the ball away.

The focus of situational drills today was third and long situations, and Purdy struggled to convert.

On the first possession, a blitz forced Purdy to go to his hot receiver but the two were not on the same page. Facing fourth and eight, Purdy was pressured from the pocket and forced to throw it away when nothing was open down field.

The second possession started with an inaccurate throw to Christian McCaffrey in the left flat. This led to a fourth and 12. Purdy was able to connect with Deebo Samuel on an out to the right side, but the receiver was pushed out short of the first down marker.

Purdy’s final possession in this period started with a quick screen to the right to Samuel for a gain of six. Facing fourth and two, coverage by Charvarius Ward took away Samuel and Purdy was forced to throw the ball away again.

Practice ended with the 49ers starting offense in a hurry up drill starting from their own 30. The possession opened with Charvarius Ward breaking up a pass from Purdy over the middle. Facing third and ten after a run for no gain, Purdy found Christian McCaffrey on the left side for a gain of five.

Purdy was able to move the sticks on fourth down with one of his better plays of camp. Facing heavy pressure from the defense Purdy stepped up and fired over the middle to Brandon Aiyuk who made a juggling catch for a gain of ten.

From there a short completion to Jauan Jennings and a pair of runs from Jordan Mason picked up another first down. With the ball now in field goal range Kyle Shanahan called an end to the session.

Purdy finished the day 9-16 overall with one pass dropped.

Trey Lance

Lance had a solid bounce back day.

The first pass of the day for Lance was a sign of things to come. Following play action Lance fired down field to Brandon Aiyuk but the receiver could not hold on to the pass.

On his next attempt Lance got the ball to Cameron Latu who was running an out. The rookie tight end put just one hand out for some reason and dropped it. Two plays later Lance went to Latu again, this time the tight end held on for a nice completion.

One area in which Lance has excelled during this camp is in situational move the ball periods.

During today’s practice Lance received two opportunities during a third and long period. He led the second team offense to first downs on both.

Lance opened the first opportunity by drawing the defense offside. With the free play Lance tried to throw quickly over the middle but the pass was batted away. Now facing third and three the quarterback threw a slant to Chris Conley which the veteran wideout dropped. No problem for Lance though as he hit Ray-Ray McCloud on a quick out to the left side to pick up the first down.

The second third and long series would be Lance’s final plays of the day. On third and 12 the quarterback connected with Jauan Jennings on a slant for a pickup of ten. He came back on the next play with a five-yard completion on a slant to the other side to convert for another first down.

The former third overall pick finished practice 4-7, but all three of his incompletions were the result of drops.

While most have focused on Lance’s arm strength this offseason, it’s his efficiency and willingness to work the ball underneath to keep the offense moving which has been most impressive.

Sam Darnold

Darnold opened the day by throwing his first interception of training camp. The veteran rolled to his left after a play fake and tried to go deep down the left sideline to Ray-Ray McCloud. The ball hung up in the air and rookie safety JiAyir Brown was able to make the play.

On his next series Darnold found success. He opened with a completion to Jauan Jennings on an out to the left side and followed that up by beating pressure on a completion to Brayden Willis on a short out to the right side.

Darnold was given one series during the third and long situation. Facing third and eight, Darnold drew the defense offside before throwing a strike to Willie Snead which the receiver dropped. Now with third and three Darnold threw a quick screen out to rookie Ronnie Bell which the rookie wideout, say it with me now, dropped. Darnold went back to Snead on fourth and three to pick up the first down.

Darnold was given an opportunity with the number two offense for a hurry up move the ball possession.

Ty Davis-Price opened the possession with a gain of four. An incompletion from Darnold to McCloud left the offense facing third and six. The veteran stepped up, hitting Willie Snead with a nice throw down the field for a gain of 23. From there a pair of Davis-Price runs set the offense up with third and four, and Darnold found Snead again, this time for a gain of five and a first down. The veteran wideout made a terrific grab along the left sideline.

Overall, Darnold was 5-8 on the day with an interception.

Brandon Allen

Had just two throws, completing one.

Cameron Latu

The 49ers traded up to select Latu in the third round. While he looks good as a blocker, Latu has struggled to hold onto the ball. He was an equal opportunity dropper today, one from Purdy and one from Lance.

San Francisco already had one tight end who can’t catch, Charlie Woerner, now they have two.

Brandon Aiyuk, Chris Conley, Willie Snead

Each dropped a pass today. Aiyuk nearly had a second but was able to get ahold of the ball after having it bounce off his hands.

Colton McKivitz

McKivitz continues to look solid as he steps into the starting lineup. The right tackle continues to show good balance in pass protection, winning with regularity. The matchup with Maxx Crosby will be one to watch during joint practices with the Raiders.

JiAyir Brown

The rookie safety has shown up against the run several times over the course of camp. Today he finally broke through against the pass when he intercepted Sam Darnold early in practice with a leaping grab.

Brown is going to be one of those to watch for over the upcoming joint practices and preseason.

Arik Armstead

Armstead broke through the starting offensive line on a couple of occasions early in practice to pressure the quarterback.

Javon Hargrave

Hargrave was able to beat Jon Feliciano and get Purdy for a sack. The combination of Armstead and Hargrave inside is going to be a problem for opposing offenses.

Kevin Givens

Givens was able to get into the 49ers backfield and pressure Purdy. He had a sack of Sam Darnold yesterday.

T.Y. McGill

McGill showed his ability as a run stopper, beating the offensive lineman at the point of attack before dropping Jeremy McNichols for no gain.

Fred Warner

Ran with Charlie Woerner on a route up the seam and knocked the pass from Purdy away to force an incompletion.

Dre Greenlaw

Greenlaw looks ready to face someone in a different color uniform. Today he ran down Christian McCaffrey on a sweep to the left, dropping the running back for no gain.

Charvarius Ward

Ward had tight coverage throughout practice. On a fourth and short play, the cornerback completely shut down Deebo Samuel at the line of scrimmage leaving nowhere for Brock Purdy to go with the ball. The quarterback threw in that direction anyway and Ward was able to get a hand on it.

The cornerback opened the next possession by breaking up a pass from Purdy over the middle to Samuel.

Jake Moody

The 49ers raised some eyebrows when they used a third round selection on Moody. Today the rookie kicker hit not one, but two field goals from 60 yards.

Moody’s ability to hit from long range will help the offense put points on the board. Also, his ability to get the ball deep on kickoffs should help the defense by backing up opposing offenses.

This article has 19 Comments

  1. It sounds like the D is coming together and it will only get much better when Bosa reports. Is it time to start worrying about Bosa missing real games yet? I am really looking forward to Sun. This 90 man is the best I have seen since the precap era. There will be quite a bit of talent on the field even if the 9ers send the 1st stringers home early. Thursday and Friday are big days for Purdy if he continues to underwhelm will it cause some doubt to creep into KS’s mind?

    1. It’s possible that Purdy is a gamer and not a good player in practice. As I recall, that’s exactly how Jeff Garcia was.

      Or Purdy could have lost the magic. I really hope that is not the case.

  2. Thanks, Jack for your update.
    I’m a firm believer in the old (Bible) adage that “iron sharpens iron.”
    Purdy is being sharpened by arguably the best defense in the league, so I’m OK with some of his rough moments.

    Purdy showed me enough last year to convince me that a couple of bad games won’t worry me.
    Also, I’m encouraged to read that Brock threw a couple passes away as opposed to trying to force the pass into tight coverages that has a higher percentage for turnovers. With 3 Int’s so far, I think it’s safe to believe that Shanahan had a pow-wow with BP.

  3. Good call UC.
    “Money” is his name, lol.
    Can’t wait to see him kick those game winning 60 yrd FGs – for years to come!

  4. Re Latu, there’s plenty of video of him at Alabama catching passes on the move with little difficulty, actually, effortlessly. Grant said today that he’s “lackadaisical,” by which he meant he let’s passes go by him without making much effort to catch them. That I strongly doubt. He would have never made the Alabama team, much less start for them. What I think may be going on is that he’s just having trouble adjusting to the speed of the game. Originally I thought that the Niners overdrafted him, but I thought that about TDP too, and, I’m projecting, it appears he might prove me wrong this year. So unless the light goes on for him this TC soon we might not see a lot of Latu this year, but next year he might hit the ground looking worthy of that pick. To be hoped for, anyway.

    1. Geo,
      Having bad hands is a physical problem it has nothing to do with effort or a personality weakness. When Grant Cohn criticizes a athlete he likes to make it about something he can make personal. Like you said speed of the game is the likely culprit or like Jerry Rice said about his case of the drops until he wasn’t thinking about patterns or the playbook he couldn’t concentrate on the ball.

      1. Coach, very good points. In retrospect, we might see a good amount from him this season as a blocker.

        About Grant, I’ve just about had it with him. His father must feel ashamed at times.

    2. Kojak, if Grant used the word ‘lackadaisical’ it was only to impress himself….
      He looks for negatives in every player or coach. Jack highlights the positive without neglecting the mistakes.

      1. Yes Grant openly refers to himself from time to time as jerk and twerp so on and so forth.

  5. “The 49ers traded up to select Latu in the third round” what? brown is the one that the 9ers traded for.
    but yes, huge reach as he was probably going to be there in the 4th/5th round.

  6. Practice ended with the 49ers starting offense in a hurry up drill starting from their own 30. The possession opened with Charvarius Ward breaking up a pass from Purdy over the middle. Facing third and ten after a run for no gain, Purdy found Christian McCaffrey on the left side for a gain of five.

  7. Go 9ers!!!!
    Here is hoping all 3 QBs shine today and tomorrow and everyone stays healthy.

  8. Sounds like BP was solid today other than another Int. The other QBs didn’t seem to have very good days but they will get a chance to play Sunday. We may just have to get used to BP throwing his share of Ints kind of like the 2nd coming of Jimmy G.

    1. As long as he doesn’t throw Int’s in close games like another highly touted QB named Josh Allen. My 2023 motto for Purdy is don’t force throws.

      That said. If Brock does throw the occasional Int, he’s on the perfect team to bail him out.

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