The San Francisco 49ers finished a three-day mandatory minicamp on Thursday. The minicamp was the final gathering for players prior to training camp in late-July. Players were only able to participate for up to ten hours per day, which includes preparation for participation. On-field activities were limited to three and a half hours per player.
The following are some interesting observations from team beat writers regarding the final day of practice.
Sakamoto says that fans should expect WR Bruce Ellington to see the most snaps of any receiver this year simply due to him being used as a returner on special teams. That would mean that he expects Ellington to see a lot of time on offense as well.
Stanford football head coach David Shaw was on hand to watch the team's final minicamp practice reports Chris Biderman of Niners Wire. Back in January, Shaw briefly emerged as the name of a possible 49ers target in their coaching search. The next day, that rumor was shot down when it was revealed that Shaw would not interview. The job would eventually go to former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly.
QB Colin Kaepernick took part in his third straight day of practice. While he has not been participating in 11-on-11 drills, he has taken part in both individual and 7-on-7 drills. Kaepernick is competing with QB Blaine Gabbert for the starting job. Below is a video of Kaepernick, courtesy of Ryan Sakamoto, throwing to WR Quinton Patton.
7-11 connection is alive and well in today's final practice! Kap to Patton working on quick slant/timing routes. pic.twitter.com/yawsbereyx— Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) June 9, 2016
Here is a video, again from Sakamoto, of Kaepernick going deep to WR Eric Rogers, who has reportedly been a pleasant surprise this offseason. Rogers was the team's first signing following the hiring of Kelly as head coach.
Not to be outdone, Gabbert hits WR Dres Anderson deep as well.
According to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, OT Trent Brown appeared to tweak his right knee or quad during a drill, keeping him out of team drills. However, Barrows stated that the injury does not appear to be serious.
49ers T Trent Brown appeared to tweak right knee/quad on a sled drill. Does not appear serious but he was held out of team drills.— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) June 9, 2016
Barrows also stated that CB Chris Davis, who has been working a lot at the defense's nickel spot, sprained an ankle during practice. CB Dontae Johnson remained out.
CB Chris Davis -- who's been the #49ers' first-string nickel back in recent practices -- sprained ankle in practice. Does not appear serious— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) June 9, 2016
Once again, the starters at cornerback were Tramaine Brock and Jimmie Ward today. Although, this time, Ward started on the left side rather than the right.
On Wednesday, it was the offense that shined. Today, the defense seemed to rebound well according to Joe Fann of 49ers.com. Fann reports that Chris Davis, Ray-Ray Armstrong, and Keith Reaser all had interceptions with the former two pulling in two each.
Two of those interceptions (Armstrong and Reaser) were by Kaepernick and came on two straight plays. On the first, Matt Barrows says, "He found no open receivers, rolled to his right and tried to hit rookie receiver Aaron Burbridge. Nickel cornerback Keith Reaser instead broke on the ball and made the interception." On the second, Barrows says, "He fired a pass on a crossing pattern to Anderson, who was covered by Brock. The ball popped into the air and was intercepted by linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong."
In his practice recap, Matt Barrows pointed out that a number of offensive players had dropped passes today.
Dres Anderson was the offensive standout of the day for the #49ers. More targets today than I can ever remember seeing. Several nice catches— Joe Fann (@Joe_Fann) June 9, 2016
There was a bit of a scuffle during practice as OLB Aaron Lynch was thrown out of practice for throwing punches at rookie John Theus, per Chris Biderman. The rookies have repeatedly stated that the veterans on the team have greatly helped make their transitions to the NFL easier. This was obviously not one of the instances.
Biderman also reports that ILB Ray-Ray Armstrong played with the first-team defense today, which was the first time he has done so in a practice open to the media. Armstrong is reportedly competing with Gerald Hodges and Michael Wilhoite for the starting job next to ILB NaVorro Bowman.