The San Francisco 49ers opened up training camp on Saturday and held their first practice at 10:25 AM on Sunday. The early start keeps the team out of the afternoon heat. When the team started practice on Sunday, it was a pleasant 70 degrees and sunny at the team's headquarters in Santa Clara. The practice lasted 1 hour and 41 minutes according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Here are some notes from the 49ers' first practice of training camp.
Gabbert vs Kaepernick
Prior to practice, head coach Chip Kelly said that Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick would split the reps in practice as the team's quarterback battle officially kicks off.
Eric Branch threw out some quarterback statistics following practice. During 11-on-11 drills, both quarterbacks were 7 of 10 passing. During 7-on-7, Gabbert was 7 of 10 passing while Kaepernick was 5 of 9. The only interception of the day came from Kaepernick during 7-on-7 drills. CB Keith Reaser was the recipient of that thrown football.
Both quarterbacks had a pass tipped/batted down.
"Best man is going to get the job regardless," said Gabbert following practice. "Dwelling on it is not going to do any good."
"This is not my first quarterback competition and it definitely won't be my last," continued Gabbert.
Following practice, Kaepernick was asked where his strength was at right now. "Right where it needs to be," answered Kaepernick. "Feel good. Feels great to compete. Excited for what's to come." Kaepernick went on to say that there was a lot of weight that he needed to get back and a lot of mobility that he needed to keep, but that he feels ready to go now. "I don't look like my high school self anymore," Kaepernick joked.
Kaepernick was asked how much weight he lost this offseason. "To be honest, I don't know," answered Kaepernick. "I never weighed myself when I was at my lightest because I didn't want to know."
The first thing that multiple team beat writers noticed about OT Anthony Davis was how much thinner he looked, which was expected given how he looked in recent workout videos that emerged prior to him filing for reinstatement. Head coach Chip Kelly stated earlier on Sunday that Davis would start at the bottom of the depth chart because he has not had the offseason reps or the time with the playbook that others have had. He would split practice reps with Erik Pears, Trent Brown, and rookie John Theus.
Davis worked with the third-team offense during practice, per Chris Biderman of Niners Wire. Brown worked with the first-team while Theus worked with the second-team. Pears worked at left tackle with the second-team today.
Following practice, OT Joe Staley was asked about Davis' return to the team. "I'm excited he's able to be back with the football team and just speaking with him for the last two days now, he's real excited to be back here too," answered Staley. "Just seeing the shape he came back in, the strength, ready to go, mentally focused."
49ers Joe Staley on Anthony Davis' return: "I'm excited. We've worked out everything we need to work out...He's fitter than I've ever seen"— Cam Inman (@CamInman) July 31, 2016
"It was great to see him back. He looks good. He looks ready to go," said Kaepernick regarding Davis.
Davis stated that his weight was as high as 370 pounds. He is not down to 332.
Rookie OG Joshua Garnett lined up next to Davis on the third-team during practice today. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee found that interesting since both players could end up starting next to each other when all is said and done.
Inside linebacker competition
ILB Michael Wilhoite started next to ILB NaVorro Bowman during practice today, per Chris Biderman of Niners Wire. There is a battle between Wilhoite, Gerald Hodges, and Ray-Ray Armstrong for the starting spot next to Bowman.
There was some concern whether or not DL Glenn Dorsey would be available for the 49ers this season. SS Jaquiski Tartt was the only player that did not practice today after being placed on the active/non-football injury list. Tartt's injury – a muscle tweak – is considered to be minor and he can be activated at any time during training camp.
Dorsey was out there with his teammates taking reps. However, Kelly stated that the team would be cautious with him and others with injuries like DB L.J. McCray and CB Will Redmond. Sunday was Redmond's practice debut. He has been recovering from an ACL tear he suffered during a Mississippi State practice on October 22 of 2015.
Glenn Dorsey not going on PUP is important for #49ers. When he last played NT in 2013 his 10.4% run stop percentage ranked fifth among DTs.— Jeff Deeney (@PFF_Jeff) July 31, 2016
Ryan Sakamoto of Niner Fans caught Dorsey doing drills with fellow defensive linemen.
Here is a clip courtesy of Sakamoto of rookie CB Rashard Robinson working on footwork during practice.
Staley talks about being a little winded following the first practice of training camp. Staley went on to criticize the term "rebuilding." He said that he is never looking for anything less than holding the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season.
Defensive Coordinator Jim O'Neil is scheduled to meet with the media at 10:10 AM. The team's practice, which is open to reporters, is scheduled to follow at 10:25 AM. Players will be made available following practice.