On Monday, the San Francisco 49ers had their second practice since opening training camp on Saturday. This practice, like others will be, started at 10:25 AM and lasted a minute longer than Sunday's coming in at 1 hour and 42 minutes, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.
The 49ers hosted Condoleezza Rice, a friend of assistant coach Dana Bible, during practice today. She was seen mingling with the coaching staff and general manager Trent Baalke prior to practice.
Here are some notes from today's practice.
Colin Kaepernick started the day as the first quarterback to work with the first-team offense.
Blaine Gabbert threw an interception during 7-on-7 drills that was hauled in by CB Jimmie Ward. Ward was lined up at the nickel position during that play. "Disguised my coverage. We were in man coverage, man free, and I just disguised, kind of confused the quarterback," said Ward via Chris Biderman of Niners Wire. "Then I ended up jumping outside to my leverage I was supposed to have. And I knew where my help was. And (Gabbert) ended up throwing me the ball and I just made the play of it."
Gabbert later threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to WR Jerome Simpson against CB Dontae Johnson after faking a handoff.
Top offensive play at #49ersCamp on Monday: Blaine Gabbert touchdown pass to Jerome Simpson on play action, deep down the left sideline.— Joe Fann (@Joe_Fann) August 1, 2016
During 11-on-11 drills, Gabbert finished 6 of 10 while Kaepernick finished 8 of 10, per Cam Inman of Bay Area Sports Group.
While Sakamoto may not have been impressed with Kaepernick during the team's second practice, Biderman thought the opposite. "Kaepernick was sharp throughout the day, hitting on a number of short throws and making quick decisions," said Biderman. "Kaepernick didn't push the ball down field often, but completed eight of his 10 throws, unofficially, during full-team drills."
Biderman went on to state that after two practices, it looks like a "relatively even competition" between the two quarterbacks.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee even felt that Kaepernick may have had the edge on Monday. "Colin Kaepernick was a bit more efficient at quarterback than Gabbert Monday, although the latter had the deepest pass of training camp so far," said Barrows. "Gabbert's receivers didn't do him any favors later in the session; both Garrett Celek and Bruce Ellington dropped well-thrown passes."
"Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick both appear to have a good grasp of the offense, as both were seen directing players to different sides of the field when they lined up incorrectly," said Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area.
Here is a video of the defensive backs working on and getting direction from coaches on the bump and run, courtesy of Sakamoto.
Sakamoto felt that CB Rashard Robinson had better fundamentals than fellow rookie CB Will Redmond. "Redmond opens his hips up a little too early when coming off the [line of scrimmage] while not using proper foot placement to explode," said Sakamoto via Twitter. "Robinson is displaying proper hand placement, nice foot quickness (45 degree angle) and proper leverage throughout jam."
Redmond was a third-round selection while Robinson was a fourth-round selection in this year's draft.
Prior to practice, defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil confirmed that Ward continues to be one of the defense's best 11 and will continue to work on the outside as the starting cornerback across from Tramaine Brock. Will he ever move inside to the slot? While a possibility, O'Neil said, "I would prefer our starting corner to stay outside."
"Jimmie Ward looks smoother than any CB out here today. He's really coming on strong," said Sakamoto while observing the cornerbacks.
During 7-on-7 drills, Robinson got most of the work at left cornerback. Ward moved inside to the slot along with Redmond.
Following practice, Ward discussed his transition from college safety to what the 49ers are asking him to do.
Two other rookies, first-round selection DE DeForest Buckner and fifth-round selection DE Ronald Blair continued to shine during individual defensive line work according to Sakamoto. "Both look strong enough to 2-gap," said the beat writer during practice.
Sakamoto noticed that DT Garrison Smith has looked pretty strong so far in camp. "I wouldn't count him out in [the nose tackle] race," he stated.
"Arik Armstead was awfully tough to block," reports Biderman. "DeForest Buckner got his first reps with the starters."
Barrows agreed with Biderman's assessment. "Armstead had a particularly strong day, making two 'tackles' in the backfield on running plays," said Barrows.
"Defensive end Arik Armstead, who mostly lined up at right defensive end in the 49ers' 3-4 defense, crashed through the left side of the defensive line and inadvertently upended running back Carlos Hyde to force a fumble," reports Maiocco. "The 49ers do not tackle during practices, but Armstead had such momentum built up he could not avoid hitting Hyde."
While Armstead, Mike Purcell (middle), and Quinton Dial were the starters along the defensive line during practice on Sunday, it was Buckner, Dial (middle), and Armstead on Monday.
The 49ers defense will be looking at options to make up for the absence of OLB Aaron Lynch for the first four games. Prior to practice, O'Neil called Lynch "a type of player that you build a defense around." He went on to say that the 49ers can do a lot of things package-wise to make up for the loss of Lynch and that it gives other players an opportunity to step up.
One such player is Eli Harold. "Eli Harold looks impressive," said our own Aaron Erickson via Twitter. "Last year he was a power rusher w/out size/power. Extra bulk and Lynch suspension grants him opportunity."
While ILB Michael Wilhoite got the start next to NaVorro Bowman on Sunday, it was Gerald Hodges' turn on Monday. O'Neil stated that Ray-Ray Armstrong would get his opportunity on Tuesday as the three are the reported candidates to start next to Bowman.
Anderson and Armstrong scuffle
TE Busta Anderson and ILB Ray-Ray Armstrong were involved in a small scuffle during practice according to Sakamoto. The pair got tangled up and things got heated toward the end of the play.
Small scuffle broke out between TE Busta Anderson vs Ray-Ray Armstrong. Got tangled up and Armstrong gave a nice forearm shiver at end.— Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) August 1, 2016
Anderson and Armstrong had to be separated after going to the ground.
First #49ers scuffle of camp was between TE Busta Anderson and RB Ray-Ray Armstrong. Got tangled on the ground, had to be separated.— Chris Biderman (@ChrisBiderman) August 1, 2016
On Sunday, SS Jaquiski Tartt was placed on the active/non-football injury list. He was seen on the field working with the coaching staff. Unlike the reserve/non-football injury list that NT Ian Williams landed on, the team is able to activate Tartt at any point during training camp.
DE Glenn Dorsey has not yet been cleared for team drills as he continues to rehab from injury. He did take part in individual drills during Sunday's practice and was seen working with the strength and conditioning staff on Monday.
While he has been practicing, Redmond is wearing a plastic brace on his left knee according to Barrows. "Still, he's been able to keep pace so far, showing particularly good skills in press-coverage situations, especially against smaller slot receivers," said Barrows.
Here is some video, courtesy of Sakamoto, of Dial and rookie Buckner working on the sheds during practice.
Tank Carradine took part in the return game on special teams. Sakamoto seemed impressed with his work there.
In addition to Condoleezza Rice, another practice observer was agent Drew Rosenhaus.
Drew Rosenhaus watching #49ers practice. Presence in the past has preceded deals for NaVorro Bowman, Anthony Davis. Has many clients on team— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) August 1, 2016
Head coach Chip Kelly is scheduled to meet with the media at 10:10 AM. The team's practice, which is open to reporters and will be the first with pads on, is scheduled to follow at 10:25 AM. Players will be made available following practice.