On Tuesday, the San Francisco 49ers held their third practice since opening training camp on Saturday. This practice, like others will be, started at 10:25 AM, lasted 2 hours and 12 minutes, and was the first practice with pads on. Prior to practice, head coach Chip Kelly met with the media to answer questions.
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With this being the first practice with pads on, contact drills were limited to the offensive and defensive lines, per Cam Inman of Bay Area Sports Group. During those battles, Inman felt that the best was OLB Ahmad Brooks against OT Trent Brown.
#49ers contact drills mostly limited to OL/DL. Anthony Davis looked OK, as did Eli Harold & Arik Armstead. Best battle: Brooks v Brown— Cam Inman (@CamInman) August 2, 2016
"I took one step, met him at the point, he came inside and I finished," said Brown via Inman in his practice report.
"Tempo is one thing, tempo with pads is a completely different thing," said FS Eric Reid via Nick Wagoner of ESPN. "You notice it much earlier, like individual drillls. You are doing all your drills, you have the extra weight, you feel it earlier."
Colin Kaepernick got picked off by CB Dontae Johnson during 1-on-1 drills just a day after Johnson got beat for a touchdown, per Ryan Sakamoto of Niner Fans. While Sakamoto felt that the quarterback went on to struggle during 11-on-11 team drills, Chris Biderman of Niners Wire thought that it was Kaepernick that played considerably better than Gabbert on Tuesday.
Day three of #49ers camp and Colin Kaepernick played considerably better than Blaine Gabbert.— Chris Biderman (@ChrisBiderman) August 2, 2016
"Kaepernick appeared to have more control of the offense than Gabbert Tuesday," said Biderman. "Kaepernick faked San Francisco's starting defense on read-option runs for big gains, holding the ball while defenders collapsed on the running back."
During 11-on-11 drills, QB Blaine Gabbert threw what Sakamoto called a "perfect" 40-yard touchdown pass to WR Torrey Smith on a post route with DB Jimmie Ward on coverage. Joe Fann of 49ers Media called it the "offensive play of the day."
Gabbert was unofficially 6 of 12. Kaepernick was 7 of 11, per Cam Inman.
Biderman felt that Gabbert struggled against the first-team defense's blitzing during practice. "He had three passes patted down at the line of scrimmage in the same period by Eli Harold, Aaron Lynch and Ray-Ray Armstrong," explained Biderman.
Kevin Jones of KNBR thought Gabbert looked pretty sharp during 11-on-11 drills, but didn't care for what he saw from Kaepernick's footwork during practice.
Let's hope Colin Kaepernick's footwork gets better later in training camp pic.twitter.com/HyOhCoCvLN— Kevin Jones (@Mr_KevinJones) August 2, 2016
Sakamoto felt that Kaepernick was making safe throws rather than taking chances and that he continues to telegraph passes, which is something that plagued the quarterback last season. "Many times over, Kap neglected the other side of the field with wide-open receivers coming off their stem," said Sakamoto via Twitter.
Rookie Jeff Driskel hasn't been discussed much during training camp. Grant Cohn of the Press Democrat seemed impressed with him on Tuesday. "Completed 11-of-14 passes with the third-team offense and made the throw of the day," said Cohn. "Torrey Smith was running a corner route against Cover 2 zone defense. Driskel threw the pass before Smith made his break, the ball floated over leaping cornerback Keith Reaser, who was covering a zone in the flat, and hit Smith's hands before the safety could run over and knock it down. Perfect throw."
While Cam Inman was not overly impressed with OT Anthony Davis during contact drills, Matt Barrows felt that he was still among the standouts during practice today. "Davis handled fifth-round pick Ronald Blair well and then came strong against another rookie, Buckner," said Barrows. "As you would expect from someone who dropped 30-plus pounds, Davis seemed light on his feet."
OT Joe Staley was a big standout during 1-on-1 drills on Tuesday according to Joe Fann.
Maybe the biggest standout today in 1-on-1's?— Joe Fann (@Joe_Fann) August 2, 2016
Erik Pears worked with the second-year offense according to Cam Inman. Both Davis and rookie OG Joshua Garnett played with the third-team offense.
Barrows also felt that OT Trent Brown, who played on the right side with the first-team offense, also looked good. "Brown said he dealt with an illness and a series of small injuries in the spring, which is why he looked sluggish at times," said Barrows. "He's in noticeably better shape now and handled himself well, including against Armstead, who has been the team's most ferocious lineman. Brown also pancaked Ahmad Brooks when the outside linebackers joined the drills later in practice."
Good to hear that Trent Brown & Anthony Davis both impressed in the 1st padded practice. Whoever wins the RT job will have earned it. #49wz— Aaron Erickson (@EricksonAaron44) August 2, 2016
Barrows listed the offensive line lineup during Tuesday's practice.
First: Staley, Zane Beadles, C Daniel Kilgore, Andrew Tiller, Trent Brown
Second: Colin Kelly, Ian Silberman, C Marcus Martin, Brandon Thomas, John Theus
Third: Norman Price, Blake Muir, C Balducci, Joshua Garnett, Anthony Davis
Grant Cohn felt that WR Quinton Patton was the best receiver on the field Tuesday. "Caught three passes during team drills (4 on 3, 7 on 7 and 11 on 11)," said Cohn. "Beat Jimmie Ward once with a quick curl route. Also beat zone coverage (Cover 2) once with a deep catch down the left sideline. Seems much more effective when he's in space toward the edge of the field than when he's in traffic over the middle."
Ward had a nice pass breakup going against WR Quinton Patton in 1-on-1 drills, per Ryan Sakamoto.
However, Grant Cohn felt he had a bad day overall. "Gave up one catch to Eric Rogers who was running a deep out route," said Cohn. "Gave up another catch to Quinton Patton who was running a quick curl route. And gave up a third catch to Torrey Smith who burned Ward with a simple post route. Ward seemed lost all day."
DE Arik Armstead and DE Ronald Blair were among the standouts during practice today, per Matt Barrows. Armstead was also on Joe Fann's short list of defensive standouts.
"Arik Armstead was the first lineman to go through each drill and had his second strong day in a row," said Barrows. "Armstead is young – he's only four months older than first-round pick DeForest Buckner – but he's already showing leadership qualities in Year 2."
While DE Glenn Dorsey has not been cleared to participate in team drills, he has been taking part in individual ones. "You can tell who is hitting those sleds the hardest from the metallic sound they make and they rang out the loudest every time Dorsey punched them," said Barrows.
The search for a short-term replacement for OLB Aaron Lynch, who is suspended for the first four games of the season, is underway. One candidate is second-year linebacker Eli Harold, who Joe Fann listed as one of today's defensive standouts.
Another of Fann's standouts was Tank Carradine, whose chances of making the team greatly increased following the suspension of Lynch.
At inside linebacker, the three-man competition to start next to ILB NaVorro Bowman continues. On Sunday, it was Michael Wilhoite starting. On Monday, it was Gerald Hodges. On Tuesday, it was Ray-Ray Armstrong's turn to line up next to Bowman. They will likely continue to rotate when the 49ers reconvene for practice on Thursday.
Incumbent punt returner Bruce Ellington looks as fluid and speedy as ever, but he also has some new competition in undrafted Cal product Bryce Treggs, who flashed in Tuesday's return drills," said Cam Inman. "DeAndrew White was the third returner."
Cam Inman reported that WR Eric Rogers appeared to tweak and ankle after getting upended while blocking on punt returns.
SS Jaquiski Tartt (muscle pull), who remains on the team's active/non-football injury list, was in the weight room at the start of practice, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Not yet cleared for team drills, DE Glenn Dorsey was seen doing some individual work on the side field.
Eric Branch shared this video of potential Week 1 starter, OLB Eli Harold running though the bag drill.
Ryan Sakamoto liked what he saw from DE Ronald Blair.
There is no practice scheduled for Wednesday. The players have the day off.
On Thursday, offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins 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.