John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports



On Friday, the San Francisco 49ers held their eleventh practice since opening training camp on July 30. However, this practice was a joint one with Sunday's exhibition opener opponent, the Houston Texans. The practice, like others, started at 10:25 AM. Prior to practice, head coach Chip Kelly met with the media to answer questions.

RELATED August 11 Training Camp Notes: Kaepernick rests during short practice

Here are some notes from Friday's practice based on observations by the media.

Injuries


For the second practice in a row, Colin Kaepernick did not throw in team drills. He only participated in three handoffs and one running play where he kept the ball. Chip Kelly said it was due to "arm fatigue" and a sore throwing shoulder. On Thursday, the team called his limited practice time a "planned day of rest" for the quarterback.

DE Arik Armstead, WR Quinton Patton, and WR DeAndre Smelter were held out of team drills.

WR Quinton Patton did not finish practice due what looked like a hamstring injury. He may still play on Sunday though. OLB Eli Harold left practice, but was walking off without a limp.


Quarterbacks


Blaine Gabbert was having early success against the Texans secondary in 11-on-11 red-zone drills. WR Bruce Ellington and TE Garrett Celek hauled in touchdown passes from the quarterback.


That success would be short-lived as Gabbert would not be able to maintain that success during 11-on-11 drills.


Gabbert would finish team drills 15 of 21 passing including a play where he spikes the football. He did not throw any interceptions. His best pass, per Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, was a "long, sideline throw to [WR] Jerome Simpson."

"Gabbert not only made 21 passes – as opposed to four in Thursday's short, non-padded session – they mostly came against first-string Texans defenders," said Barrows. "His best pass came on a double move by Jerome Simpson, who was playing left wide receiver in place of Quinton Patton. Simpson got a step on Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye and Gabbert floated a perfect pass into Simpson's hands. Gabbert also completed four straight passes – all of them short – during an end-of-half drill. Carlos Hyde caught two, tight end Vance McDonald caught one and running back Shaun Draughn caught the other."

Cam Inman of Bay Area News Group believes that Gabbert now has the inside track to the quarterback job thanks to Kaepernick's lack of participation over the past two days.


Following practice, Gabbert admitted that not splitting reps with Kaepernick allowed him to get into a better rhythm. The team has not yet announced a starter for the team's game on Sunday. An announcement is expected soon. "When I do get the opportunity to play, I'm going to make most of it," said Gabbert via Cam Inman.

"For the second straight day, one of the nicest throw-and-catch sequences was delivered by rookies Jeff Driskel and Bryce Treggs," reports Barrows. "Playing with the third-team offense, Driskel hit Treggs on a 24-yard pass down the left sideline against cornerback Kevin Johnson."

Offensive stars


Cam Inman list Gabbert, along with Simpson, WR Bryce Treggs, OT Anthony Davis, and RB Carlos Hyde as Friday's offensive stars.

Tempo


Chris Biderman of Niners Wire made an interesting observation regarding the tempo of practice against the Texans.


Offensive line


OG Joshua Garnett continues to get reps on the left side of the offensive line. "He allowed defensive tackle Brandon Dunn to get past him on one-on-one blocking drills," said Matt Barrows. "Later during a two-man stunt drill, he knocked nose tackle D.J. Reader to the ground."

The starting offensive line remains Joe Staley, Zane Beadles, Daniel Kilgore, Andrew Tiller, and Trent Brown.

Running backs


Carlos Hyde did well catching the ball out of the backfield. "Carlos Hyde is giving the Texans problems as a pass catcher out of the backfield," said Kevin Jones of KNBR. "49ers offense is going to rely heavily on his hands."

Wide receivers


Ellington reportedly had a good practice against the Texans. Joe Fann of 49ers Media said that no one could keep up with him one-on-one, calling him a "catch machine."

Cornerbacks


Jimmie Ward struggled against the Texans receivers according to Ryan Sakamoto of Niner Fans.



Saturday's schedule


The team's practice, which is closed to reporters, is scheduled for 10:25 AM.

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