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The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their third day of training camp practices on Saturday, this time with the pads on. Here's what stood out.

Saturday, July 28 marked the third San Francisco 49ers training camp practice, although it was the first time the pads have come on for 2018.

The Niners defense largely got the best of head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense on day one, although the offense managed to bounce back nicely on the second day, thanks to an outstanding performance from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Yet Garoppolo wasn't particularly effective today on deep throws. It's something Shanahan isn't overly concerned with right now.

"Very rarely, except on a go route, do you know you're going deep," Shanahan told reporters following practice. "You have three-level throws, you have two-level throws. You don't know where you're going with that ball until you get to the top of your drop."

Garoppolo's deep-passing abilities might be the only major mark against the quarterback's skill set. His 1.0 playmaker index rating with San Francisco last year, per Pro Football Focus, was right on the cusp of being considered problematic.

"I thought it was our best day all around," Shanahan admitted, however. "All three phases I thought were solid. We've still got a lot of improving to do, but the first day of pads, everyone came out focused. It was a physical practice. But at the same time, I thought we took care of each other."

Here are your other news and notes from Saturday's practice.


While Garoppolo struggled with some deep passes and didn't look quite as sharp as Friday, he did manage to find rookie wide receiver Dante Pettis on a perfectly thrown ball (h/t Niners Wire's Rob Lowder):

On short- and intermediate-range passes, though, Garoppolo looked solid enough and displayed an overall command of Shanahan's complex offense. That will be crucial moving forward regardless of any deep-ball concerns that exist.

Not to be forgotten, however, backup quarterback C.J. Beathard looked sharp in practice, according to KNBR 680's Larry Krueger.

Beathard's development in year two is going to be a point to watch. While the 49ers hope he doesn't see a meaningful snap this season, seeing him mature from a rough rookie season only serves to put San Francisco's depth under center in a better position. And it also increases Beathard's stock value on the open market, should the Niners elect to trade him in a couple of years or so.

Running Back

While running back Jerick McKinnon is going to be a major focal point for San Francisco's offense this season, second-year runner Matt Breida might be the biggest standout at the position at training camp so far.

Breida, who ranked third on the Niners offense in all-purpose yards last year (645), flashed plenty of moments in both the running and passing games, according to ESPN's Nick Wagoner. Given the propensity of a Shanahan offense to incorporate its runners into the receiving game, seeing Breida master this aspect of his game is going to be crucial moving forward.

It could spell danger for fellow second-year tailback Joe Williams, though, who was redshirted with an ankle injury last season after dealing with fumbling issues during that year's training camp.

Signs are pointing to Williams heading into the right direction, however.

"I think Joe has a lot of ability," Shanahan said. "It's been very apparent that he's had a different mindset this year than last year. Sometimes that just takes time."

Williams could still be on the outside, looking in, as far as the roster bubble goes. But it's appearing as if he's making strides to make the eventual decision a tough one.

Wide Receiver

Seventh-round rookie Richie James continued to impress, and he's been one of the standouts at camp so far.

Fellow rookie Dante Pettis, however, didn't exactly have the best two opening days of camp. But as shown in the above tweet from Rob Lowder, the Washington product managed a nice catch while showing his playmaking ability.

And there was this, from Fourth and Nine's Dylan DeSimone, which highlighted Pettis' separation from cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon:

Fellow wideout Kendrick Bourne also flashed some leaping ability, and Marquise Goodwin's speed was also on full display. As for Bourne, his chances of making the 53-man roster look excellent.

Offensive Line

During individual drills, rookie first-round draft pick Mike McGlinchey went up against edge rusher Cassius Marsh, and Marsh got the best of him, as shown by The Athletic's Matt Barrows:

McGlinchey, who will start at right tackle this year, was known more for his run support than pass blocking at Notre Dame. It appears as if that's going to be the case again early in camp.

Defensive Line

It's good to see Marsh putting the moves on McGlinchey early, as the 49ers pass rush figures to be a key concern entering 2018.

But the Niners' top defensive lineman, DeForest Buckner, will still be the main focus.

During similar drills, Buckner gave offensive guard Laken Tomlinson a fair share of work, although Tomlinson managed to hold his own:


As to be expected, linebacker Reuben Foster was flying around the field all day -- not unlike what fans witnessed throughout the season a year ago.

But Foster's style of play also creates a concern over injury, particularly the shoulder issue he carried upon being drafted by the Niners back in 2017. And according to former KNBR 680 insider Kevin Jones, it's something Shanahan and Co. are trying to help Foster with to elongate his promising career:

Foster's health is going to be critical to the Niners' chances this year. Unlike last season, though, San Francisco's linebacker depth is notably deep, particularly with Malcolm Smith's healthy return from a 2017 pectoral injury and the Round 3 draft selection of BYU's Fred Warner.


Second-year cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon had a rough day in pads, especially on a double move by wide receiver Victor Bolden:

Since it's the first day in pads and merely a one-on-one drill, one shouldn't read too deeply into the missed coverage.

Yet one should feel pretty excited about second-year safety Adrian Colbert who, like Foster, was active all over the field during the day's practices.

This and That

McGlinchey picks veteran left tackle Joe Staley's brain on a daily basis, and the two already have a well-documented relationship.

Garoppolo made one young kid's day after practice by signing autographs.

The 49ers wrap up their first week of practice on Sunday, with sessions beginning at 1:15 p.m. ET from Santa Clara. That will be followed by a players' day off on Monday, July 30 and then the second week of full practice on Tuesday.

Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to @PeterPanacy on Twitter.

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