On day four of San Francisco 49ers training camp, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo managed some impressive connections with wide receivers Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin and the rookie, Dante Pettis.


With the first week of San Francisco 49ers training camp in the books, it makes sense that a good chunk of the focus would be on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and the passing game. While Garoppolo was mostly effective on day three of practice, he did miss a couple of deep shots in the direction of wide receiver Marquise Goodwin.

The two stayed after Saturday's practice to work on the long connections, and that appeared to pay off nicely during Sunday's session.

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During a one-on-one drill, Garoppolo hit Goodwin for a long completion, as Goodwin was going up against cornerback Richard Sherman (h/t Niners Wire's Rob Lowder):


On one hand, it's great to see the deep-pass connection between the two. And we shouldn't be too surprised that Goodwin outran Sherman on a go route. Goodwin's speed is elite and, as defensive coordinator Robert Saleh noted after practice, Sherman is still working at "trying to get his football legs back." Plus, Garoppolo wasn't facing any pressure during his delivery.

During a full 11-on-11 drill, though, Garoppolo found Goodwin again on a 45-yard connection with defensive back Jimmie Ward in coverage.

"It's different throwing a go ball to Marquise than to another receiver," Garoppolo explained to reporters Sunday. "I've never had a receiver like Marquise. You just have to change a couple of things, tweak a couple of things, and your drop. I don't know. It happens differently. That acclamation to one another is obviously growing. Like I said, it was good to hit one today, though."

Goodwin's speed is a major asset to Garoppolo and head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense. But it also forces Garoppolo to tweak his mechanics a bit when targeting the speedster.

"You've got to speed things up," Garoppolo said. "Just really how you read the play out there."

Goodwin wasn't the only standout at practice, though. Over the first three days, veteran wideout Pierre Garçon hadn't made much of a splash. Saturday marked the first time both he and Garoppolo worked together in pads (Garçon was sidelined with a season-ending neck injury when Garoppolo took over starting duties last year). But that all changed during Sunday's practice, when Garoppolo managed to find Garçon on a 1-on-1 drill going up against safety Jaquiski Tartt.


The Garoppolo-to-Garçon connection hasn't totally developed yet, but there is still plenty of time for the two to find some chemistry. This one play is a good sign.

One of San Francisco's bigger camp standouts, however, has been rookie wide receiver Dante Pettis, whom the Niners selected at No. 44 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Over the first two days, Pettis' efforts seemed to indicate the 49ers reached a bit on draft day, as the former Washington receiver was fairly indecisive and looked lost, at times, during practice.

All that changed on day three, though, and Pettis' fourth day of practice was arguably even better. Pettis burned his man and created some terrific separation during this particular drill:


One of Pettis' better attributes, of course, is his route-running capabilities. That's what should make him such a valuable commodity in Shanahan's system. And Garoppolo had plenty of praise for the rookie wideout too.

"He moves differently than most guys," Garoppolo said of Pettis after practice. "He has some long limbs, long arms, long legs, and it helps him create space with defenders. He has a unique ability – I call it 'wiggle' – whatever you want to call it, though. His body moves a certain way, and he explodes out of the break and separates a foot from the guy, and that's all you need. As a quarterback, you love to see that.

"He's young, he's learning, just like all these young guys are. It's their first training camp. We all have a long way to go, but he's working hard every day, and it's good to see that."

Pettis has a long way to go before finding a true starting job in San Francisco's offense, especially considering he's looking up the depth chart at players like Garçon, Goodwin and Trent Taylor. But performances like yesterday and today should go a long way in helping the rookie earn a bona fide role in the offense this upcoming season.

The Niners are off on Monday but will resume training camp practice on Tuesday, July 31 at 1:15 p.m. ET from Santa Clara.

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.