Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers Weekly Recap: Dee Ford returns, “Non” quarterback controversy, and Tavon Wilson impresses

Rohan Chakravarthi
Aug 8, 2021 at 12:00 PM--

We're back, and it couldn't have come at a better time because training camp is heating up.

Here's your recap of the top San Francisco 49ers-related stories from the past week.

1. Dee Ford Returns

Dee Ford has returned to team activities and has begun individual drills in practice, although he hasn't participated in a full day's events just yet.

Still, the feat is impressive, given that there were beliefs that Ford might not even be back to practice before the season.

Ford first appeared on July 28th's practice, when he participated in individual drills, but not team drills. Coach Kyle Shanahan stated that the team would take a "cautious approach" with any ramp-up in Ford's workload, but having the oft-injured defensive end out there is certainly progress.

Ford then accelerated to team drills this past Monday after being limited the week before and even took a hard shove from right tackle Mike McGlinchey, but showed no glimpses of any lingering pain, which is a good sign for the 49ers.

When asked about Ford following his return to team drills, Shanahan said that he looked similar to his old self.

"He ran by me a bunch of times. So when I saw him walking in, I told him quit teasing me like that because he looked like the Dee Ford I remember. So hopefully he can keep that up and can be smart with him as we go."

Ford himself said that he never contemplated retirement and looked forward to getting back to competing on Friday.

"Hell no, [I've never considered retirement. No. No. I put in too much work. I haven't put my best ball on tape yet. This is my life. This is what I do."

Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans shared a similar sentiment to Shanahan about Ford's progress and expressed the cautiousness, although he noted that Ford has certainly looked good in his early progress.

"Yeah. I thought Dee, he performed really well for the few reps that he's gotten. And Dee is still on an approach where we're taking it day by day. He's getting a little bit, you know, every day, but Dee is in a good spot and he's getting better and better each day."

With the preseason approaching, Ford's progress will certainly be something to monitor.

2. "Non" Quarterback Controversy

There isn't a quarterback competition. At least that's what Kyle Shanahan continues to reverberate in his daily pressers.

Still, Trey Lance has certainly shown some promise during the early stages of training camp and even took a snap with the first-team offense, albeit it was a certain formation the team wished to test out.

However, with an array of deep throws (a touchdown pass to Trent Sherfield and a bomb to Brandon Aiyuk), Lance certainly has impressed many because of the team's lack of successful deep throws over the past few seasons.

While Shanahan won't commit to a quarterback battle, he did say that Lance would get situational reps with the first-team offense.

"I mean, Trey will get reps with the 1s and stuff and that doesn't mean [that the] competition's open, it means I want him to get some reps with the [starting] O-Line, I want to get some with the receivers. He does get [reps] with the receivers."

Left tackle Trent Williams went on KNBR this week and called Trey Lance a "generational talent", but doubled down by saying that there is no quarterback competition.

"So, I don't really see a quarterback competition at this time. But Trey is an outstanding talent. It's hard to deny that. When you see him throw the ball, when you see him run the ball, you know that's a generational talent. I mean, we're lucky to have QB1 and QB2 be extremely talented, and I think [Jimmy and Trey] both have what it takes to get us where we need to go."

Despite the nice outings, Lance has also had some rough outings, like Friday's practice, but there is still much to look forward to, especially with the preseason approaching.

3. Tavon Wilson Impresses

The 31-year-old Tavon Wilson signed with the 49ers this offseason after spending his last nine years across three teams: the New England Patriots, Detroit Lions, and Indianapolis Colts, with which he spent last season.

With starting strong safety Jaquiski Tartt beginning training camp on the Reserve/COVID-19 List, Wilson got the first-team snaps and has impressed so far, garnering praise from both DeMeco Ryans and George Kittle.

"I think having Tavon in, Tavon has done a really good job," Ryans said. "I mean, you can tell he's a true pro. He's a leader. I love his approach to every day. He attacks every day the right way, does a really awesome job of communicating out there with the guys, making sure guys are all on the same page. And he's just been great in there. So I'm happy that we were able to get Tavon, a really great addition to our team, and I like the way he's working."

After Kittle shouted him out earlier in the week, Wilson also expressed his appreciation for the tight end on Friday.

Kittle expressed how the veteran's experience has improved his own game and that he enjoys slotting up against the defensive back in practice.

"He definitely is a [veteran] guy. He holds a little bit extra, he gets away, like he knows how to get away with stuff, and that's fantastic for me to get. I'm getting reps against a [veteran] that knows how to play the game and he's a hell of a player too, but he's super smart, he's always in the right place at the right time."

Wilson expressed a similar sentiment during his presser, as he described the importance of those matchups when trying to improve.

"Everything's tough about going against George," Wilson commented. "He's just a great player all-around. [I'm] coming in every day just trying to challenge him and I'm trying to make him better, you know. We're making each other better every single day and that's ultimately going to make our football team better."

With Wilson's impressive performance so far in training camp, there could be a potential battle looming for the starting spot, especially since the 49ers removed Tartt from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, although he was then placed on the active/physically unable to perform list.

Look out in the preseason and during the rest of practices for a potential position battle, assuming Tartt gets healthy.

Thanks for reading and come back next week for the 49ers weekly recap.

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