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Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

49ers Training Camp Day 4 Breakdown: Defense

Rohan Chakravarthi
Jul 30, 2022 at 6:15 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers continued training camp on Saturday, marking their fourth practice of the month.

RELATED 49ers Training Camp Day 4 Breakdown: Offense

As it was still the first week of camp, pads weren't on. They're likely to come on during Monday's practice.

The 49ers got some unfortunate news on Saturday, as it was announced that defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, who was looking good initially, tore his biceps tendon and will be out for the majority of the year. Additionally, defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway sustained a quad injury and may miss a few weeks. Both injuries were on top of Thursday's news that Arik Armstead suffered a sprained MCL, although it isn't considered to be serious.


Defensive Line

The defensive line continued to look good on Saturday, even as starters Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey returned to the offensive line. Nick Bosa headlined the day with multiple sacks before tweaking his foot and sitting out the end of scrimmages.

Another name that has looked good: newly-signed defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, who followed his 1.5 sack day on Thursday with another sack on Saturday, working against rookie left guard Jason Poe.

Additionally, Javon Kinlaw returned to team drills and scrimmages and looked very good, moving fluidly, and recording a pressure against left guard Aaron Banks on the first play of scrimmage.

Lastly, defensive lineman Kerry Hyder, who I initially projected to not make the 53-man roster, saw some action with the first and second-team defenses, playing on the interior as well as the edge. While he didn't necessarily have a disruptive day, his usage will continue to be monitored as training camp progresses.

The battle in the trenches will be something to watch as pads come on for sure.


The linebacker rotations remained the same as yesterday, with Al-Shaair coming off the field and replaced by cornerback Dontae Johnson in nickel situations.

1st Team
SLB Azeez Al-Shaair
MLB Fred Warner
WLB Dre Greenlaw

2nd Team
SLB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles
MLB Curtis Robinson
WLB Oren Burks

3rd Team
SLB Segun Olubi
MLB Jeremiah Gemmel
WLB Marcelino McCrary-Ball

A name that stood out today: Marcelino McCrary-Ball, who had a nice play in coverage against running back Tyrion Davis-Price on a wheel route, forcing an incompletion from Nate Sudfeld. Additionally, McCrary-Ball's speed was highlighted in the run game, as he was step-in-step with Danny Gray during a jet sweep, forcing the wideout out of bounds after only four yards.

Linebacker Fred Warner notched his first interception of training camp, picking off Trey Lance on a play where the second-year quarterback didn't see the All-Pro while looking for Ray-Ray McCloud.


The top cornerbacks continue to have strong performances, as Charvarius Ward recorded an interception off Nate Sudfeld, while Emmanuel Moseley recorded a pass-break up.

Here were the cornerback rotations, which saw only one change from the previous day:

1st Team
CB Charvarius Ward
CB Emmanuel Moseley
NB Dontae Johnson

2nd Team
CB Ambry Thomas
CB Deommodore Lenoir
NB Darqueze Dennard

3rd Team
CB Ka'Darr Hollman
CB Tariq Castro-Fields
NB Samuel Womack/Qwuantrezz Knight

Dennard was replaced by veteran Dontae Johnson as the starting slot cornerback for the 49ers on Saturday, bumping all the current slot corners down a spot in the depth chart.

Deommodore Lenoir, who was in danger of potentially losing his job, has had a good start to camp, especially on a Tarvarius Moore interception where he was step-in-step with speedy receiver Danny Gray.

Ambry Thomas has had an up-and-down camp opposite Lenoir, having given up a few catches, but was finally thrown in the fire during the second scrimmage on Saturday, as the 49ers allowed him to play press-man coverage. Thomas held receiver Malik Turner on a play, but also guarded Danny Gray perfectly on a comeback route, forcing quarterback Nate Sudfeld to scramble.

The slot cornerback battle will be intriguing, given the strength of the outside cornerbacks, and this secondary certainly has more depth than was present last season.


Talanoa Hufanga and Jimmie Ward were the starters, once again, at safety, with the USC product being the first one out on the field to begin practice on Saturday, coming out 45 minutes before practice started.

Here were the safety rotations:

1st Team
SS Talanoa Hufanga
FS Jimmie Ward

2nd Team
FS Tarvarius Moore
SS George Odum

3rd Team
FS Tayler Hawkins
SS Leon O'Neal

Moore was the focal point on Saturday, intercepting two passes from Nate Sudfeld, and appears to have regained the athleticism that made him an intriguing safety in the first place.

Ward had a great play, rocking running back Jeff Wilson Jr. as the latter tried to make a catch, forcing the drop and incompletion.

So far, the 49ers' secondary has looked great, and they'll look to build on their first week's performances when pads come on for Monday's practice.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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