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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers Training Camp Day 10 Breakdown: Defense

Rohan Chakravarthi
Aug 8, 2022 at 3:45 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers scaled back during Day 10 of Training Camp on Sunday, as they didn't run any 2-minute drill sessions, nor did they have a number of their star players, although there were several move-the-ball periods.

RELATED: 49ers Training Camp Day 10 Breakdown: Offense


Defensive Line

Nick Bosa, once again, was not a participant in team drills as the 49ers gave out several veteran rest days, with defensive end Samson Ebukam not practicing at all on Sunday, providing opportunities for other players on the roster.

With Bosa and Ebukam not a factor in scrimmages, defensive ends Charles Omenihu and Kerry Hyder started alongside the edge, while defensive tackles Javon Kinlaw and Kevin Givens took the starting spots in the middle of the defensive line.

Omenihu piled up a second successful day, getting to the quarterback for another pressure, showcasing his potential as an interior and outside pass-rusher, similar to Hyder, who has gotten significant run with the first and second-team defense in training camp.
Javon Kinlaw was a factor in the run game, stopping a play at the line of scrimmage, while also recording a pressure during the move-the-ball period, bull-rushing center Daniel Brunskill on a third down to force a quick Trey Lance throw that almost resulted in an interception.

Kinlaw had a fun battle with guard Aaron Banks, with the former able to push the latter back, while the latter surprisingly held up his anchor with a deeper base. Kinlaw continues to move very well during drills, and played a majority of the first-team defensive reps on the interior, be it in run-defending or pass-rushing situations, showcasing his improvements in durability early, even with the 49ers resting him on several occasions.

Without 1-on-1 drills, it was harder to get a full recap of defensive line performances, but it's good to see the main features continue to impress as the 49ers work other players back from injury.

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead was seen conditioning on the sidelines earlier this week, moving well during sprints, while newly-signed defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway was out doing similar work as well.


With Azeez Al-Shaair and Dre Greenlaw getting rest days, the 49ers implemented new linebacker rotations, with Oren Burks, who had seen reps with the first-team defense in Al-Shaair's spot before, taking over with Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles as the two starters alongside Fred Warner.

In accordance, Marcelino McCrary-Ball and Segun Olubi got significant reps with the second-team defense, playing alongside middle linebacker Curtis Robinson.

All three 49er interceptions on Sunday went to linebackers, with each occurring during the move-the-ball period. Fred Warner picked off Trey Lance on a ball straight to him, while Marcelino McCrary-Ball backpedaled to the sidelines on a Nate Sudfeld rollout to his left, making an athletic play in the air on an underthrown pass for the interception, and Jeremiah Gemmel intercepted a Brock Purdy pass off of a Ty Davis-Price drop.

The 49ers linebackers also had an instinctive play on Sunday during a Deebo Samuel end-around, staying disciplined and not biting for the fake towards the right side, with all three levels of the defense collapsing for little gain on the play.

The linebackers continue to play well in the run game, benefitting sometimes off the running backs' indecisiveness, stopping them for short gains on the play.


The cornerbacks had another impressive performance on Sunday, exhibiting the ability to hold coverage for several seconds, as the quarterbacks took a few coverage sacks once again, sometimes even pump-faking throws, but failing to find open receivers on plays.

The surprise is: that performance came without starting cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, who was seen conditioning on the side, but there wasn't any information revealed about whether he had sustained a minor injury or was on a rest day as well.

With Moseley out, Deommodore Lenoir got his first reps with the starting cornerbacks opposite Charvarius Ward. Remember, third-string cornerback Ka'Darr Hollman got time with the first-team defense when Charvarius Ward had a rest day earlier this week.

Lenoir was targeted twice on Sunday, holding up good on both reps, while giving up a 30-yard catch to Danny Gray on one of the plays.

First, Lenoir had good coverage on Deebo Samuel on a 15-yard out-route, which has been a play where he's given up several catches, and Trey Lance's throw missed by 5-10 yards on the play. Second, Lenoir was in coverage on Danny Gray, but the receiver made a spectacular back-shoulder catch in mid-air for a long gain.

Rookie cornerback Samuel Womack had his best day of training camp on Sunday, which is notable given that he's seen time with the first-team defense earlier this week. While playing on the second-team defense, Womack broke up a pass intended for Ray-Ray McCloud, who has bested the slot cornerbacks on routes this week, before locking up Jauan Jennings on a 10-yard route crossing from the middle, which was another incomplete pass.

Womack looks like he could be playing himself into some extra reps with the first-team defense as training camp comes to a close, with his long arms, speed, and coverage ability all starting to come to fruition, especially on Sunday.

Rookie cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields gave up a 15-yard catch on an out-route on Sunday, while also committing a holding penalty on a rep that ended in a Trey Lance coverage sack. While it wasn't a bad day for the young corner, Castro-Fields has held receivers on multiple occasions this week, holding Malik Turner on a 1-on-1 rep as well.

Castro-Fields has initially looked good for the 49ers in training camp, which is why it wasn't a surprise that he's seen second-team defensive reps alongside Deommodore Lenoir, however; there are refinements needed in his technique at times as he continues his development.

Backup cornerback Ka'darr Hollman made a nice play with Brandon Aiyuk as the intended target, breaking up a pass near the far sideline on Sunday. Additionally, Hollman had good coverage on a deep 45-yard catch by Ray-Ray McCloud, guarding him closely near the sideline, but the receiver made a nice catch on the play.


After seeing some extensive time near the line of scrimmage on Saturday, safety Jimmie Ward's biggest play on Sunday came during a pass breakup on a deep pass intended for Brandon Aiyuk over the middle of the field, where the veteran defensive back challenged the receiver at the catch point, using his vision to detect the passing lane and his physicality to break the pass up.

While Ward has been one of the better slot corners and run-defenders at the safety position, the veteran also has the ability to play the backend, which was showcased against San Francisco's top weapon in training camp on Sunday.

The 49ers' backup safeties appear to still be working on their feel in zone coverage, which was exhibited on a 30-yard throw from Nate Sudfeld to Tanner Hudson between the linebackers and the safeties where neither player on the backend challenged the tight end as he sat in the soft spot, allowing him to catch the deep completion.

Safeties George Odum and Talanoa Hufanga did have a nice play on the aforementioned Deebo Samuel end-around, as they remained disciplined, staying near the middle of the box on the play, trusting their closing speed as opposed to overcommitting, which allowed them to react when the reverse run occurred.

Overall, without 1-on-1 action, there weren't many other takeaways from the tight end room.

Stay tuned for Tuesday's coverage!
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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