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49ers Training Camp Day 2 Breakdown: Defense

Rohan Chakravarthi
Jul 27, 2023 at 6:30 PM


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Day 2 of the San Francisco 49ers training camp is officially over, as head coach Kyle Shanahan conducted a more intense, scrimmage-filled practice after a lighter Day 1 on Wednesday.

Both the offense and the defense had their moments on Day 2, although the quarterbacks struggled, which allowed the defense to dominate more.

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Defense


Defensive Line

After Javon Hargrave and Arik Armstead sat out team drills on Wednesday, both of them were present on Thursday and at the forefront of the 49ers' defense. Hargrave earned a sack on a play where Drake Jackson also recorded a pressure, and was a constant force during his reps today.

It was tough to run against the defensive line up the middle today, as the lanes were clogged up there, although it's important to note that there still were no pads on.

Jackson made the standouts list today, as he held his ground against Trent Williams in his second day as the top defensive end, as Nick Bosa remains away from the team. In addition, defensive ends Austin Bryant, who had a sack Wednesday, and Kerry Hyder, both were disruptive at times on Thursday.

Backup defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw also made the standouts list today, playing well and being his explosive self at the defensive line position. He's on the roster bubble, but has begun to make a compelling case to retain him on the 53-man roster.

The 49ers envision Armstead as a pure defensive tackle, which means that the team may add another edge as opposed to a defensive tackle on the 53-man roster. There are a few early risers in that division.

Linebackers

The linebackers were all over the field today, as Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw both practiced in full, with Oren Burks working as the third linebacker with the first-team defense.

Burks had a nice tackle for loss, bursting in to break up a Tyrion Davis-Price run, while the second-team linebackers made a few plays.

Marcelino McCrary-Ball forced a drop by Davis-Price in the flat while charging in, and Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles tipped a near interception off Trey Lance in the intermediate portion of the field. Curtis Robinson, the third linebacker on the second-team defense, also was active, stopping Jordan Mason on a pitch outside for no gain.

Additionally, rookie Jalen Graham was involved in one of the sacks in the day, going untouched on a blitz for a pressure.

Cornerbacks

Cornerback play has continued to look solid for the 49ers through two practices, as the top options, Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir, both have respectably held up in coverage, while the backups have made a few plays of their own.

Lenoir was in coverage against Brandon Aiyuk on Brock Purdy's pick-six to Tashaun Gipson early, placing himself in good position to likely intercept the pass had the safety not been there.

Samuel Womack was the standout of the day at the position, making a couple of plays in coverage, as well as in the run game to earn him the mark on that list.

Ambry Thomas even rebounded, recording a pass-breakup after getting beaten by Danny Gray on an incomplete deep ball yesterday in a solid day for the corners.

In rotation news, Isaiah Oliver has taken all the first-team snaps at nickelback.

Safeties

Tashaun Gipson practiced in full today, and recorded a pick-six, reading Brock Purdy's eyes and being in a good position to make a play. In addition, Gipson was also seen in the run game and on blitzes, which likely increases with Steve Wilks under the helm.

Ji'Ayir Brown continues to work on the second-team defense with George Odum, while Talanoa Hufagna is the top option to work with Hufanga.

In some on-the-field news, Hufanga beat out Brown as the first player to begin practicing prior to the start of camp, although the rookie safety was a good second place.

While they haven't been seen yet, three-safety sets could be a factor for the 49ers sooner than later in training camp, which could give the first shot of Brown playing with the first-team defense.
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