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49ers Training Camp Day 6 Breakdown: Defense

Rohan Chakravarthi
Aug 1, 2023 at 7:35 PM--

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Day 6 of the San Francisco 49ers training camp is officially over, as it was a lighter practice following a scrimmage-heavy day on Monday, with the team following a balanced approach with the pass and run game.

The offense and defense each had their moments. Quarterback Brock Purdy had his best practice thus far, following Trey Lance's strong performance on Monday, while the defense accumulated eight sacks on the day, the most of training camp so far.

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Defensive Line

The defensive line was on an absolute tear on Tuesday, with a number of players standing out, from the starters to the backups, showcasing truly how deep and talented a group San Francisco has.

Javon Hargrave earned his first spot on the "standouts" list, recording another sack, this time working against Spencer Burford, while easily winning a 1-on-1 rep against Corey Luciano in a productive day for the star defensive lineman.

For the backups, Javon Kinlaw continues to shine, beating Keith Ishmael in a 1-on-1 rep before doing the exact same thing during team drills for a sack on Trey Lance.

Additionally, Alex Barrett and newly-signed Taco Charlton shined, both earning a spot on my "standouts" list, as the former won a 1-on-1 rep against Spencer Burford before doing the same thing in team drills with the first-team defense, and the latter bursting onto the scene the same day he signed his contract, winning 1-on-1 reps against Jaylon Moore and Leroy Watson before recording a sack against Joey Fisher in team drills.

Charlton also was effective at times in the run game, beating Watson to stuff Tyrion Davis-Price on a rush attempt

That's not all. T.Y. McGill, who was an underrated contributor on the 49ers' defensive line last season, recorded a sack alongside George Odum on a safety blitz, while also stuffing a Christian McCaffrey rush attempt in the redzone when the back had his lone rep with the second team.

Kerry Hyder isn't one to be forgotten either, as he wreaked havoc on Sam Darnold in the redzone, recording a pressure on Darnold's incompletion that hit Dee Winters in the hands because Hyder's presence forced the quarterback to sidearm the throw. Then, on the following play, Hyder came back and finished the job, recording a sack on Darnold.

Drake Jackson had an up-and-down day, appearing to create a pressure on one play, but committing an offsides penalty along with Clelin Ferrell on another. He also lost 1-on-1 reps to Colton McKivitz and Trent Williams as the top defensive end.

Same went for Clelin Ferrell, who hasn't looked too sharp to begin camp, despite starting as the first-team defensive end opposite Drake Jackson with Nick Bosa away from the team. He'll need to pick it up to compete with the other players in the position group fighting to make the 53-man roster.


Marcelino McCrary-Ball was a standout today, and it seems that he's closing in on potentially becoming the third linebacker for the 49ers opposite of Dre Greenlaw and Fred Warner. His closing speed and coverage skills have been on full display during camp.

For the second consecutive practice, McCrary-Ball was quick to get to players out in the open, and seems like a viable option in pass coverage, where he was active with the second-team defense on Tuesday.

Dee Winters had a pass-breakup, nearly intercepting a pass from Sam Darnold that was low and off his hands, but he had nice coverage on the play, running with the target and getting in front of the pass.

Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles did record a sack, coming on a well-timed linebacker blitz from Steve Wilks, where he was untouched going to the quarterback and Brock Purdy held onto the ball a little too long.

While I didn't personally watch, Jalen Graham, according to Last Second Sports' Jessie Naylor, he had a solid practice in 1-on-1s today, holding his own on a rep against Christian McCaffrey, running stride for stride in coverage on the play.

Defensive backs

With Charvarius Ward in limited action during team-drills, Ambry Thomas stepped into a first-team defense role... and struggled. Thomas was targeted several times and didn't force an single incompletion, even on a play where he had great coverage against Brandon Aiyuk.

Thomas came into this camp on the bubble needing a strong performance to justify earning a roster spot for the third consecutive season, and that hasn't happened yet, despite getting opportunities with the first-team unit.

Lenoir, on the other hand, had a stand out play on an out-route against George Kittle, where he perfectly jumped the route for a near interception. However, he was called for a holding penalty, nullifying the play. While it wasn't clear exactly where the penalty occurred, it potentially may have been as he was getting out of his break.

With a lot of action happening up front, there wasn't much action on the backend, as there were only 14 total throws during the lighter practice, but safety George Odum did create a pressure off a safety blitz, leading to a sack.

Additionally, cornerback Isaiah Oliver notched a forced fumble, punching the ball out on a Deebo Samuel screen-and-run for a turnover.
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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