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49ers Training Camp Day 8 Breakdown: Offense

Rohan Chakravarthi
Aug 4, 2023 at 9:28 PM--

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Day 8 of the San Francisco 49ers training camp is officially over, as it was the longest practice that the team ran, consisting of 13 periods, rather than the usual 12, with the final session lasting nearly 23 minutes in a heavy scrimmage day.

The offense and defense each had their moments, as the quarterbacks compiled a second consecutive day of good collective performances, while the defensive line rebounded with a number of pressures and at least five sacks.

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I broke down every throw that Brock Purdy, Trey Lance, and Sam Darnold threw, both in 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s, grading each of their performances on Day 8 of training camp Friday.

Running Backs

Christian McCaffrey played enough reps on Friday to earn a spot on my "standouts" list for the day, although you could argue that he's deserved a spot on any of the days he's suited up, given the elusiveness with which he runs with on a consistent basis.

His elusive manner, mixed with good patience, vision, and ability to accelerate have led to some bigger plays in the run game, and showcased McCaffrey's star-studded talent level. Not to mention, he's been equally as impressive as a receiver, marking the star running back for a big year, coming off a season where I anointed him the team's offensive MVP.

Jordan Mason got a ton of carries on Friday, including a stretch of rushes on five consecutive plays during move the ball period, and was intriguingly seen out of the slot in walkthroughs in a package the 49ers were testing. It was eventually seen in team drills when the 49ers lined up McCaffrey in the slot and Deebo Samuel in the backfield, faking a handoff to the latter before the former caught a pass.

Ty Davis-Price had a solid day as well, showcasing some good acceleration on his runs when getting to the second level, and getting an ample amount of carries as well with the extended number of plays.

Wide Receivers

The wide receivers were significantly featured in a pass-heavy day that featured around 45 total dropbacks, with Brandon Aiyuk leading the charge once again.

Aiyuk had a phenomenal catch over Deommodore Lenoir for 25 yards on a delivery from Brock Purdy, and ended with a team-high six catches, seeing targets from all three quarterbacks and cooking everybody in his way.

The lone mishap? Aiyuk had a ball off his hands on a 20-yard out-route from Brock Purdy where he dove for the ball and couldn't corral it in. Purdy could've led him a little more with room ahead of the sideline, but the ball still should've likely been caught. Nonetheless, it was yet another busy day for Brandon Aiyuk, who's been the best offensive player of 49ers' training camp for the second consecutive year.

Deebo Samuel was no slouch either, catching a well-placed pass from Brock Purdy in the redzone on a fade route, mossing Charvarius Ward, and scoring the lone touchdown of the day during the move-the-ball period.

Samuel had three catches on five attempts, with both incompletions coming as pass breakups, one from Talanoa Hufanga on a deep ball and another from Deommodore Lenoir on a comeback. Good day for the veteran receiver.

Danny Gray has been my most improved player of 49ers' training camp, and continued a solid start with two catches: a 20-yard downfield pass from Brandon Allen over the middle, and a six-yard screen pass from Sam Darnold. Gray has been able to run better routes, while maintaining good speed over the top, and looks stronger, which has helped him at the line of scrimmage, where he struggled last season, as well as in the blocking game.

Other involved players were Ronnie Bell, who connected with Trey Lance on a pair of 15-yard passes, and Jauan Jennings, who caught a 25-yard dart from Lance as well.

Tight Ends

George Kittle earned his way onto the "standouts" list with a major 35-yard catch on Friday, mossing Dre Greenlaw for the big play on an underthrown ball from Brock Purdy. That was one of four targets for the top tight end, who converted three of those opportunities.

Brayden Willis continues to distance himself from the pack in the TE2 race, stacking up another solid day, and earning himself a spot on my "standouts" list as well. It's been multiple consistent days for Willis, who has been the better rookie so far.

The remainder of the room has disappointed in the tight end battle, as Latu hasn't really wowed with many plays, rarely seeing catches in team drills and getting overlapped by Willis.

Woerner, on the other hand, has been a good blocker, but that's primarily it, while Dwelley has been phased out of the competition, it feels.

Offensive Line

The offensive line had a bit of a down day on Friday, losing the battle against their defensive counterparts, allowing five total sacks, although some were on the quarterback, as well as a false start.

In positive news, Colton McKivitz looked solid in 1-on-1s, beating Clelin Ferrell and Drake Jackson on separate reps Friday, but his true test will only come during joint practices and training camp.

With Aaron Banks still out due to a concussion, Jon Feliciano took first-team snaps at left guard, in place of Nick Zakelj and Jason Poe, who split those duties while the veteran guard was out on Thursday.

Jake Brendel has been a positive in 1-on-1s, winning reps against Javon Kinlaw and Arik Armstead on the day, and holding up well with his anchor in pass protection.

Spencer Burford had a bounce-back day in 1s as well, winning reps against Kinlaw and Armstead as well after struggling to begin camp in the drills, which is a good sign for the 49ers' offensive line.

With the backups, center Keith Ismael, who predominately works with the second-team offense as the snapper, has struggled with his snaps, as there's been at least one poor rep during team drills over the past few days.

It's interesting that the 49ers aren't giving those center reps to Zakelj, Poe, or Feliciano, players more likely to make the team at that position.

The offensive line did see some good blocking in the run game, creating some nice holes for the top backs, which has been one of the bigger positives of camp thus far.
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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