SANTA CLARA – The 49ers have just had their 11th practice of training camp, and their first inside Levi’s Stadium. They practically played an entire game without a tackle, and I got to watch it from the 50-yard line. Are you jealous?
1. Tight End Jordan Reed.
Receiver for all quarterbacks today because George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel are injured and did not practice. Even when those three players return, Reed will be a go-to player in the 49ers’ passing game when he’s healthy, as he’s the best road runner on the team and he has excellent hand-eye coordination. Today he made five catches for 45 yards and caught Jimmy Garoppolo’s only touchdown pass of the morning. Look for Garoppolo to throw a lot of passes to Reed in the red zone and third this season.
2. Tight End Chase Harrell.
Did not play with the starters, but caught five passes for a high 60 yards in practice. Beat corner / nickelback Jason Verrett with an outside course for a gain of 21 yards. Harrell is tall and quick and quick and a good road racer. He has a bright future.
3. Wide receiver Dante Pettis.
Caught three passes for 37 yards on team drills. His best catch was a 17 yards down the middle. He ran a dig route and beat Richard Sherman. It’s clear the 49ers want Pettis to become a starter while Aiyuk and Samuel are out. And at least for today, Pettis stood up.
4. Running Back Raheem Mostert.
Rushed six times for 35 yards and scored a 19 yard touchdown against the first string defense. The race was between tackles. Mostert was patient in the backfield, made a cut and exploded through the defense. No one touched him. It’s amazing how NFL players consistently underestimate Mostert’s speed. He looks as good as last season.
5. Running Back JaMycal Hasty.
He dropped a perfectly thrown deep pass from CJ Beathard during team drills but redeemed himself with a 10-yard run that made the entire defense scream and scream from the sideline because Hasty threw a defender on the ground. He is the 49ers’ most elusive running back.
6. Fullback Josh Hokit.
Started at the back because Kyle Juszczyk missed his second workout with hamstring strain. And Hokit played well. Impressive for a rookie undrafted free agent to start at the back in training camp. He must be a smart guy.
7. Garde Colton McKivitz.
Defeat Kentavius Street, Kevin Givens, and Darrion Daniels whenever he faced them in one-on-one passing drills. McKivitz is so much better than veteran guard Tom Compton, it’s not even funny. McKivitz has yet to officially beat Compton to become the starter, however. It should just be a matter of time.
8. Defensive end Arik Armstead.
Arrested running back Jerick McKinnon for a two-yard loss, then sacked Jimmy Garoppolo during team drills. Armstead didn’t play much during camp – he missed week one with an irritated back. But he played well when he was on the pitch.
9. Defensive tackle Solomon Thomas.
Start winning more regularly in one-on-one. Today he even beat starting left guard Laken Tomlinson with a bull run. It was a first for Thomas. He’s more powerful than before, and he added effective internal countermovement. I think he will have a lot of playing time on third downs this season.
10. Defensive tackle Kevin Givens.
Lined up on the defensive end for a one-on-one and beat offensive backing tackle Justin Skule both times they met. Also beat McKivitz once for a sack in team drills. Besides Thomas played at camp, Givens played even better.
11. Defensive tackle Darrion Daniels.
Stopped running back Tevin Coleman for a three-yard loss. Every day it seems like Daniels plays at least one mind-blowing piece. He reminds me of a young DJ Jones.
12. Defensive end Kerry Hyder.
Arrested running back Raheem Mostert for a loss of one meter. Hyder isn’t much of a pass passer, but is clearly a valuable defender who will almost certainly be a part of this team and play a role in the defense until Ronald Blair returns from a ripped ACL.
13. Nickelback Jamar Taylor.
Interruption of a pass in the end zone intended for Kendrick Bourne. The offense was at the five-yard line. Bourne ran a slanted road, Taylor read it to the end and beat Bourne on the ball. Taylor appears to have resumed defense and offense from the 49ers over the past two weeks. Smart player.
14. Nickelback Jared Mayden.
An undrafted free agent rookie and currently the backup nickelback. Today Mayden stopped Jeff Wilson Jr. for a one-yard loss, then intercepted a pass from Nick Mullens which warned the hands of Jauan Jennings. Mayden is a playmaker who has been to Alabama and is in excellent shape. I expect him to eventually be one of the 49ers’ 53 players.
15. Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley.
Interrupted a pass from Garoppolo intended for Bourne, who was running at an angle. Moseley hasn’t given up on any big play at camp and remains one of the top two corners on the list. He has improved since last season.
16. Cornerback Jason Verrett.
Lined up in the slot and interrupted a pass intended for Jordan Reed in the last practice game. Reed ran on a bias and Verrett jumped out of the way. He may no longer have the speed to play effectively outside of a cornerback, but he seems effective as a nickelback.
THE NOT SO GOOD
1. Tight End George Kittle.
Missed second consecutive practice with hamstring strain. The 49ers say Kittle is uninjured, but the tension looks like an injury. Either way, he didn’t practice. I wonder if he’s going to practice on Sunday? I guess he won’t.
2. Centre Daniel Brunskill.
The ball slammed Garoppolo’s head, and the ball rolled through the end zone for safety. The 49ers need to be convinced that Ben Garland will be healthy and ready to play center in Week 1, as Brunskill is not ready.
3. Javon Kinlaw defensive tacle.
Impossible to beat Kofi Amicihia in a head to head. Both times lost to him they clashed. I’ve never even heard of Amichia, but good for him. Kinlaw will likely start every 49ers game this season, but I doubt he’ll play a lot of shots per game. I think about 20 to 30 shots on average. He probably won’t play much on the passes. There are so many top indoor pass rings on the list right now.
4. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Completed 18 of 29 attempted passes, didn’t throw any picks or make any bad decisions. It was all good. He was without a doubt the best quarterback on the field today. But he’s the highly paid franchise quarterback, so I hold him to a high standard. And I noticed that he had gone through the two long passes he had attempted. Both times he threw the ball as hard as he could, but didn’t throw it over a line – it was a pop fly. He flew over the wide receiver’s head and landed out of bounds both times. Garoppolo is still working to find the zip he had on his passes before ripping his ACL. The zip comes and goes.
5. Point Returner Dante Pettis.
Muffed the first kick he tried to catch. That’s why he doesn’t kick off for the 49ers. He can’t catch the ball consistently.
6. Récepteur large Jauan Jennings.
Drops a perfect pass from Mullens, then swings another pass from Mullens to defense for a pick. The second pass was behind Jennings, but he still put both hands on the ball and let it drop. Which means he dropped two assists this morning. The seventh-round rookie pick had some good times in camp, but overall struggled.
7. Strong security Jaquiski Tartt.
Made a great play in the red zone to break a pass to Jordan Reed, who ran a fairway. Tartt was on the man-to-man blanket, he followed Reed and broke the pass. Tartt is great at covering men. But the next play, the defense played area cover and Tartt was late to retrieve Reed, who caught a touchdown pass right in front of him. Tartt continues to snap a late tick from area coverage.
8. Cornerback Tim Harris Jr.
The defense cut off coverage, and Harris was left covering two players – Jordan Reed below and Tavon Austin in depth. Unfortunately for the defense, Harris chose to cover the receiver below and gave up a deep, wide open touchdown in Austin. Next time, Harris should probably cover the wide receiver and concede the short catch, not the long touchdown. Learning experience.
9. Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon.
Get in the perfect position to intercept a long pass destined for Austin, and let the ball fly between both hands. I didn’t even touch it. The long road traveled by Witherpsoon to regain his self-confidence continues.