SANTA CLARA — Here’s who stood out on Day 1 of 49ers training camp. Keep in mind, practice ended after just 75 minutes and the players did not wear pads. The first padded practice will be Friday.
1. Quarterback Trey Lance.
Completed 9 of 11 pass attempts. Of his two incomplete passes, one went to a wide receiver who slipped when the ball was in the air. Which means Lance was just about as efficient as could be. Impressive considering he had five new starters on the offensive line (more on that below) and no Deebo Samuel (more on him below as well). Lance couldn’t find anyone open outside or deep, so he took the safe, short throws. Jimmy Garoppolo probably would have forced the ball to a covered receiver and gotten intercepted, but he didn’t practice.
2. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld.
Completed 11 of 11 pass attempts. Took what the defense gave him and didn’t force any passes into coverage. At times, Sudfeld was a bit too quick to check down, as he failed to see a wide open Danny Grey deep. But Sudfeld also completed the longest pass of the day — a 50-yarder to Malik Turner, who beat Ambry Thomas because Thomas mistimed his jump (more on him below).
3. The starting cornerbacks.
Emmanuel Moseley got targeted twice and broke up both passes, and Charvarius Ward never got targeted. Those two absolutely shut down Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings and Ray-Ray McCloud.
4. Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair.
Practiced despite coming off a serious injury. Appeared to injure his rib early in practice — he fell to the ground in visible pain, but he returned to the field and finished the session. Tough guy.
5. Guard Spencer Burford.
The rookie fourth-round pick who just turned 22 was the starting right guard all morning. The 49ers must have seen something from him during OTAs and minicamp that they liked, because incumbent starting right guard Daniel Brunskill was the backup center today behind Jake Brendel.
6. Running back Ty Davis-Price.
Had the longest run of the day — an outside run to the left. Price exploded through the line and burst past a couple defenders who stuck their arms out, and you could hear Davis-Price’s body violently thwack their arms. He will be tough to tackle.
7. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.
Caught a team-high four passes. Three of his catches came while playing with the second-team offense. His only catch with the starters was a five-yard gain. He could not get open when facing Moseley or Ward, but he repeatedly beat Thomas.
8. Tight end Jordan Matthews.
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Had on of the longest catches of the day, when he took a short slant route and ran through the defense for a 40-yard gain. Matthews has been trying to evolve from a wide receiver to a tight end for years. If he ever is going to make this team as a tight end, this will be the year.
9. Defensive end Drake Jackson.
The 49ers’ second-round pick looks noticeably slimmer after showing up to minicamp and OTAs looking rather pudgy.
10. Quarterback coaches Brian Griese and Klay Kubiak.
They led the quarterbacks through a pragmatic warmup that included common-sense drills that mimic actual game situations, such as pocket movement versus pressure. Last year, quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello made the quarterbacks shuffle around in circles for 10 seconds before throwing long passes across the field that surely would get intercepted in real games. This year, Griese and Kubiak make the quarterbacks shuffle once or twice quickly before throwing safe checkdown passes. What a concept!
11. Assistant head coach Anthony Lynn.
Spent most of practice standing next to Kyle Shanahan and having a conversation with him. In the past, Shanahan would stand next to Robert Saleh during practice. Now, Lynn is Shanahan’s sounding board, which is fitting because Lynn is a former head coach with fresh eyes and his own perspective.
THE NOT SO GOOD
1. Cornerback Ambry Thomas.
Played right cornerback with the second-team defense and got torched by everyone he faced. Gave up a 50-yard catch to Malik Turner, who probably won’t make the team. Also gave up multiple catches to Aiyuk. Thank goodness the 49ers signed Charvarius Ward and still have Javon Verrett, because Thomas is a liability.
2. The starting offensive line.
None of the five starters from last season were on the field with the first-team offense today. Trent Williams had the day off for personal reasons, and Mike McGlinchey is still working back from leg surgery (more on him below). Which means from left to right, the starting offensive line was Colton McKivitz, Aaron Banks, Jake Brendel, Spencer Burford and Jaylon Moore. It remains to be seen if any of those five truly are starting-caliber players.
3. Offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey.
Looks skinny after a long offseason rehabbing from leg surgery. He looks like he looked in 2020 when he got ran over repeatedly by any defensive end who was remotely powerful. Perhaps McGlinchey will add weight and strength between now and the start of the season. The clock is ticking.
4. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel.
Did not practice because the 49ers still haven’t extended his contract, so he jogged on a side field and watched everyone else, which means he missed a valuable day to build chemistry with the new quarterback. I blame the 49ers.
5. Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw.
Warmed up with the defensive linemen but did not participate in 11-on-11 team drills.
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