49ers training camp recap: Turnovers define Day 9

NFL: San Franciso 49ers-Minicamp Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Our daily breakdown of the 49ers’ 2019 training camp.

The San Francisco 49ers returned from their Monday off for Day 9 of training camp. The team is now two full practices and a walk-thru away from Saturday’s preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium. Tuesday’s theme was turnovers, come of which were given by the offense and forced by the defense.

Garoppolo threw his first interception of training camp - with an asterisk. During a move-the-ball period, Garoppolo rolled to his left and saw receiver Kendrick Bourne streaking across the middle of the field. The 49ers quarterback targeted Bourne as he neared the left sideline with a perfectly placed pass. Instead of a significant gain, the ball bounced off Bourne’s hands, into the air, and into the waiting arms of cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon. Garoppolo wasn't to blame for his first turnover.

The franchise completed eight passes on 11 attempts Tuesday in what was a solid day for Garoppolo. He had a pair of plays in which he showcased renewed confidence in his knee, dodging pressure along the edge and around the arc to step up and make throws downfield. Garoppolo rolled out on a few different plays and looked comfortable doing so.

Garoppolo’s interception wasn’t the offense’s only giveaway of the afternoon. On another play during team drills, quarterback CJ Beathard targeted Dante Pettis over the middle. The 49ers receiver reeled in the pass, tucked the ball into his frame and began to dart upfield. Just as he turned, cornerback Greg Mabin, who was covering Pettis, gained ground and ripped the ball out of Pettis’ hands. It was a forgettable play for Pettis, who’s shown he struggles with physicality at times. A similar play happened a year ago during Pettis’ rookie camp.

During the 1-on-1 portion of practice, the receivers competed against the defensive backs in the red zone, ranging from 5-10 yards away from the goal line. Richard Sherman dominated. He was matched up against receiver Jalen Hurd twice, both times sticking to the rookie and nonchalantly swatting the pass away. He did the same later in the session against Shawn Poindexter. Another standout was wideout Deebo Samuel, who shook cornerback Dontae Johnson out his shoes on a slant. Samuel also caught a touchdown over cornerback Jason Verrett in the corner of the endzone.

Notes

  • Running back Jerick McKinnon returned to practice for the first time in nearly a year on Tuesday. McKinnon tore his ACL last September in one of the final reps of training camp before the start of the regular season. The 49ers running back participated in individual drills only and will be steadily eased back to full participation. He said after practice that he no longer needs a knee brace and doesn’t plan on wearing one during the season.
  • Despite the drop, Shanahan was very complimentary of Bourne after practice. The 49ers’ head coach seemed impressed with the third-year wideout’s work ethic so far this training camp. Shanahan said Bourne stayed in California during the offseason and that his development was obvious. Bourne’s nine practices as a whole have been impressive.
  • Witherspoon also returned to practice today after missing some time with a glute injury. He’s competing with cornerback Jason Verrett for the starting spot opposite Sherman. Witherspoon’s had a solid camp so far and seemed comfortable in his return. He won most of his 1-on-1s including reps against Marquise Goodwin and Trent Taylor. Witherspoon also had a pick during team drills, capitalizing off Bourne’s drop.
  • Nick Bosa didn’t quite have the splash on Tuesday that we were used to, but he did author some solid displays of strength against the run. On two stretch plays, Bosa was able to fight off the offensive lineman while following the running back to the edge at an angle that forced the play out of bounds for little gain. Bosa’s well-roundedness against both the run and pass will be an asset for the 49ers defense this season.
  • Rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw won “Hit of the Day” when he darted across the field to meet fullback Kyle Jusczcyk along the right sideline after catching a pass from Garoppolo. Greenlaw didn’t ease up, colliding with the 49ers fullback at the first-down marker and sending him flying off the field and into the grass. The rookie linebacker was quick to check on Juszczyk after the play.
  • Players that didn’t participate: CB K’Waun Williams (knee), LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring), DL Jamell Garcia-Williams (concussion), DL Dee Ford (knee), G Josh Garnett (finger), Jeff Wilson (calf), G Mike Person (vet day)
  • The 49ers return for their 10th practice of training camp on Wednesday, beginning at 10:15 am PST.