The San Francisco 49ers just finished up their Training Camp practice for Monday and there was a lot to take in. A lot of good, a lot of bad, and a little bit of both. Here are some of the things that stuck out to me during today’s practice.
Punt Return Work
One of the more surprising things to me was seeing WR Trent Taylor back with rookie DB DJ Reed and Victor Bolden Jr. fielding punt returns.
Taylor took (by my count) one punt return to DJ Reed and Victor Boldens three. To me It felt like a continuation of getting Taylor back into the groove of things. Reed and Bolden were especially dynamic during punt returns but it was a short segment of practice. Things look to be trending up for an already good special teams unit.
Pass Rush Improvements
One of the major things that stood out was the defensive linemen getting into the backfield. It didn’t seem to matter what the offensive line makeup was or whether there was tight end or running back help, there was always someone rushing the passer and consistently getting to them. DEs Cassius Marsh and Jeremiah Attaochu were consistently wreaking havoc on the outsides with the pocket consistently closing in faster than they’d want, and DeForest Buckner now taking reps as an EDGE defender only adds to the chaos.
The WR group that the Niners have put together is very talented. There isn’t one guy on the roster who didn’t have a good day. While it was still a battle between a talented WR Corps and CB Corps, it was very fun to see and you can see the talent that they have. Richie James, Trent Taylor and Steven Dunbar had great days. As discussed earlier, Marquise Goodwin caught the highlight reel play pos the day with a 40-yard touchdown catch over CB Ahkello Witherpoon.
With Richard Sherman currently rehabbing his Grade 1 hamstring strain, it’s making it easier to evaluate the CB Depth behind him. DJ Reed took his dynamic punt return skills and continued to show his abilities in coverage, coming up with a couple great plays. Tarvarius Moore also looked great with a couple passes broken up. (“Missed opportunities” to the CB group and Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh).
Another nice thing that stood out was seeing the players be accountable for their actions or inactions. During secondary drills, if a player had an interception and couldn’t bring it down, they went down for pushups. It’s a great way of instilling personal accountability and reinforcing good habits.
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