The San Francisco 49ers ended their final practice before their preseason opener against The Dallas Cowboys. As a normal practice before a game during the regular season, it was a more relaxed atmosphere. Even with the relaxed atmosphere though, there was still a lot to take in. Here are some of the major themes that stuck out.
Nearly any time there was a pass play during team drills, there was a defender in QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s face. While it may be carved out of marble, that won’t help keep Jimmy upright and set to throw passes. The offensive line as a whole needs to continue working on comunication and chemistry, something that unfortunately won’t come around until the interior line, and the right guard position especially is set.
The group of Cassius Marsh, Jeremy Attaochu and now DeForest Buckner rushing from the edge and Solomon Thomas rushing from the inside may prove to be a lethal combination. While Buckner’s natural skills make him a great rusher from inside, the sheer talent and athleticism he has makes him good enough that, once he learns the nuances of rushing from the outside, could instantly make him the top EDGE rusher on the team. While it would be unfortunate to lose him rushing from the inside, getting him and Thomas on the field together, no matter how it’s done, is a great idea.
2018 2nd Round Draft Pick WR Dante Pettis has had a stellar camp so far. He had Garoppolo are developing a great rapport and chemistry with each other and he is a catch magnet. He’s flashed enough on the field that they seem to be transitioning him away from punt returns and focusing solely on receiving and offense work.
That being said, today was a slightly down day for him. It wasn’t bad by any means. No WR for the Niners have really had bad days, but he went from catching everything and anything thrown his way to dropping a couple of passes in tight coverage. It isn’t anything to worry about. Head Coach Kyle Shanahan alluded to that in the press conference following practice.
The defense was all over the place today, and has been for quite some time. There is a fire and determination we haven’t quite seen from the defense in a long time. They are hungry for the ball, resulting in numerous almost-interceptions. While it is tough to see the offense struggle at times, ultimately this is good news. It means the defense is doing the work they need to to improve and will also for me the offense to work through the struggles and improve.
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