© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
SANTA CLARA — Another training camp practice, another Marquise Goodwin clinic.
During Monday morning’s training camp session, Goodwin and Jimmy Garoppolo bookended 11-on-11 drills with a couple of gorgeous completions. In each of Goodwin’s receptions throughout practice, he showed signs of the well-rounded receiver he has blossomed into.
On his first grab, Goodwin got a step on cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, and Garoppolo lobbed a 25-yard rainbow over Witherspoon into Goodwin’s bread basket before Adrian Colbert could help over the top. A few plays later, Goodwin ran an out route and Garoppolo hit him on his break for a short gain. The exclamation point, which capped Monday’s practice, came about 30 minutes later. Goodwin used his Olympic speed to separate from Witherspoon, and Garoppolo dropped him a 40-yard pass in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown. For the second time in the past five practices, Witherspoon was beat for a long touchdown — the other courtesy of rookie Dante Pettis— to end the session.
Goodwin has been superb throughout this training camp, parlaying a career-best 2017 season into 2018. He signed a three-year extension back in March. He has noticeably matured as a receiver, using his speed in more situations than straight lines. The addition of short-to-intermediate routes figures to open up the deep ones.
Goodwin’s camp started fittingly when he dusted Richard Sherman in their first rep of one-on-ones, providing the clip that spread throughout Twitter like wildfire. What was perhaps more impressive than the actual play was Goodwin’s explanation, in which he outsmarted one of the most cerebral cornerbacks in recent memory to gain separation on the route.
“(Sherman) knows my weaknesses and strengths,” Goodwin told NFL Network last Tuesday. “The triple-up is like my counter move because I am usually a double-up guy. I gave him a left-right-left instead of a left-right, and it gave me a little more cushion so I can run by.”
Rookie of the day
Change is nothing new to rookie defensive back D.J. Reed, who walked onto Fresno State, transferred to Cerritos Community College, and eventually landed at Kansas State prior to his professional career. He blossomed into one of the top return men and cornerbacks in college football last season, earning second-team All-American and first-team All-Big 12 honors. His 14.9 yards-per-punt-return ranked second in the nation — trailing only Pettis.
The 49ers drafted Reed in the fifth round with the idea to switch him to a free safety-nickelback hybrid. He entered camp as the backup at both spots. But starting nickelback K’Waun Williams rolled his ankle Sunday, sidelining him for the rest of the week, and Reed has taken advantage of the opportunity to run with the first-team.
“We are asking a lot for him as a rookie, learning free safety and nickel,” defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said after practice. “He has taken this opportunity and absolutely run with it.”
During OTAs, the 49ers split Reed’s reps at nickel and free safety at about 50-50. He has recently shifted to the nickel slot more, where he has been sticky in coverage during both individual and team drills.
Here's rookie DJ Reed vs Trent Taylor. Reed, the team's backup free safety, has been taking first-team reps at nickel after K'Waun Williams injured his ankle yesterday pic.twitter.com/giPnPwmrsh
— Brad Almquist (@bradalmquist13) August 6, 2018
Saleh said the nickel-free safety combination is relatively common. But for a rookie converted-cornerback fighting to make the 53-man roster, Reed has a unique opportunity — and made the most of it so far.
“What’s great about DJ, it goes back to his mindset,” Saleh said. “He is relentless on the football field. There are no plays off. He is always thinking, always learning. He doesn’t make the same mistake twice. And he’s got a lot of stuff to learn.”
(Unsung) play of the day
For a few seconds, rookie receiver Steven Dunbar had embarrassed defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu on a slant route that left him stumbling backwards. Dunbar caught the pass and turned upfield. But Attaochu regained his footing, chased down Dunbar, and popped the ball loose before a teammate recovered. Attaochu’s effort was met with love from the defensive coaches.
Gary Pettis, proud father
Pettis’ father, Gary, played 11 MLB seasons, was a five-time Gold Glove center fielder, and is currently the Houston Astros third-base coach. The Astros are in town for a two-game series with the Giants. Gary used Monday morning to watch the 49ers practice.
Wearing an orange shirt and a 49ers hat, Gary reflected on his experiences watching both Dante and his oldest son, Kyler, who is a television actor, live out their dreams.
“People will always say, well my dream was to play major league baseball, which I did,” Gary said during practice. “I feel like I am living a dream now, and it’s way better than the one I had. Watching your kids become an actor, one about to play in the NFL, man, it’s so cool because it’s something I never thought I would do. I never thought about playing in the NFL. I never thought about being an actor. It was always baseball for me. So, to see the different personalities and the paths they have taken, it’s really special.”
Five injured 49ers players will sit this week and progress back next week. They include Williams, whose injury is not believed to be a high ankle sprain, Sherman (hamstring), guard Joshua Garnett (knee), guard JP Flynn (knee), and linebacker Brock Coyle (hip).
Coyle dressed in full pads and did some individual work off to the side Monday. Sherman was spotted in the weight room and later spectated 11-on-11 drills. Sherman won’t play in Thursday’s preseason opener, but his injury is not considered serious.
“Sherm has great conviction that he’ll be back sooner than later,” Saleh said. “I’ve always stood by it. When Sherm says something, it’s going to happen. He feels pretty good about being back within the next week, week and a half or whatever it is. It’s not anything major.”
Arik Armstead is on a week-to-week basis with his hamstring issue. Linebacker Mark Nzeocha is day-to-day. Rookie linebacker Warner (chest) and tight end Cole Wick were limited.
Receiver Trent Taylor and defensive back Jimmie Ward each participated in 11-on-11 drills.
The 49ers practice at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday before using Wednesday as a walkthrough day. They host the Dallas Cowboys in their preseason opener Thursday night.