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49ers Notebook: Garoppolo moves past 5-pick day, Ward not a lock to start, injury updates

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The 49ers finally practiced against a team other than themselves. In Englewood, Colorado, they lined up against the Vic Fangio-led Broncos a few days before the two teams face off in the 49ers’ second preseason game. There was something of a Jimmy Garoppolo bounce back from his 5-interception nightmare on Wednesday, some injury news and a safety competition and numbers game which could leave out a well-known face.

Garoppolo quickly moves past 5-interception day

A bad practice does not ensure a bad season. A good practice does not ensure a good season. It’s consistently recognizing when and why a practice is either or good or bad and putting in concentrated work on problem areas which push the needle in a positive direction. Jimmy Garoppolo knows he played poorly on Wednesday and he also knows how to move on.

“That day I was pretty ticked off… the defense got the best of me,” Garoppolo said. “It was just five bad decisions. The defense got me… you can’t dwell on those things.”

There’s a necessity to move on, especially as a franchise quarterback, even when that quarterback becomes the butt of the defense’s jokes.

“It goes back and forth,” Garoppolo said. “If they weren’t giving me crap about it, I’d be concerned.”

Garoppolo improved from that Wednesday nightmare, but still made bad mistake on another interception, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic, finishing 9-for-14 with that pick. It’s been somewhat of an open secret, however, that Garoppolo is a quarterback who turns it on during the game, and there’s always the school of thought that making bad mistakes at this point in camp is useful in preventing them in the future. Monday’s game will likely tell more about Garoppolo than any practice has.

The safety competition

Jimmie Ward’s not just going to get his starting free safety job back by being healthy. In his absence, Tarvarius Moore, returned to where he played in college, has excelled, going from an early evaluation from defensive coordinator Robert Saleh (who puts a notorious damper on praising any early rookie standouts) which put him “by no means even close” to being an NFL-ready safety on July 30, to probably being in the lead for the starting free safety job at this point in camp. He picked off Garoppolo twice on Wednesday, and has looked consistently involved and capable in coverage.

He made yet another interception on Friday. Richard Sherman credited Moore for his improvement, saying that it’s clear he’s improved at his more natural safety spot.

“He’s been making plays since he moved back [to safety] in OTAs,” Sherman said.

As Saleh said, Ward won’t just take his job back unless he proves he’s deserving of it.

The other safety spot is also up for grabs; or rather, the other, other safety spot. Who will back up Jaquiski Tartt? Really, it’s between Adrian Colbert and Marcell Harris. At this point in the offseason, Harris has looked better. He had yet another pass breakup on Friday, according to Jennifer Lee Chan, and is much more natural in coverage than Colbert.

While Colbert excels inside the box, his coverage struggles are hard to stomach, and he’s effectively a coverage linebacker (not a positional shift that has been discussed, especially at his 205-pound frame, but at this point, fits more to his skillset of attacking the ball on runs and short pass plays). With only four safeties likely to make the roster, Colbert, at this point in time, could be the odd man out.

Injury news and an acquisition

In: Cornerback Quenten Rollins was signed by the 49ers on Friday

Out: The move for Rollins was made due to an injury to cornerback Greg Mabin, who was having a solid camp, and looked likely to snag a roster spot as a flexible backup corner (probably fourth in the traditional corner spot, second or third at nickel corner with D.J. Reed backing up K’Waun Williams there). He suffered a calf injury about halfway through 11-on-11s on Wednesday and was visibly frustrated when he came out. There’s a good chance the 49ers put him on the injured reserve.

According to Barrows, Mike Person was also seen in a walking boot on his left foot, making the chance of an appearance in the Denver preseason game all but ruled out. There’s no word as of yet on his status, but with Joshua Garnett still out recovering from finger surgery, Najee Toran is the backup there (and listed left guard backup for Laken Tomlinson).

Also out are the same short-term injury group out on WednesdayLevine Toilolo (with shoulder soreness, unlikely to play in Denver), George Kittle (with calf tightness, day-to-day), D.J. Jones with a knee sprain (one-to-two weeks), Jullian Taylor (stiff back).

There has been no word on Dre Greenlaw, who picked up a “stinger” and was in a blue non-contact jersey on Wednesday.

 

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