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49ers camp observations: Kyle Shanahan gets angry with second-team offense


SANTA CLARA — Kyle Shanahan is one of the most chill people you’ll ever come across. He’s not a yeller or a screamer. He doesn’t act like a stereotypical hard-ass football coach.

That wasn’t the case at Day 9 of 49ers training camp on Monday.

In an 11-on-11 drill where the offense was backed up against the goal line, Shanahan gave instructions for a hard count. Unfortunately for the second-team offensive line, they kept false starting during the drill.

Shanahan threw his hands up in the air, signaling he’d had enough. The entire second-unit — offense and defense — were sent to the bench early. Shanahan had a few choice phrases for the players before. It’s unclear if it was rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard’s fault, or the offensive line.

“The offense was…struggling with the hard count today,” defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said hesitantly to laughs from reporters.

Repeated mistakes won’t be tolerated by Shanahan. He’s made it clear to reporters that he’s okay with blunders in practice, because it provides him with teachable moments. But duplicating gaffes in a short time span apparently can and will set off a fuse for Shanahan. It was the first time we’ve seen him visibly upset during camp.

-Two days after he was the top performer inside Levi’s Stadium, Matt Breida received a few first-team reps. Part of that is because Tim Hightower is day-to-day (knee). Part of it is because of Breida’s running style. He’s reminding me more and more of Alfred Morris, a vicious runner Shanahan rode for 2,900 yards in 2012-13 with the Redskins. Breida seeks out contact with linebackers and defensive backs and has the strength to run through arm tackles. Morris emerged out of nowhere in 2012

-Tank Carradine is still keeping Solomon Thomas out of the starting lineup. He’s run almost exclusively with the first-team and the big defensive end and appears to be closing in on a roster spot. The 27-year-old Carradine was seldomly used last year by Jim O’Neil, appearing in 13 games and registering 10 tackles. With that said, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said Thomas is coming along fine.

“Solomon’s starting to show up,” Saleh said. “Again, we’re going to have fresh bodies rotating in and out. If being a starter is important to a d-lineman, if they want that first play, we’ll talk about that. But in the end, we’re trying to get a good rotation going where they’re fresh and rolling, where at the end of the day it may look like they have equal reps. In my mind, they are both starters.

-Pierre Garcon has been consistently beating Rashard Robinson every day in practice. He’s probably won eight of the nine days thus far in camp. This is no slight to Garcon — one of the most under appreciated receivers in the league — but Robinson will face tougher tests week-in and week-out. I asked Shanahan the other day whether the 49ers have faith Robinson can play at a high-level for 16 weeks.

“I hope so,” the head coach said. “That’s what he’s trying to prove. There’s not many corners in this league no matter what year, that they have 16 great games. So, he’s got the ability to, that’s for sure. I mean, I don’t care how good of a corner you are, you’re going to get beat in this league, whatever position you are. To me it’s more how does he respond to that. Because, he’s got a lot of ability. I love being around the guy. Now it’s just about being consistent and trying to do it every single day, trying to stay healthy. When you do get beat, which will happen, how do you rebound from that.”

-George Kittle made a nice return to practice (hamstring) with a handful of catches. Vance McDonald and Logan Paulsen are both consistently seeing first-team reps at tight end.

-Dontae Johnson had a pick-six on Brian Hoyer. It came from a deflected pass by Arik Armstead, but still a solid play from the No. 2 cornerback.

-Ronald Blair has been running with the third-team, as has Will Redmond. Two Trent Baalke draft picks from 2016 are in danger of missing the roster.

-Malcolm Smith was still at the facility two days after tearing his pectoral muscle. Saleh says he will remain close with the team in meetings, even tutoring Reuben Foster. Surgery is expected soon.

-Stanford head coach David Shaw was in attendance at practice.

 

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