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49ers Practice Report: Lance gets a real run with the starters


In the 49ers’ second and final practice with the Los Angeles Chargers, Kyle Shanahan gave everyone what they’d been waiting for: a full run of Trey Lance with the starters. But with Sunday’s game looming, practice was an abbreviated one.

Neither quarterback started off well, but Raheem Mostert did, ripping off a roughly 70-yard touchdown run on the first play of 11-on-11s.

Jimmy Garoppolo opened his docket with a nice completion on the right sideline to George Kittle before missing Deebo Samuel, and then being let down by Travis Benjamin, who discernibly feared for his life and dropped a pass over the middle with a safety closing in on him. It would have been a crunching hit in the air in a game situation, and the throw put Benjamin in a bad spot. Garoppolo ended that first period with a potential sack, and at least a tight pressure, on a badly overthrown pass over the head of Jauan Jennings.

He only had one other period in 11-on-11s, with the normal two-minute period to conclude practice being called off. In Garoppolo’s last set, which became a red zone situation, he opened with an easy completion to Brandon Aiyuk, who broke off from Asante Samuel Jr. Aiyuk’s ability to separate has taken a fairly stunning leap from last camp to this one. Garoppolo’s next completion was over the middle to Kittle, and short of the end zone.

His last throw was the most damning.

Garoppolo tried to find Kittle again, but locked in on him, threw it well behind him, and without sufficient pace to give Kittle a chance on it. It was a definite pick-six, and in a game situation, would go down as a 97-yard interception return. It’s a great play by James, but the best part of it is mostly the pre-throw coverage; once the ball came out, just about any player in that position should and would have made a play on the ball. If not an interception, it’s at least a near-interception and pass breakup every time. He finished 3-of-7 with that pick-six.

Lance’s day didn’t start well, either. He handled a low snap, but missed Deebo Samuel badly on a short throw sailed over the receiver’s head. Then, just like Garoppolo was, Lance was let down by a drop, too; this time from Mohamed Sanu. There’s an argument to be made that it was underthrown, but it was a deep ball down the left sideline and Lance gave Sanu a clear opportunity to make a back shoulder grab, and Sanu probably saw it long enough to adjust. Lance finished the set with yet another ball well over the head of Deebo Samuel, and it was nearly intercepted by the deep safety, Ben DeLuca.

But then Lance came back out with the starters and looked much more comfortable. He opened with a little shovel/pop pass to a sweeping Deebo Samuel for his first “completion” (those shouldn’t really count as passes, but they do).

He then kept a zone read after handing off to Mostert, but then took a coverage sack. He came back with beautiful quarterback draw, which went for at least 20 yards (shown down below), and had touchdown potential if he shook off a defender (there’s obviously no opportunity to do that with no contact on quarterbacks in practice).

After a JaMycal Hasty run, Lance finished the set with a pair of reliable completions to Samuel and Sanu. It was a move-the-ball period which was ended before Lance got the chance to finish it; that was a ibt disappointing, considering the first team was entering the red zone with the Sanu catch.

His final period was in the red zone; an opening incompletion was negated by a defensive penalty. He had nothing open on his next attempt, with Trent Sherfield, his target, covered well by DeLuca. Lance capped off the day with an easy touchdown pass to Hasty, finishing 4-for-8 with a touchdown (including the Samuel pass, so really 3-for-7, same as Garoppolo, but without the interception), one sack and one near interception.

Hasty, by the way, is an absolute joy to watch. Even when he’s unable to do too much with a run, he is as aggressive a runner as you’ll ever see. His jump cuts are masterful and he has a habit of spinning off tackles while retaining momentum. After practice, Kittle expressed his appreciation for Hasty:

“I love Hasty. He gives me a Jeff Wilson vibe,” Kittle said. “He goes kind of into a dark place, and he just runs and runs and he’s violent. He’s explosive. He just has this awesome — I mean his cuts that you guys see, he just jukes people out, but he still has this nice forward lean to him where he’s just always running through contact.

He’s not the biggest guy and he looks like, he’s gonna get blown up by a linebacker, but how he just dodges the big hit and bounces off of stuff, I love that and he’s relentless too. He’s a guy that, he’ll take 10 reps in a row, does not care.

‘Hey, just run 16 power and I’ll run it, I’ll get hit and get right back up and I’ll run it again.’

And I love being around guys like that, that just bring the violence and the energy every single play.”

The 49ers were able to sort of hide Hasty last year in camp due to the shortened preseason, and Kyle Shanahan said he was mildly annoyed with reporters for accurately describing how well he played, because the team was desperate to keep him on the practice squad. They succeeded last year, but that may be a tad bit more difficult to do this year; it’s not out of the question to get Hasty on the practice squad given his issues with fumbling the ball, but he seems to only put up good tape.

Someone who did not put up good tape today? Talanoa Hufanga. Hufanga has impressed so far, but was beaten multiple times in the red zone. Some of that was in 7-on-7s, which should always be taken with a many grains of salt, but he also allowed two red zone touchdowns in 11-on-11s.

The first was from Justin Herbert to Keenan Allen, who shook his head afterwards to let the rookie know he was out of his depth on that matchup, and then again from Herbert to wide-open third-string tight end Stephen Anderson.

Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said he wasn’t satisfied with the secondary’s communication in that red zone period.

“Probably some communication breakdowns that happened in the red zone where we saw a lot of completions,” Ryans said on those touchdowns. “Our guys weren’t communicating as much as I would have liked them to and I’m kind of disappointed from that period.”

Again, the Chargers’ training camp setup makes it very difficult to keep track of offense and defense at the same time, so that’s the only note on the defense from Friday’s practice.

At the end of practice, quarterbacks from both teams threw deep balls towards lofted basket nets for some friendly competition, and Trey Lance rendezvoused with former North Dakota State alum, and a guy he worked with consistently over the offseason, Easton Stick, one of the Chargers’ two backup quarterbacks.

Oh, and Drew Brees and LaDainian Tomlinson were at practice, too. Brees chatted with some of the quarterbacks at its conclusion. Mark Sanchez was there on Thursday.

As for the injuries and practice absences, all the folks who missed out on Thursday were out on Friday. That was Jalen Hurd (knee tendinitis), Shon Coleman (knee soreness), Trent Williams (knee swelling), Elijah Mitchell (adductor), Emmanuel Moseley (hamstring tweak). The new absences were Alex Barrett (unknown), Tavon Wilson (vet day) and Azeez Al-Shaair (sprained elbow). Trey Sermon, who had a stinger he was dealing with in the first preseason game, and took a fairly hard shot on Thursday and winced, was limited to individual drills, just as Nick Bosa still is.

Clip roundup:

Reporters were allowed to film some 7-on-7s today, and some folks in the stands caught some of the better 11-on-11s moments. Here are some of the better clips from the day.

Here’s the horrid Garoppolo interception:

Here’s the well-executed Lance QB draw:

This is all from 7-on-7s:

 

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