After the 49ers’ lengthiest practice of training camp on Tuesday, the tone settled a bit on Wednesday. The pads came off and there were far fewer periods.
The likes of Nick Bosa and George Kittle took vet days, and there were no one-on-ones for the linemen, but the opportunities for pass-catchers remained.
Practice report: Brandon Aiyuk remains outrageous
It was a much abbreviated period of 11-on-11s. Trey Lance, by my count, was 4-of-9 with a pair of red zone touchdowns. One, to JaMycal Hasty, was questionable, in that Trent Williams lost track of Jordan Williams and allowed an unabated pressure that could have been a sack.
There were four deep balls that went incomplete. One was a deep overthrow towards Aiyuk when Lance had to throw the ball under pressure. He had another intentional throwaway to Aiyuk later, and had a missed connection with Deebo Samuel on the following play, when Samuel cut towards the sideline, while Lance expected him to turn upfield.
His best throw of the day, a would-be, 40-plus yard touchdown to Deebo Samuel, was an inch-perfect throw that Samuel just couldn’t hold onto under harassment from Emmanuel Moseley. Lance was also let down by an egregious drop from Elijah Mitchell on a routine ball over the middle.
But his first red zone touchdown came as a result of one of the many eye-catching plays from Aiyuk.
In 11-on-11, there were three catches from Aiyuk. All were nonsensically good. He had one where he just about Moss’d Ambry Thomas. The other two were touchdown catches in the red zone. The first came against Charvarius Ward, who covered Aiyuk well initially; but Aiyuk eventually cut out towards the pylon and received a great pass from Lance, diving and securing the grab.
Aiyuk’s last team reception was an Inspector Gadget-esque snag where he just rose up over Ka’Dar Hollman in the back of the end zone on a high throw from Nate Sudfeld and reeled it in with surprising ease.
He was cooking in one-on-ones, too. He got the better of Charvarius Ward twice, shimmying him on one route when he gave him a move like he’d cut towards the closer pylon, then drove over the middle. On his third rep, per notes, he “COOKED Jimmie Ward.”
Ward didn’t exactly deny that, calling the connection between Aiyuk and Lance “crazy right now,” before praising Aiyuk as the second-best player in camp.
“He’s had an outstanding camp,” Ward said Wednesday. “I feel like he’s having the best camp out of everybody on the team offense and defense… Okay, besides Bosa. But just saying, B.A.’s taken his game to another level. It’s crazy. I haven’t won a one-on-one rep with him yet. I want to say last year, it was a couple of reps that I won against him, but not this year. I’m gonna get him soon, though.”
Right now, Aiyuk is Lance’s favorite target, and for good reason. He’s made at least two or three ridiculous catches a day.
McGlinchey says he’s ‘100 percent’
After rehabbing from a quad tear, Mike McGlinchey has started to increase his involvement in training camp. While he expressed a little frustration about not being able to be more heavily included in drills due to training staff constraints, he acknowledged that’s in his best interest.
McGlinchey said he’s back to the playing weight he was at before the 2020 COVID-19 season. He was discernibly too light that season and perhaps too heavy last season while dealing with that quad injury.
He said he was around 295 pounds in that year, but may have been lighter. He was called “Big Slim” by Richard Sherman. The following year, he put on 15-20 pounds, weighing around 315-320 pounds.
He’s listed at 310 pounds by the 49ers, and might be a tick lower, especially by the end of a practice, but that 305-310 pound range is about where he wants to be.
“I feel really good. I feel 100 percent healthy,” McGlinchey said. “I feel like I’m moving around really well. I feel like I’m moving faster, more explosive, stronger, you know, all that stuff, all the cliches you want me to spit out. I feel good. I’m excited.”
The rehab process was a long one, with McGlinchey crediting his fiancé, Brooke, along with his family for being supportive and helpful throughout the process.
It’s the first time McGlinchey has had to rehab for longer than a year, and while there have been limitations as part of the ramp-up process, he’s looked solid and clearly improved the team’s offensive line when he’s been on the field.
Here’s a feel-good moment from 49ers practice today with McGlinchey:
The team hosts various charities and groups at practice each week, and the offensive linemen chose Best Buddies, Special Olympics Northern California and Football Camp for the Stars. McGlinchey’s brother, Jimmy, has autism, and he’s long been an outspoken advocate for neuroatypical people and those with intellectual disabilities.
“You can hear the energy out of them,” McGlinchey said. “We’re doing combinations with the tight ends and we’re standing right in front of them and the things that they shout at you, the fun that they’re having, it just means the world to you, gives you a little extra juice to play practice and we’re so excited to have those guys out today.”