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Kittle looks like dominant self with pads on at 49ers camp

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George Kittle

SANTA CLARA -- The introduction of pads during practice represented the opening of 49ers training camp for tight end George Kittle.

"It’s very hard for me to be myself when I’m not in shoulder pads," Kittle said. "I’m a violent, physical person. If I don’t have shoulder pads on, I don’t feel like I can protect myself."

In the five days of non-padded work, Kittle did not see much action come his way.

He asserted himself with his physicality once the pads came on. On the first play Wednesday, he provided a block on defensive end Arden Key that allowed running back Raheem Mostert to get around the left edge.

Kittle entered the day with just four receptions in 11-on-11 work. He caught three passes and had another prevented when rookie safety Talanoa Hufanga interfered with him on a pass from rookie quarterback Trey Lance.

“I got punched in the face,” said Kittle, who emphatically called for the pass-interference call.

Kittle and Lance later hooked up on a 40-yard pass on a deep post. Kittle made the catch between linebacker Jonas Griffith and safeties Hufanga and Jared Mayden.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo connected with Kittle on an 8-yard touchdown pass during a red-zone session.

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Here are notes and observations from the 49ers’ seventh practice of camp:

— Lance’s incomplete pass on the would-be pass interference was the only time one of his passes hit the ground during 11-on-11 play. Lance completed his other seven pass attempts. Lance also ran three times.

 

— Garoppolo completed six of his 11 pass attempts. Nate Sudfeld was three-for-three, and Josh Rosen completed one of his three pass attempts.

— Defensive ends Nick Bosa and Samson Ebukam were held out of practice. Bosa received a “maintenance day,” while the 49ers rested Ebukam, who was battling some soreness.

--Second-year offensive lineman Colton McKivitz saw work with the first-team offense at right guard. Daniel Brunskill, who had been working with the first unit, moved to center with the second team. 

"So you always want to give guys opportunities," 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel said. "Today was his. We've been playing Tom Compton. We've been playing Dan Brunskill. We've been playing a lot of guys in there. At some point we'll put (Aaron) Banks in there and they'll all compete so that they have equal opportunity to earn that job."

— Receiver-turned-tight end Jordan Matthews caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Lance. He was clearly fired up after the reception, which was his first since converting to his new position and signing with the 49ers this week.

— Lance threw another touchdown on his final attempt of the day. He threw across the field on a 4-yard pass in the back of the end zone for receiver Nsimba Webster with veteran safety Tony Jefferson in coverage.

— The 49ers signed two veteran players: tight end Joshua Perkins and cornerback B.W. Webb. The club waived/injured cornerback Tim Harris Jr. and waived tight end Josh Pederson to create the roster space.

— Defensive lineman Arik Armstead had a strong practice as he blew up a run play in the opening series, then got around right tackle Mike McGlinchey to apply heat to the back side of Garoppolo.

— Cornerback Ken Webster again worked with the first-team defense. He broke up a Garoppolo pass intended for Deebo Samuel

— Safety Tavon Wilson, who is at first-team safety, nearly picked off Garoppolo’s pass intended for tight end Ross Dwelley.

— Lance found Dwelley for a long gain down the right sideline after Dwelley ran past Griffith.

— On a play that started at the 4-yard line, Garoppolo threw underneath to Trey Sermon. But linebacker Fred Warner had good coverage and stopped Sermon shy of the end zone.

— All 49ers coaches and staff members wore T-shirts that recognized general manager John Lynch’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend in Canton, Ohio.

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