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Lance-Samuel deep connection highlights Day 3 of 49ers camp

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SANTA CLARA -- Rookie quarterback Trey Lance took a shot far down the field late in 49ers practice on Friday, as he targeted a wide receiver who wants to get deep more often this season.

The pass did not come out perfectly. It wobbled and hung in the air a little longer than Lance might have wanted.

And on the other end, 45 yards down the field, wide receiver Deebo Samuel was nowhere near as open as he was on a deep reception earlier this week in a 7-on-7 drill.

Still, Lance's pass arrived on target. And when safety Jared Mayden mistimed his leap and could not bat the ball away, it fell into Samuel’s hands.

That play highlighted what the 49ers hope to see a lot in the coming seasons: Lance showing off his ability to throw it deep, and Samuel making big plays down the field.

Samuel, known for his ability to take short passes for long distances, wants to be used more on deeper routes this season, he said.

“That was just something I worked on this offseason, running those deep routes and not just being a catch-and-run type of guy, getting separation in and out of breaks, and when the opportunities come, we’re going to take advantage of them,” he said.

Lance continues to show the eye-popping skills that prompted the 49ers to select him with the No. 3 overall pick. He is working exclusively on his passing game within the pocket. He has yet to show any signs of his running skills.

 

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Lance is focused on making plays within the offense, and he is already gaining an understanding of what is needed.

“When he doesn’t have a good throw he knows it as much as anyone,” Shanahan said. “I just like that he keeps firing it. Some are going to be good. Some are going to be bad. But the more you get reps, the more you have your feet under you, the more you know where you’re going, the more consistent that will be.”

Lance connected on five of nine attempts during 11-on-11 work. Richie James dropped one of his passes.

Presumptive starter Jimmy Garoppolo completed five of his 10 pass attempts, with a drop coming from running back Trey Sermon on the first pass of the day. 

In other happenings on the 49ers’ practice field from Day 3 of training camp:

—In the competition for the No. 3 quarterback job, Josh Rosen was one of four on pass attempts, while Nate Sudfeld had three attempts with no completions.

—Defensive end Nick Bosa and receiver Jalen Hurd had “maintenance days,” which consisted of no on-field work. Bosa and Hurd only participated in individual drills the first two days of practices as both are returning from ACL injuries in 2020.

—Defensive lineman Maurice Hurst is “day to day” with a slight ankle condition. Javon Kinlaw and Dee Ford took part in individual work but not in team work. Kinlaw (knee) and Ford (back) slowly are being worked back into the mix.

--Tight end MyCole Pruitt is expected to miss a period of time with a calf injury, Shanahan said.

—One of the top performers in practice on Friday was Marcell Harris, who spent most of his first three NFL seasons as a strong safety. He is making an impact at linebacker, where he is able use his physicality on blitzes and plays close to the line of scrimmage.

“We wouldn’t put him there if we didn’t believe he could do it,” Shanahan said. “We think he has a chance to be one of the linebackers who can make this team.”

Harris is a reliable special-teams performer, and the 49ers believe his best position could be linebacker. He broke up a pass when he dropped into coverage against slot receiver River Cracraft. 

—Carter Shanahan, Kyle’s son, is filling the role of ball boy, just as his dad did with the 49ers back in 1994.

Said Shanahan, “He needs to work on his hands . . .  That's his mom's genes."

“It was funny,” Shanahan added, “because I saw him trying to catch punts, and he wasn't within 20 yards of one. So I told him I'd give him $5 if he just touched one. The last one he ran through and touched it, and I think he almost broke his arm."

—Veteran receiver Mohamed Sanu continued his strong start to camp. He made a nice catch on a 20-yard pass from Garoppolo. He held onto the ball even after an inadvertent — yet big — hit from safety Jimmie Ward.

 

—Lance, who did not throw an interception in his only full college season, had a couple of his passes nearly picked off. Linebacker Jonas Griffith got both hands on a Lance pass but failed to come up with the interception. Azeez Al-Shaair broke up Lance’s throw for tight end Josh Pederson.

—Edge rusher Arden Key showed up as a pass-rusher. On one play, he beat rookie left tackle Jaylon Moore to hurry Lance into an incompletion.

—Defensive end Samson Ebukam had another good day as an edge rusher with at least two would-be sacks. He also is learning a lot while going up against left tackle Trent Williams.

“It’s so exhausting to rush against him every single play,” Ebukam said. “Win or loss, I’m always learning something from the film.”

RELATED: Verrett, 49ers defense headline Day 2 of training camp

—Cornerback Tim Harris Jr. broke up a Garoppolo pass intended for tight end George Kittle. Harris knocked Kittle to the ground in the process.

—Newly re-signed defensive end Anthony Zettel got his hands up to deflect a Nate Sudfeld pass at the line of scrimmage.

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