SANTA CLARA -- After seven nearly mistake-free practices, Trey Lance finally looked a little more human at practice No. 8 on Friday.
The rookie quarterback finished the day completing eight of his 13 attempts, but ended the day 0-5 in the final series of move-the-ball team drills. Lance also had issues with involving handoffs at the mesh point with running back Wayne Gallman, causing two fumbles.
It wasn’t all bad though. Lance’s fist attempt of the day was a 45-yard pass to Travis Benjamin, who was double covered by Jaren Mayden and Dontae Johnson. Several members of the offense cheered, as did the fans in attendance.
Through the good and the not-so-good, Shanahan is still pleased with the North Dakota State product has progressed since his arrival in Santa Clara.
“I think he's playing how he hoped he would,” Shanahan said. “You never know, so you don't try to put a lot on guys. Just want to see what happens and put the offense in and see how he handles it. And he's been handling a well. So getting better each day.”
Lance’s eight completions were to Benjamin, George Kittle, Elijah Mitchell, Jauan Jennings, Trent Sherfield, Josh Hokit and Gallman II (2).
Jimmy Garoppolo had a similar day, completing seven of his 12 attempts to Kyle Juszczyk, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk (2), and Kittle (3). The veteran quarterback’s move-the-ball series was more productive than the rookie’s, recording two first downs.
Here are notes and observations from the 49ers’ eighth practice of camp:
- Trey Sermon continues to get a heavy workload while the team is careful to keep Raheem Mostert fresh. The rookie running back caught both of his targets in 1-on-1s, getting a decent amount of separation from the linebackers covering him.
“I think he's done a hell of a job,” Shanahan said of Sermon. “He didn't do a ton of it in college. But just out here, I mean, we work on that with everybody, regardless of if they're one of the better guys or not at it. I feel like his hands have been good. I think his feet are good. I think he has the ability to get better at routes the more and more he does it.” - Dee Ford seemed to get the most reps he has seen in team drills since being sidelined by a lingering back injury in Week 1 of 2020. While he shared he is feeling better the Pro Bowl pass rusher says he will have turned the corner when he starts getting sacks.
- Ford has been facing off with Mike McGlinchey during team drills and has noticed the tackle’s added size presenting a challenge when making contact.
“Mike has always been great,” Ford said. “I always have to bring my A-game against Mike. The added strength is definitely going to help him and it’s going to make me work more to get my pad level down because he can anchor up more now.”
- With Samson Ebukam not participating in team drills and Nick Bosa still working his way back, the defensive line still got a good amount of pressure on the quarterbacks. Kevin Givens, Jordan Willis and Arden Key all got into the backfield during team drills.
- Nate Sudfeld threw all of the passes for 1-on-1 reps. Along with Sermon being a stand out, rookie running back Elijah Mitchell caught both of his targets, getting out into space away from safety Marcell Harris.
- Sudfeld completed all of his three attempts in team drills including one to Jalen Hurd. It was the first reception for the receiver during team drills since 2019.
- The team activated Jennings, Emmanuel Moseley and Jaquiski Tartt off of the COVID-19/reserve list. Tartt was consequently placed on the active PUP list for the toe injury he sustained in 2020.
- Jennings immediately got involved in 11-on-11s catching a pass from Lance on the left sideline. On the first pass play of team drills Emmanuel Moseley broke up a pass from Garoppolo that was intended for Deebo Samuel.
- Kittle and Tavon Austin won the award for most contact in 1-on-1 drills. Kittle wasn’t able to haul in that pass but later made Kittle made an incredibly difficult reception on a pass from Lance that was thrown well behind him. Linebacker Jonas Griffith was covering.
-Talanoa Hufanga showed he could also get into the backfield on a safety blitz during move-the-ball drills when Lance was under center.
The 49ers will hold practice inside Levi's Stadium on Saturday with a much larger crowd of fans as part of the Dwight Clark Day celebration.