49ers camp report: Competitive practices lead to skirmish with Broncos

49ers camp report: Competitive practices lead to skirmish with Broncos

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – The 49ers and Broncos entered their two practices with the mindset that both teams were expected to treat the other as being all part of one team.

The only heated segment of the two days occurred Saturday between the 49ers’ defense and the Broncos' offense.

“It was just two competitive teams going after it,” 49ers safety Tarvarius Moore said.

Denver wide receiver Brendan Langley and tight end Bug Howard were kicked off the field for throwing punches during a brief skirmish involving 49ers safety Marcell Harris.

“I was told none of our guys threw punches, so when I see the tape we’ll see if they were telling the truth,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said.

The 49ers’ defense appeared particularly fired up for the two practices, as they set the tone in the first practice session with a dominating performance. The Broncos’ offense made it more of an equal matchup Saturday.

“It all starts with the D-line and the linebackers,” Moore said. “We feed off them on the back end, so when they’re revved up and playing good, and coming out ready to go, first play, we all feed on the defense. It’s a trickle-down effect.”

Gould for the win

Practice concluded with two end-of-game situations. The 49ers were down by one point. (Denver coach Vic Fangio called it 1-0, while Shanahan preferred 39-38.)

Jimmy Garoppolo hit Jordan Matthews on a pass play in traffic to set up Robbie Gould for a 55-yard field goal attempt. Fangio even called a timeout to try to ice Gould, whose brother, Chris, is the Broncos’ assistant special-teams coach.

Gould nailed the long field-goal attempt with plenty of room to spare to give the 49ers the “win.”

Offensive play of the day

Wide receiver Richie James had a good couple days in the practices against the Broncos. He supplied the big play of the day when Garoppolo found him on an option route for a 30-yard gain.

“I had a choice to keep it vertical or sit down on that route, and I saw the safety way too deep, so I pushed vertical at him, and I sat down and Jimmy threw it over the linebackers,” James said. “It was a dime.”

Defensive plays of the day

The 49ers went without any interceptions on the day, but Harris made a good play down the field when he ripped the ball loose from Howard on a Joe Flacco pass. Howard and Harris would later get in a scuffle, with Howard throwing a punch that got him kicked off the practice field.

Injury report

Running back Matt Breida returned to practice after leaving Friday’s drills after sustaining a shoulder injury during a one-on-one blitz pickup drill.

Guard Mike Person is listed as day-to-day with a left foot strain. Person sustained the injury during practice on Friday, and an X-ray came back negative. He is not expected to play Monday night.

Safety Antone Exum is day-to-day with a minor knee injury sustained in practice Friday.

Tight end George Kittle (calf) did not practice on either of the two days working with the Broncos. Shanahan said Kittle would be available to play if this were the regular season.

Running back Raheem Mostert was cleared off concussion protocol and returned to practice on Saturday.

Other 49ers to sit out practice were: Tight end Levine Toilolo (shoulder), guard Joshua Garnett (finger), wide receiver Trent Taylor (foot), defensive linemen Nick Bosa (ankle), Dee Ford (knee), Ronald Blair (groin), Jullian Taylor (back), D.J. Jones (knee), linebacker Elijah Lee (thumb), cornerbacks Jason Verrett (ankle) and K’Waun Williams (knee) and free safety Jimmie Ward (collarbone).

[RELATED: Why Lynch is confident Jimmy G will have successful return]

This ‘n’ that

-- Former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father, held a press conference during practice. Earlier this summer, Fangio invited Shanahan, a two-time Super Bowl-winning coach, back to the Broncos facility for the first time since he last coached there in 2008 ...

-- The Broncos' defensive line did a number on the 49ers during one-on-one pass-rush drills. One of the few wins came from left tackle Joe Staley against former 49ers teammate Dekoda Watson after Watson got the better of Staley on the first snap ...

-- Cornerback D.J. Reed broke up a Flacco pass deep down the right sideline intended for Broncos receiver Kelvin McKnight ...

-- The 49ers generated a takeaway when linebacker Fred Warner punched the ball loose from a Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick after a pass completion. Ahkello Witherspoon made the recovery ...

-- Flacco hit Courtland Sutton on a deep ball against Richard Sherman, who mistimed his leap ...

--With center Weston Richberg remaining on PUP and Person out of action, Ben Garland handled the center chores with Daniel Brunskill taking over at right guard.

Next up

Training camp has officially come to an end with Saturday being the final practice that will be open to the media until next year. The 49ers and Broncos will play Monday night in an exhibition game, which will be televised nationally on ESPN.

49ers' Dee Ford aggravated knee injury; Nick Bosa getting healthier

49ers' Dee Ford aggravated knee injury; Nick Bosa getting healthier

SANTA CLARA — Defensive end Dee Ford miss the second half of the 49ers' 41-17 rout of the Bengals after he aggravated the knee injury that bothered him during the offseason

Coach Kyle Shanahan explained that no decision has been made about Ford’s availability for the 49ers' matchup with the Steelers on Sunday, but the team will monitor his situation throughout the week. 

“Yes, yep, the same area,” Shanahan said. “Quad, knee area. He’s still hurting today. We’ll see how he is for practice on Wednesday. I don’t have anything new to update today, but practice will definitely be in question for Wednesday.”

Ford was announced as questionable to return late in the second quarter of Sunday's game. He later spent some time on the stationary bike and then stood near the substitues with his helmet on, prepared to go back into the game if needed. With the 49ers in firm control of the game, Ford ended up not playing in the second half. 

The 49ers used each of their nine active defensive linemen on a fairly even rotation in Cincinnati. The heat and humidity were a factor in trying to keep everyone one fresh on the field.

Out of 70 total defensive snaps, here are each player’s totals

Arik Armstead -- 43
DJ Jones -- 37
Ronald Blair -- 35
DeForest Buckner -- 34
Solomon Thomas -- 33
Nick Bosa -- 31
Dee Ford -- 25
Sheldon Day -- 24
Jullian Taylor -- 21

While Ford is ailing, No. 2 overall draft pick Nick Bosa seems to be taking a positive step. After missing most of the practices in Youngstown, Ohio, Bosa’s ankle seems to be on the mend.

“He came out healthy,” Shanahan said. “Healthier than the week before. Sometimes when you come back with a high ankle sprain you always get a few setbacks in those games. I know he did versus Tampa, but he didn’t complain of any yesterday. 

“Didn’t play as much. We were playing him less on purpose and then we took out most of our starters there in the fourth quarter. I think it worked out well. He was able to affect the game and get out healthier than he did the week before.”

[RELATED: Why Shanahan is sticking with Skule]

Shanahan explained that as usual they will monitor all of their player’s health. Their practice time and game time will be planned accordingly.

The early Week 4 bye can't get here soon enough for the 49ers.

NFL rumors: Steelers acquire safety Minkah Fitzpatrick from Dolphins


NFL rumors: Steelers acquire safety Minkah Fitzpatrick from Dolphins

The 49ers didn't trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick, and now they get to face him. Right away.

The Steelers have acquired Fitzpatrick from the Dolphins for Pittsburgh's 2020 first-round draft pick, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Monday night, citing league sources. The defensive back recently demanded a trade out of Miami after the Dolphins were outscored 102-10 over the first two weeks of the season.

The reported trade comes at an especially inopportune time for San Francisco, as it most certainly ends the 49ers' pursuit of Fitzpatrick, if there even was one. But more to the point, now San Francisco will get a first-hand look at the former first-round draft pick in its very next game when the Steelers visit this weekend.

The No. 11 overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, Fitzpatrick was taken two picks after San Francisco selected offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey at No. 9. He has the ability to play both cornerback and safety, and that versatility would have been very useful in the 49ers' defensive backfield, had they been willing to pay the price required.

With Fitzpatrick now reportedly headed to Pittsburgh, Jacksonville's Jalen Ramsey becomes the most coveted defensive back available on the trade block, after the Jaguars cornerback similarly demanded a trade Monday. Both Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon have played well over the course of San Francisco's 2-0 start, but like Fitzpatrick, Ramsey would present an upgrade -- and also likely cost a first-round draft pick, at least.

[RELATED: Why 49ers should do whatever it takes to get Jags' Ramsey]

The 49ers previously sent away their own 2020 second-round draft pick in the trade that brought Dee Ford over from Kansas City. San Francisco has placed a high value on draft selections ever since the beginning of the Kyle Shanahan-John Lynch regime, but given the 49ers' fast start and suddenly steep trajectory, perhaps it's time to consider using those draft selections to acquire more established commodities.

San Francisco suddenly has a need for an offensive tackle in the wake of Joe Staley's broken fibula. Whether it's an offensive lineman or an All-Pro defensive back, the 49ers should be thinking long and hard about pursuing some players that would undeniably improve their team, both in the immediate and the long-term future.