49ers

49ers camp report: Kyle Shanahan addresses Jalen Hurd mixing it up

49ers camp report: Kyle Shanahan addresses Jalen Hurd mixing it up

SANTA CLARA – Jalen Hurd does not get hit nearly as much after making the move from running back to wide receiver for his senior season after transferring to Baylor.

But Hurd is going out of his way to seek contact in his first NFL training camp after coming to the 49ers as a third-round draft pick.

The 49ers held their second day of non-padded practice on Sunday. Typically, tempers are more likely to flare when the pads go on. But there were two scuffles on the practice field Sunday, and Hurd was involved in both.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he likes to see his players get physical, aggressive and passionate. But he does not like to see punches exchanged because of the possibility of injuries.

Still, the last thing Shanahan wants is for Hurd to back off.

“I don’t want any of that to change. That’s why we brought him here,” Shanahan said. “But I got to see what happened. If he’s just physical and blocking people, and people are getting upset with that, shame on them.

“But if he’s doing more than he should to his teammates, then I have a problem with that. Luckily, everything’s on tape, so I’ll go watch it and decide and address it.”

Hurd caught a pass from C.J. Beathard during 11-on-11 drills in Sunday’s practice.

Defense wins the day

There was not much down the field for any of the team’s quarterbacks. Jimmy Garoppolo completed five of 12 passes, while Nick Mullens hit on six of nine, and Beathard completed four of eight.

Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon intercepted a Garoppolo pass intended for Dante Pettis during a 7-on-7 drill. Afterward, Garoppolo had some words for Pettis about his expectations.

“That’s on me,” Pettis said. “If he throws that ball, he’s trusting me. Worst-case scenario, it’s a broken up pass. That’s something I have to get in my head. If he’s trusting me, then this ball is not going to go to the other team, no matter what. He just told that, ‘Look, I trust you, and you got to break it up for something.' ”

D.J. Reed makes move to corner

Earlier in the offseason, the 49ers switched second-year player Tarvarius Moore from cornerback to safety. He welcomed the move. Fellow second-year player D.J. Reed is making the opposite transition. And it's a move met with his approval, too.

Reed is back at cornerback, where he played at Kansas State, after spending his rookie season at free safety. Shanahan said Reed has a better chance to contribute at cornerback.

“We know he was more comfortable with it,” Shanahan said. “He’s got some versatility. He does some great things in nickel. He did well at safety for us last year.”

Reed’s versatility also gives him a better chance to earn one of the 46 roster spots for regular season games because he can provide depth at every position in the defensive backfield, while also playing special teams.

“When you can run and you’re not scared to hit, you can help at a lot of spots on special teams, also,” Shanahan said.

Joshua Garnett dislocates finger – again

Guard Joshua Garnett, a first-round draft pick in 2016 who missed ample time during his first three NFL seasons, left the practice field before the start of 11-on-11 drills after dislocating a finger on his right hand for the second day in a row.

Garnett went inside to be evaluated. His status for the coming days is not known. The 49ers will practice Monday in pads for the first time in training camp.

On Saturday, Garnett rotated in with the first-team offense while Weston Richburg continues to rehab from surgery on his left knee and quad. Mike Person and Mike Garland took turns at center, while Person and Garnett played right guard. When Richburg returns, Person is expected to start at right guard.

Offensive Play of the Day

Slot receiver Trent Taylor has gotten off to a good start at training camp, and his best play Sunday came when he beat nickel back K’Waun Williams off the line and caught a pass from Jimmy Garoppolo on a slant pattern. After getting past Williams and splitting the secondary, Taylor took in the biggest gain of the day.

Defensive Plays of the Day

Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman said he no longer feels pain in his surgically repaired left Achilles after struggling for much of last year. His ability to close was on display when he followed receiver Jordan Matthews across the field and made a diving break-up of a Jimmy Garoppolo across the middle.

This ‘n’ That

-- After getting beaten three times by rookie defensive end Nick Bosa on Saturday, six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley said he felt more like his old self on Sunday. Staley said he felt rusty on Saturday with his hand usage.

-- Bosa and DeForest Buckner worked together during two-man, head-to-head pass-rush drill. Bosa and Buckner showed they still have to get to know each other, as they collided violently while going up left guard Laken Tomlinson and Staley.

-- Running back Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida looked explosive during the run drills. Coleman, however, coughed up the ball down the field when Fred Warner stripped him of the ball and Malcolm Smith recovered.

-- Edge rusher Ronald Blair was in tight coverage on the right side against rookie right end Tyree Mayfield, and Mullens’ pass hit Blair in the back as he ran with Mayfield.

[RELATED: McGlinchey impress by 49ers pass rushers]

-- During 11-on-11 drills, Arik Armstead, Buckner, Damontre Moore, Kentavius Street broke through for would-be sacks.

-- Goodwin dropped a well-thrown 20-yard pass from Garoppolo with Sherman in coverage. Earlier in practice, Goodwin caught one of the deeper passes of the day on a 20-yard out pattern.

Next up

The 49ers return to practice Monday at 10 a.m. in Santa Clara. The 49ers are scheduled to practice in pads for the first time since last season.

Saints' Sean Payton snaps over failed two-point conversion vs. 49ers

Saints' Sean Payton snaps over failed two-point conversion vs. 49ers

Saints coach Sean Payton wasn't in a mood to be second-guessed following his team's last-minute Week 14 loss to the 49ers.

San Francisco ultimately won the thrilling back-and-forth matchup by two measly points -- a game in which New Orleans attempted two two-point conversions.

Both failed.

After Tre'Quan Smith scored on an 18-yard touchdown pass to give New Orleans a 46-45 lead with 53 seconds remaining, quarterback Drew Brees went back to the same well for the two-point conversion attempt, but the pass intended fell incomplete. On the ensuing possession, 49ers tight end George Kittle caught a 39-yard reception on fourth-and-2, eventually setting up a game-winning Robbie Gould 30-yard field goal as time expired.

But after the tough loss, it was the former two-point try, not the latter, that Payton was questioned about -- while shopping for groceries, no less.

"I certainly understand the fans asking questions," Payton said Thursday on his weekly WWL Radio show. "I got the guy at frickin' Whole Foods asking me about the two-point play. I looked at him, the guy in the meat section, and I said, 'Hey, your steaks don't look too good right now. Worry about your frickin' meat.' "

Oh man. What's the over/under on how many "Worry about your frickin' meat" shirts will be at the Superdome when the Saints host the Colts on Monday night?

The play in question occurred midway through the first quarter, after Saints tight end Jared Cook hauled in his second touchdown reception of the contest. The 49ers were assessed a personal foul on the play, and rather than take the yardage on the kickoff, Payton couldn't pass up being so close to the goal line.

On the two-point try, Brees handed the ball off to a motioning Taysom Hill, who promptly was stuffed by multiple San Francisco defenders well short of the end zone. 

"I didn't feel like kicking a touchback, thought about kicking an onside kick," Payton explained. "So on the 1-yard line, I think we're gonna get two points. And then we get the defense misaligned -- obviously it doesn't have any success. And then the game ends, and, 'Why were you going for two?' Because I wanted to. We were on the 1-yard line."

Misaligned, huh? Payton was correct in stating that the 49ers were in an atypical alignment with two safeties on the same side of the field, but according to San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, that was intentional.

"We knew it was coming," Saleh said Thursday in response to Payton's claim that one of the safeties accidentally lined up on the wrong side. "I’m not going to say he wasn’t on the right side because of the way we execute certain things and all our different goal-line packages that we have, but that play was a gimme one to me with Taysom Hill where he was aligned. That was a layup in my opinion."

[RELATED: 49ers severely battered, bruised with three regular-season games to go]

The tape sure seems to suggest the 49ers knew what was coming:

The Saints hung 46 points on the 49ers, so clearly, not many of Payton's play-calls were of the layup variety. But the first two-point attempt?

You might say he butchered that one.

George Kittle's strong run-blocking skills for 49ers proved by stat

George Kittle's strong run-blocking skills for 49ers proved by stat

"George Kittle, not really a blocker ... "

We didn't say this, but FS1's Doug Gottlieb sure did. And Gottlieb certainly heard the comments from everyone online essentially saying he didn't know what he was talking about.

But if you still need numbers to back up the 49ers tight end's elite blocking skills, Next Gen Stats has you covered: 

Kittle certainly has a presence -- both in the run and the pass game -- and the numbers show that. 

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has praised Kittle's run-blocking game before, which only adds to the evidence proving sometimes, it's best to watch Kittle continue in his greatness -- no comments necessary.

[RELATED: Kittle was key success in run game vs. Ravens]

To add to it, Gottlieb's comments came after the 49ers' Week 13 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, one where the tight end received an overall 72.9 grade from Pro Football Focus and a 78.1 run-blocking grade.

That was Kittle's best run-blocking grade of the season to that point.