49ers camp report: Nick Bosa still impressing, Jerick McKinnon off PUP list

49ers camp report: Nick Bosa still impressing, Jerick McKinnon off PUP list

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers returned to the practice field after a day off, activating running back Jerick McKinnon off the physically able to perform (PUP) list. 

McKinnon will not be practicing in team drills for some time and will be worked in gradually as all players have when returning after an injury. His activation, however, allows him to be on the field and near the action, as well as participating in individual drills. 

Nick Bosa continued to show his skills as a pass rusher, getting past the offensive line on numerous occasions. The staff is giving him more snaps as he progresses along in training camp and it seems like he is making plays on most of them. 

The team turned in a balanced practice between the offense and defense but showed a little bit of rust after the day off. 

There were several dropped passes as well as pre-snap penalties. Those same problems were an issue for the team in 2018 and Coach Kyle Shanahan admits they need to focus on correcting them immediately. 

“It’s a huge problem, and we got to always harp on it,” Shanahan said. “It’s very easy to stop motioning to make it easier, but that’s really not what we believe in. We try to do a lot of stuff schematically which puts a lot of pressure on all five eligibles, puts pressure on the quarterback, he’s got to have command over that."

“It’s something that we need to coach better and something our players need to have better command at. Saw too much of it today and luckily it’s not a finished product yet but that’s something we really got to harp on it.” 

Offensive Play of the Day

Ross Dwelley has been making a case to be the back up to George Kittle and Tuesday’s practice was no exception. He got open past the secondary and caught a pass from Jimmy Garoppolo deep down the right side. 

Dwelley was eventually caught by Richard Sherman, but not before he got more than 40 yards down the field. 

Trent Taylor benefitted from blown coverage by the defense, catching a deep pass from Nick Mullens down the middle of the field that resulted in a touchdown. There is, however, a question that there may have been a coverage sack by the defense on the play.  

Defensive Play of the Day

With the defense focusing on turnovers they upped their total for training camp by two. Greg Mabin showed that a play is never over until the whistle is blown, as C.J. Beathard’s pass to Dante Pettis looked to be a completion until Mabin came and snatched it from Pettis’ hands for an interception. 

Ahkello Witherspoon notched the second pick of the day on what looked to be a sure completion to Kendrick Bourne, but the ball bounced off Bourne’s hands and Witherspoon was able to catch the rebound. 

Injury Report

Joshua Garnett is still being held out of practice after having surgery on his finger that was dislocating repeatedly. He was back on the sidelines watching practice. 

DE Dee Ford (knee), DB K’Waun Williams (knee), DL Jamel Garcia-Williams (concussion), RB Jeff Wilson (calf), LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring tightness) remain out. 

This 'n' That

Rookie Deebo Samuel continues to have a good camp flashing in one-on-one end zone drills. He was three for three facing Jason Verrett, Greg Mabin and Dontae Johnson. 

[RELATED: Dwight Clark's 49ers teammates to attend 'Letters to 87' book launch]

The biggest hits of the day were by rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw leveling fullback Kyle Juszczyk on the right sideline and linebacker Mark Nzeocha tackling running back Matt Breida for a loss. 

Next up

The 49ers resume practice at 10:15 am PT on Wednesday when the 49ers will celebrate the legacy of Dwight Clark with sales of the book “Letters to 87.” One hundred percent of royalties from the book go to the Golden Heart Fund. Tickets remain available for each of the 49ers’ remaining three open practices in Santa Clara.

Merton Hanks hypes Conference USA prospects to 49ers, other NFL clubs

Merton Hanks hypes Conference USA prospects to 49ers, other NFL clubs

Merton Hanks is not shy about reaching out to his former NFL team to provide tips on college prospects he knows well.

Hanks, who played eight seasons with the 49ers (1991-98) and won a Super Bowl, is the Senior Associate Commissioner of Conference USA, which consists of 14 football-playing universities.

“We want to make sure and give our young men every opportunity to be viewed by NFL clubs,” Hanks said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “So I tend to call my peer group around the NFL to make sure they’re paying attention to our players.

“Oh, I bug everybody, (including) the 49ers with John Lynch and Martin Mayhew, that whole staff. They do a great job of sourcing talent from Division III all the way up to the (power five). They go to where the good players are, and we have some good players in the conference.”

The 49ers have six players from Conference USA on their roster, including such draft picks as safety Tarvarius Moore (Southern Mississippi), and receivers Trent Taylor (Louisiana Tech) and Richie James (Middle Tennessee State).

The 49ers signed quarterback Nick Mullens (Southern Mississippi) as an undrafted rookie in 2017, and he started eight games for the club in 2018.

One of the top prospects from Conference USA this year is Florida Atlantic tight end Harrison Bryant, who undoubtedly is on the 49ers’ radar.

The 49ers will be looking to add a tight end in the draft to pair with George Kittle. Bryant was the 2019 Mackey Award winner as the top tight end in college football.

“He reminds me of Brent Jones,” Hanks said, “a good pass-catching tight end and a willing blocker.”

Hanks also mentioned defensive back Amik Robertson of Louisiana Tech. Hanks envisions Robertson overcoming his less-than-ideal size (5-foot-8, 187 pounds) to carve out a 10-year NFL career with a playing style that reminds some of Tyrann Mathieu.

With the restrictions on private workouts and pro days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hanks said he believes the college athletes from Conference USA or from any college program who were not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine are at an inherent disadvantage this year.

“Those players are in a bit of a tough spot, in the sense that teams won’t be able to circle back and get on campus and really take a look at them,” Hanks said.

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One Conference USA prospect who might not suffer from not being invited to the combine is Middle Tennessee defensive end Tyshun Render.

New England coach Bill Belichick went to campus in late-February to pace Render through a workout while most of his NFL peers were in Indianapolis for the combine.

“Conference USA has been fortunate,” Hanks said. “We’re a football-playing conference in every sense. We put a lot of resources toward football and NFL clubs understand that they can come get good players.”

LB Azeez Al-Shaair, Florida Atlantic
WR Richie James, Middle Tennessee State
S Tarvarius Moore, Southern Mississippi
QB Nick Mullens, Southern Mississippi
WR Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech
RB Jeff Wilson Jr., North Texas

Jerry Rice still holds three major NFL records, but will they ever be broken?


Jerry Rice still holds three major NFL records, but will they ever be broken?

When Jerry Rice retired before the 2005 season, he was the unquestioned greatest receiver in NFL history. Many even viewed him as the greatest player of all time. 

Rice certainly still holds that title for receivers and is in the debate among all players. The question now is, will anyone break Rice's three major receiving records?

Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio and NBC Sports' Peter King recently asked that exact question, so it's time for us to do the same.

The former 49ers star -- yes, he also played for the Raiders -- finished his career with the most receptions (1,549), receiving yards (22,895) and receiving touchdowns (197) in NFL history. If you include his rushing touchdowns, Rice actually had 207 total TDs. 

Let's start with career receptions, which has a real chance of being broken. It all depends on how long Larry Fitzgerald continues to play. 

Fitzgerald is No. 2 on the all-time list with 1,378, putting him 171 receptions behind Rice. The 36-year-old signed a one-year contract in January to come back for his 17th season with the Arizona Cardinals. He had 75 receptions last season in quarterback Kyler Murray's rookie year last season. 

Fitzgerald actually might be in line for a bigger season this year -- if the NFL even has a season. Murray will be in his second season under coach Kliff Kingsbury's offense, and the addition of DeAndre Hopkins could free up Fitzgerald.

If Fitzgerald continues to sign one-year deals with Arizona, there's a real chance he could surpass Rice's record. But that's a big if. Rice should hold onto the record for years to come if Fitzgerald only has another year or two in his tank.

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To no surprise, Fitzgerald is second in career receiving yards but is 5,812 yards behind Rice. Yeah, that's not going to happen. 

Julio Jones, 31, already has 12,125 receiving yards and has averaged 1,347 through his first nine years. Hopkins, 27, has 8,602 yards through seven seasons and has averaged 1,229 receiving yards per year.

For comparison, Rice averaged 1,090 receiving yards but that was over 20 years. If anyone has a chance, however small it might be, it's Julio. Good luck on maintaining that pace for another 10 years.

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And finally, there are the touchdowns. That record isn't going anywhere. Jones has 57 career receiving TDs and Hopkins has 54. Odell Beckham Jr. and Mike Evans have 48. From 1986 to '96, Rice averaged 13.7 receiving touchdowns. He scored nine at 39 years old with the Raiders. 

Rice simply was a machine. A 17-game schedule could help players like Fitzgerald, Jones and Hopkins get within range of Rice, but don't expect the greatest receiver of all time see his records fall.