49ers camp report: Tarvarius Moore gets free-safety reps with starters

49ers camp report: Tarvarius Moore gets free-safety reps with starters

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers' competition at free safety took a turn Tuesday.

Jimmie Ward, the favorite to open the season as the starter, was activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list after fracturing his collarbone during the offseason program. However, he did not practice Tuesday. The 49ers' plan is to work him into the mix the week after the first preseason game.

Adrian Colbert, who ran with the starters for the first three practices, shared first-team snaps at free safety with second-year player Tarvarius Moore, who played cornerback as a rookie.

“T-Moore has been doing well since spring, since he made the change,” said Jaquiski Tartt, the starter at strong safety. “He’s been taking in the coaching and doing his job.”

But defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said Moore is a long way away from competing for a starting job.

"He’s by no means even close to being an NFL-ready safety by Week 1, but he is getting progressively better," Saleh said. "He’s got a lot of things to clean up with regards to, he’s hesitating, which is expected. He’s still new at the position, but he’s got to get to the point where he’s not really thinking about his job anymore where he can react and trigger, which is so important for our safety to be able to do.”

Ward took part in the team’s walk-through before practice, which was not allowed as long as he remained on the PUP list.

The secondary appears to be playing with more confidence -- perhaps in large part due to the improved pass rush.

“On the back end, that helps a lot, knowing they’re getting to the quarterback, so we can all be ready to break for the ball,” Tartt said.

Rough day for offense

The 49ers’ defense was clearly ahead of the offense through the first four practice, which is typical this time of year. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed six of 13 pass attempts, including one well-thrown pass down the field that tight end George Kittle dropped.

The reserves have been running more smoothly with Nick Mullens. On Tuesday, he completed seven of 10 pass attempts, while C.J. Beathard completed five of 10 throws. Mullens and Beathard remain in a too-close-to-call competition for the backup job.

Offensive Play of the Day

There was not much from which to choose in the passing game, so we look to the run game. Running back Matt Breida found an opening on the left side of the line and blasted through into the secondary. Cornerback Richard Sherman, who had the angle on Breida, ran him out of bounds 40 yards down the field.

Defensive Plays of the Day

The 49ers are expecting big things from defensive end Nick Bosa, and he has given the club no reason to be concerned through four practices. On Bosa’s very first snap of the 11-on-11 period, he broke through for his first of three quarterback sacks or pressures.

Injury report

Rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw had a hand laceration, while edge rusher Dee Ford had quadriceps and finger (right hand) issues. Both were pulled from practice, the team reported.

Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon sustained a minor knee issue early in the 11-on-11 period and was held out of practice the rest of the way. Greg Mabin took his place with the first team.

Guard Joshua Garnett did not practice for the third consecutive day after sustaining a dislocated ring finger on his right hand in practices Saturday and Sunday.

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who had his foot stepped on during practice Monday, and running back Jeffrey Wilson (finger) were held out.

This ‘n’ That

  • Cornerback Richard Sherman had a strong session during one-on-one drills, and also mixed it up a hit in run support.
     “I didn’t see it because I was taking on a block, but I heard it," Tartt said. "And he was (like), ‘I’m a grown man.’ That was good to hear from him. He’s been doing well, too. He’s looking like Sherman.”
  • Linebackers Malcolm Smith and LaRoy Reynolds and Elijah Lee, as well as edge rusher Ronald Blair made plays on incomplete passes while dropping into coverage. ... Defensive end Jamell Garcia-Williams used every bit of his 6-foot-8 frame to bat down a Beathard pass directed to the right side of the field.
  • Kittle had a team-high three receptions, while Trent Taylor, Richie James, Tevin Coleman and Jalen Hurd had two catches apiece. 
  • In addition to Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Kapron Lewis-Moore and Sheldon Day provided pressure or would-be sacks during practice.

[RELATED: Lynch believes improved 49ers should let Jimmy G flourish]

Next up

After a practice in which they racked up 62 snaps of 11-on-11, the 49ers have their first day off Wednesday. Clubs are not allowed to have more than four consecutive days of practices. The 49ers return to practice on Thursday at 10 a.m.

49ers' Deebo Samuel has played with physical mentality his entire life

49ers' Deebo Samuel has played with physical mentality his entire life

SANTA CLARA -- Commentators and fans alike have said Deebo Samuel runs angry with the ball in his hands, but for the 49ers rookie wide receiver, it’s the only way he knows how to play. 

When Samuel played football in his youth, his father was his coach. His instructions to his son?

“Every time you have the ball in your hands, try to get it into the end zone.”

That mantra has never changed.

“I wouldn’t say angry,” Samuel told NBC Sports Bay Area. “It’s just the mentality that I have that one guy isn’t going to bring me down. And that’s always been my mentality since I’ve been playing the game.”  

Samuel’s style of play appears to be similar to that of teammate George Kittle. Neither is afraid to catch the ball across the middle and both will run over a defender once they have the ball in their hands. Samuel has an average of 7.5 yards after the catch while Kittle is not far behind at 6.5 yards. 

“I watch George,” Samuel said. “He kind of has the same mindset. I’ve never seen one guy bring him down so it’s kind of like the mentality I play with." 

Some of Samuel’s bruising ways come from his days as a running back, a position he played until he was a freshman at South Carolina. His versatility has already been utilized several times by coach Kyle Shanahan, with five rushing attempts for 27 yards and a touchdown. 

“I know what it is and know what it takes to be back there and the hits that they take,” Samuel said. “DBs out there, they’re not guys that like the physical stuff. So if they see a receiver trying to bring it to them, you know they want to hit low. Not too many people want that contact.” 

Both Samuel and Kittle have been very productive for the 49ers' offense and reliable targets for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Kittle leads the team with 541 receiving yards while Samuel is second with 339. 

With Kittle and Emmanuel Sanders' availability in doubt for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, Samuel knows that he will be asked to step up if necessary. Facing the Seahawks, the rookie caught eight of his 11 targets for 112 yards, making him the most productive receiver on the field. 

Of those three missed targets, there’s one in particular that Samuel would like back. Early in the fourth quarter, Garoppolo targeted Samuel on a slant route across the middle. The ball hit Samuel in the hands, but he wasn't able to hold on as it dangerously deflected up into the air. 

[RELATED: Watch all eight 49ers dropped passes in loss to Seahawks]

By the time Samuel made a second attempt to grab the ball, the safety already was on him and broke up the pass. It would have netted a first down at a minimum, but the drive stalled and San Francisco was forced to punt. 

“I was so worried about just turning it up more,” Samuel said. “I was more focused on that than catching the ball first. You could see the safety coming down and he was not a worry of mine. Just got to make those plays. I just don’t only want to make that catch. I want to catch the ball and do something with it after I catch it. It’s just my mentality.” 

Samuel likely will have a chance to redeem himself Sunday when the 49ers face division rival Arizona. 

49ers' decisions on inactive players vs. Cardinals could be made for them

49ers' decisions on inactive players vs. Cardinals could be made for them

SANTA CLARA – NFL rules stipulate that teams are allowed to suit up a maximum of 46 players from their 53-man rosters for games.

The 49ers might not have much wiggle room with their choices for active players for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium due to a stuffed injury report heading into the Week 11 game.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he certainly would entertain the possibility of suiting up fewer than 46 players because the 49ers would not want to place any of their players on injured reserve or create a roster spot by releasing anyone.

“We were very close to doing that the last couple weeks,” Shanahan said of the possibility of suiting up 45 players. “In order to bring in a new guy, you always have to cut someone and there’s definitely not anyone we’re trying to get rid of.

“Everyone in our building we believe can help us throughout this season, but those are some of the tough decisions you have to make, whether you take the risk of cutting someone, which you take the risk of not getting that guy back.”

Six injured players were not on the field at the beginning of 49ers practice Thursday. Another, running back Tevin Coleman, was excused from practice for personal reasons, according to a team official.

Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair is moving through the NFL’s concussion protocol. He has to been cleared for non-contact football activity and appears to be on pace to play Sunday.

C.J. Beathard has been inactive for every game as the team's No. 3 quarterback. 

[RELATED: Bosa has lots to study as 49ers prepare for Cardinals rematch]

Here' is the 49ers practice report from Thursday:

RB Matt Breida (ankle)
RB Tevin Coleman (not injury related)
K Robbie Gould (right quadricep)
DT D.J. Jones (groin)
TE George Kittle (knee, ankle)
WR Emmanuel Sanders (ribs)
T Joe Staley (finger)

LB Azeez Al-Shaair (concussion)
TE Garrett Celek (back)
DE Dee Ford (quadricep)
RB Raheem Mostert (knee)
WR Dante Pettis (back)
TE Levine Toilolo (groin)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon (foot, quadricep)

Shanahan already has ruled out Staley and Jones for Sunday's game. It also appears doubtful that Kittle will be available. Sanders appeared to go through the walkthrough before leaving the field at the beginning of practice and he is day-to-day.