49ers

49ers minicamp observations: Offense wins the day

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49ers minicamp observations: Offense wins the day

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers’ offense had a strong showing on the practice field Wednesday on the second day of the team’s three-day mandatory minicamp.

The offense had one of its best days off the offseason program, as the 49ers have one practice remaining before breaking until the opening of training camp in late-July. The practice was highlighted by back-to-back touchdowns during a team red-zone drill for the first- and second-team offenses.

It was clear that the 49ers’ offense had the right play call against the team’s defense, as running back coach Tom Rathman anticipated a scoring pass. He shouted, “Touchdown! Touchdown!” before quarterback Blaine Gabbert had even taken the snap on a play from the 5-yard line.

And, sure enough, Gabbert found Bruce Ellington racing past Antoine Bethea to the left corner of the end zone for the touchdown.

Moments later, quarterback Thad Lewis hit DeAndrew White for a leaping touchdown on a fade route in the other corner for the end zone against cornerback Keith Reaser for an 8-yard score.

Gabbert, Lewis and rookie Jeff Driskel took the snaps during team drills. Colin Kaepernick practiced when the 49ers were in 7-on-7 drills without a pass rush. Kaepernick again threw the ball accurately in only his second day of work against a defense.

In other observations from the practice field:

--During a 7-on-7 drill, tight end Bruce Miller dropped what would’ve been a 20-yard touchdown pass from Kaepernick. He then failed to hold onto a catchable pass on a crossing pattern with Reaser breaking it up. But on a fourth-down play, Kaepernick and Miller hooked up for a 13-yard touchdown.

--Torrey Smith had another good showing on the practice field, including a catch of 40-plus yards from Gabbert against tight coverage of Jimmie Ward down the field. He also caught a 15-yard touchdown in 7-on-7 drills.

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--Other pass-catchers who had good days included Dres Anderson and tight end Je’Ron Hamm.

--Ahmad Brooks and Aaron Lynch spent time working on pass-rush moves with Andre Carter during warmups. Carter, 37, played 13 NFL seasons, including his first five with the 49ers from 2001-’05. He is serving as an intern with the 49ers as part of the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship program.

--Lynch, Tank Carradine and Eli Harold generated consistently good pressure during team drills.

--Cornerback Dontae Johnson sat out practice with an apparently leg or ankle injury sustained last week. Coach Chip Kelly Johnson is doing well and should be back shortly. The minicamp wraps up on Thursday.

--Defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley said rookie cornerbacks Rashard Robinson and Prince Charles Iworah have made noticeable improvements with their fundamentals since reporting to the offseason program. Robinson was a fourth-round pick, while Iworah was a seventh-round selection. Third-round pick Will Redmond is rehabbing from ACL surgery.

“I turn on the clips this morning and I’m pointing out, ‘That’s awesome.’ Because when we came in here this is not what that looked like,” Hafley said. “But I watched one play five times, and I was like, ‘That’s awesome.’

“Today it was Prince and Rashard. Those two guys and some of the fundamentals that have improved, it’s fun to watch. Unfortunately, Will can’t practice right now, but in the classroom, he’s on top of it.”

--In a one-on-one matchup of undrafted rookies on the third team, Jason Fanaika (Utah) had a good day against left tackle Norman Price (Southern Mississippi). Fanaika beat Price for three sacks during team drills.

--The 49ers held a post-practice military ceremony for the promotion of Tyson Baynes, who served the past year with the team’s medical and athletic training staff in a fellowship program. Baynes, who serves in the Army, was promoted from captain to major. His last day with the 49ers is June 15, at which point he will take a position at the Office of the Surgeon General.

Kyle Shanahan sees Jordan Reed as big 49ers contributor, if healthy

Kyle Shanahan sees Jordan Reed as big 49ers contributor, if healthy

Veteran tight end Jordan Reed seemingly is taking a huge risk with designs on a return to football after sustaining a seventh documented concussion a year ago.

But it is a risk that could pay off big for Reed and the 49ers this season, his first NFL coach said on Monday.

Kyle Shanahan was in his final season as Washington’s offensive coordinator during Reed’s first season after entering the league as a second-round draft pick. Now, Shanahan and Reed are back together after Reed agreed to a one-year contract on Monday.

“I know he hasn’t been on the field for a little bit. I know he’s very hungry to get back out there,” Shanahan said.

“When you have a talented guy who’s hungry to play football, it works out if they can stay healthy. And Jordan has had some bad luck over the years. I know he’s ready to go. I hope he has some good luck here. And if he does, I think it’s going to be a hell of a deal for the Niners and a really good deal for him, also.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Reed, 30, has appeared in just 65 games over the past seven seasons with Washington. He has 329 career receptions for 3,371 yards and 24 touchdowns. His best season came in 2015, when he saw action in 14 games and caught 87 passes for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns.

He did not play last season after sustaining a concussion in a preseason game. The Washington Football Team released him in February.

“Everyone is aware of Jordan’s ability,” Shanahan said. “When he’s been healthy, he’s played at an extremely high level. And he’s been one of the first third-down tight ends in the league when he’s been healthy.”

[RELATEDShanahan optimistic 49ers, Kittle will get contract done]

Shanahan said he typically likes to bring six tight ends to training camp. It was a little more difficult this summer because teams have to trim to 80 players instead of the usual 90-man limits. But the 49ers found a way to add Reed, who figures to join a competition to become George Kittle’s backup.

Reed will compete with Ross Dwelley, Daniel Helm and sixth-round draft pick Charlie Woerner for the backup job.

“It's well-documented that he’s had multiple concussions prior,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “So in situations like this, there’s a reason that a guy like Jordan Reed is out there, right? There is some risk-reward. We got to a point where we felt the risk that we’re taking on was worth it with the potential reward.”

Trent Williams thrilled 49ers signed former teammate Jordan Reed

Trent Williams thrilled 49ers signed former teammate Jordan Reed

Trent Williams isn't the only former Washington Football Team player joining the 49ers this offseason.

San Francisco signed free agent tight end Jordan Reed to an incentive-laden one-year contract on Monday, hoping to put a steady backup behind All-Pro George Kittle. Formerly a third-round draft pick by Washington in 2013, Reed was a teammate of Williams in the nation's capital for each of the past six seasons. Williams expressed his excitement for Reed on his Instagram story Monday afternoon.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

A Pro Bowl selection in 2016, Reed missed all of the 2019 season after getting a concussion in the third preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons. Like Williams, Reed finished the 2019 season on injured reserve. Washington released Reed in February.

Reed could see his role increased significantly early on with the 49ers if Kittle's contract negotiations continue to stall, as general manager John Lynch didn't give much of an update Monday on the conversations.

[RELATED: 49ers rule D.J. Reed out for year after surgery on torn pec]

“We’re working diligently to come to a resolution,” Lynch told reporters over Zoom on Monday afternoon.

Reed's concerning history with concussions wasn't lost on Lynch, but the 49ers clearly see the upside in a tight end with four 50+ catch seasons out of his six healthy NFL seasons.

“It's well-documented that he’s had multiple concussions prior,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “So in situations like this, there’s a reason that a guy like Jordan Reed is out there, right? There is some risk-reward. We got to a point where we felt the risk that we’re taking on was worth it with the potential reward.”