49ers

49ers notes: Garoppolo learns from nine-snap stint in preseason opener

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AP

49ers notes: Garoppolo learns from nine-snap stint in preseason opener

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers’ first exhibition game served its purpose for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Garoppolo was off target -- way off target, in fact -- on half of his six pass attempts. But Garoppolo was anything but discouraged after his nine snaps under center produced a couple of first downs but ended with a punt.

“Obviously, there’s always things that we can improve on,” Garoppolo said after the 49ers’ 24-21 win over the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium on Thursday night.

“It’s good seeing different looks from a different defense than our own, seeing how plays play out against them versus what we’re used to seeing. So there’s always stuff to learn.”

Garoppolo completed three of his six pass attempts for 34 yards, including an 18-yarder to Marquise Goodwin on a third-and-10 play. He also misfired on two other throws intended for Goodwin and overthrew tight end George Kittle on a deep seam route.

“(Those are) just different things that we’re not used to throwing,” Garoppolo said. “Just kind of try some new things. That’s what preseason is for, to see what works and see what doesn’t and move on from there.”

Mullens Magic Time

Quarterback Nick Mullens remained on the 49ers’ practice squad all of last season after arriving as an undrafted rookie from Southern Mississippi. He never got the call-up to the 53-man squad.

On Thursday, he had his best moment with the club, leading the 49ers back from a 21-10 deficit late in the fourth quarter for the victory. Mullens found Richie James with a 7-yard touchdown connection with :18 remaining for the winning points while the 49ers' sideline erupted in celebration.

“That was awesome,” Garoppolo said. “It was an exciting way to end it.”

Mullens is firmly stationed behind Garoppolo and C.J. Beathard on the 49ers’ depth chart. But he and his fellow third-stringers took advantage of their opportunities to show their stuff.

“It was an awesome moment, and an awesome moment for our team,” Mullens said. “The threes, we work together every day in practice. It was cool to just see us take advantage of our opportunities out there. It was a lot of fun. Everybody was locked in and we finished strong.”

The No. 3 offense ran their two-minute drill to perfection. The 49ers drove 77 yards in six plays, taking over with exactly 2:00 remaining in regulation and scoring the winning points with :18 left.

Mullens hooked up on passes to running back Jeremy McNichols (9 yards), wide receiver Steven Dunbar (14 yards), tight end Ross Dwelley (26 yards), receiver Kendrick Bourne (back-to-back passes of 4 and 9 yards), and James for the go-ahead touchdown. Then, Mullens found newly signed tight end Wes Saxton on the two-point conversion.

“You know you’re going to pass it and I like to pass, of course,” Mullens said. “The receivers did a great job. Guys that we work with every day, the guys up front, we were just very in-tune, very locked in. We walked through that every single day of camp and it was cool to see it translate to the field.”

Mullens completed 11 of 13 passes for 141 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Leading with the Helmet

Linebacker Elijah Lee was penalized in the third quarter for lowering his helmet to make contact with Cowboys running back Bo Scarbrough after an 11-yard pass completion. The helmet rule, making it illegal for a player to lower his head to initiate contact with the helmet, was passed during the offseason. Referee Ron Torbert spent four days last week with the 49ers and said he did not see one instance during the padded practices that would have warranted a penalty. Torbert’s crew officiated Thursday’s game. Lee took over when starter Malcolm Smith left with a hamstring injury. Lee led the 49ers with seven tackles

This ‘N’ That

Rookie defensive lineman Jullian Taylor, a seventh-round pick from Temple, started in place of Arik Armstead. And he was still in the game in the fourth quarter to record an important quarterback sack, a key defensive play in the comeback win. But things did not go as planned early, as Taylor was exploited earlier as the Cowboys gained 15 yards running right at him on the first drive of the game. “It was probably just me getting the jitters out, honestly,” Taylor said. “This was my first game and I started so it was kind of like, ‘Whoa.’ Once I settled down and really got my feet under me, it got easier. It was just playing football at the end of the day.” . . . Right tackle Mike McGlinchey, the 49ers’ first-round draft pick, played the entire first quarter and into the second quarter. He remained in when most of the other starters had already departed. “We planned to leave him in longer,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “For the most part, if I don’t notice an O-lineman very much in the game especially on pass plays it usually means they did fairly good.” . . . Defensive linemen Solomon Thomas and DeForest Buckner combined for a quarterback sack in the first quarter. . . .There were no 49ers players who took a knee to protest racial inequality during the playing of the national anthem. Goodwin raised his right fist.

Watch 49ers WR Dante Pettis crush BP homers in Minute Maid Park

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USATSI

Watch 49ers WR Dante Pettis crush BP homers in Minute Maid Park

The 49ers arrived in Houston on Tuesday, where they will hold joint practices with the Texans on Wednesday and Thursday. On Sunday, the two teams will play a preseason game.

With no team activities schedule on Tuesday, rookie wide receiver Dante Pettis took full advantage of the free time. His father is Astros third base coach Gary Pettis, so the younger Pettis donned Astros gear and took batting practice at Minute Maid Park.

In video posted by Fox 26's Mark Berman, Pettis deposited a few balls into the Crawford Box.

Check out the video here:

49ers notes: Practices heat up with Texans in Houston

49ers notes: Practices heat up with Texans in Houston

The 49ers arrived Monday evening in Houston, where temperatures in the mid-90s – and more than a bit of humidity -- await the team’s two practices this week against the Texans.

After 14 practices at the team’s facility in Santa Clara, the 49ers figure to learn a lot more about their roster while facing a different opponent during two-hour practice sessions scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

“We’re very sick of going against the same scheme every day,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It’ll be nice to go against something else, you know? Offensively and defensively, and it gives you two practices where you can go against different stuff, which prepares all your players for what they’re going to see during the year.

“And just for the monotony of camp, it’s good to change it up.”

The 49ers will be a bit short-handed for the practices. Eleven players sat out the team’s practice Monday due to injuries. Running back Joe Williams is scheduled to rejoin the team. The 49ers also plan to sign veteran running back Alfred Morris. The 49ers’ top two running backs, Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida, are out for the remainder of the preseason with injuries.

The injuries across the board have impacted how the 49ers practice. Because of thinning depth, the 49ers do not have enough healthy bodies to form a full No. 3 unit.

“Once you start losing those guys, it adds a lot on another person,” Shanahan said. “Once you see a guy having to take reps with the twos and with the threes, it’s just a matter of time before that guy gets hurt. Those are the things you’ve got to pay attention to. You can get away with it for a little bit and you know you’re going to put a lot on a guy, but eventually once you see it’s too much you’ve got to stop the drill and just move on. It’s not worth it.”

After two practices against the Texans, the 49ers will have a day off on Friday before facing Houston on Saturday in the second preseason game for both teams.

McGlinchey Readies for Work vs. Watt

After being satisfied with his performance during his 23 snaps in the exhibition opener against the Dallas Cowboys, 49ers rookie right tackle Mike McGlinchey is bracing for what figures to be his best learning experience since being the No. 9 overall draft pick.

McGlinchey is likely to go up against Texans perennial All-Pro defensive lineman J.J. Watt in two practices. The reports out of Houston is that Watts has looked close to his former self after two injury-plagued seasons. He did not play in the Texans’ exhibition opener, though. McGlinchey could see practice time against Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.

“It’s definitely going to be fun,” McGlinchey said. “It’s why you play in the NFL, to play against the biggest and baddest dudes.”

Morris Steps in to Compete

Part of the reason the 49ers are bringing in Morris to join the team is because he already is familiar with Shanahan’s system. But Morris will also get an opportunity to compete for a spot on the 53-man roster. Morris spent two seasons with Shanahan in Washington, and Shanahan said he should have no problem picking up the 49ers playbook.

“There’s not big changes and it’s not that tough for a back,” Shanahan said. “They’ve got to set their track the right way and you hand it off to them and go run. We have a way that we coach guys and stuff, but everyone, when you’re away from something, it’s going to take some time. He is going to be rusty with that stuff, but he’ll get the hang of it.”

Undrafted rookie OL Alan Knott was waived to make room for Morris. 

This ‘N’ That

Shanahan bristled when asked if the injuries of training camp could have been avoided. “Soft tissue injuries, yeah, they can be prevented by having them not doing anything and sit there and just not get hurt and then it will happen in Week 1,” Shanahan said. “It’s just part of it. I think we are pretty smart with what we do. There’s a fine line, a very fine line. If a player is complaining about being tight, we can sit there and shut him down and then every single person who ever complains about being tight, you can shut down and then ask a group of 90 people in training camp to raise their hands on who’s tight. Ninety people will raise their hand.” . . . McKinnon grabbed behind his right knee after sustaining an injury in practice on Sunday. The fears were alleviated when an MRI revealed a calf strain, which will keep him sidelined for the remainder of the exhibition season. “No one realizes your calf goes that high,” Shanahan said. “So I think he was worried about it just where it was and then once he got the assurance that it was his calf, it made sense that he didn’t have that much pain. I think he felt much better. But at least he feels good that he’ll be ready for Week 1.”