49ers defensive notes from first Chargers joint practice

Demeco Ryans Fred Warner

COSTA MESA -- The 49ers' defense is getting valuable experience facing Justin Herbert in the heat and humidity of Southern California. 

The Los Angeles Chargers quarterback’s skills were on display Thursday at joint practice between the two teams. Herbert did feel pressure in the pocket from the 49ers' defensive line, but without full tackling it ended up as a productive day for the Chargers' offense. 

Herbert competed 17 of his 22 attempts with three of his five incompletions coming during a two-minute drill where the 49ers' defense seemed to get more into a rhythm. 

Fred Warner had one of the top plays of the day, breaking up a pass from Herbert to 6-foot-8 tight end Donald Parham. Herbert threw a corner fade on third down during red zone drills, but Warner got his hand on the ball in tight coverage to prevent the touchdown. 

The 49ers' run defense looked like it hasn’t lost a step across the board, especially during red zone drills where they did not allow a score on the ground. Warner, along with Dre Greenlaw and the defensive line, kept the Chargers' run game to a minimum. 

DeMeco Ryans mixed things up a little bit, allowing the second-team defense to get a few reps against Herbert and the Chargers’ first team. With the switch, Dee Ford saw reps on the field facing the Chargers’ first and second-team, where he routinely got into the backfield. 

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Here are notes and observations from the first of two joint practices between the 49ers and the Chargers. 


-- Nick Bosa participated in individual drills, and Shanahan reports he still is on schedule to be ready for team drills next week. Javon Kinlaw remained sidelined with a shoulder injury. Samson Ebukam returned to team drills. 

-- During 1-on-1 drills, Talanoa Hufanga had a standout pass breakup on a ball intended for 6-foot-6 tight end Matt Sokol. During the same series, Alexander Myres intercepted a pass intended for wideout Jalen Guyton and Deommodore Lenoir broke up a pass intended for receiver Austin Proehl.

-- Azeez Al-Shaair is back to full form, recording the hardest hit of the day. Running back Austin Ekeler caught a short pass from Herbert on the first play of team drills and the pop of Al-Shaair’s pads hitting the running back woke up the crowd of both 49ers and Chargers fans in the stands.

-- The starting combination of the front four was Arik Armstead, D.J. Jones, Maurice Hurst and Samson Ebukam. Ford was in sparingly with the second-team on third downs.

-- Fred Warner saw quite a bit of action as the defense used a few linebacker blitzes throughout practice. Dre Greenlaw was seen around the ball regularly flying around the field on both run and pass plays. 

-- During 11-on-11 drills, Darrion Daniels got to the backfield to "sack" quarterback Easton Stick. Jordan Willis got past the first-team Chargers line to “sack” Justin Herbert.

-- Shilique Calhoun was in the backfield for more than one pressure and at least one sack on Chase Daniel during red zone drills.

-- Dontae Johnson, who took reps with the first-team, broke up a pass from Herbert that was intended for receiver Joshua Palmer during two-minute drills.

-- Ambry Thomas got his hand on a pass from Daniel intended for receiver Tyron Johnson, preventing a conversion in red zone drills.

-- Practice ended on an interception by Lenoir on a Daniel pass intended for Johnson during a two-minute drill. The enitre defense ran up to the rookie defensive back to congratulate him on the play. 

The teams have a second joint practice on Friday before their second preseason game on Sunday at SoFi Stadium. 

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