SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers got some reinforcements at their first practice back since returning from their second exhibition game vs. the Los Angeles Chargers.
Nick Bosa returned to participate in team drills for the first time since suffering an ACL injury in Week 2 of the 2020 season. The edge rusher also got his first one-on-one reps facing Trent Williams.
Wednesday’s practice was also the first time Garoppolo saw time behind the second-team offensive line. It doesn’t seem like a solid indication that the quarterback has been demoted, but rather Shanahan balancing snaps out while allowing Trey Lance to get a series with the first team in packages that were specifically designed for the mobile rookie quarterback.
Prior to practice, Shanahan shared how he has been pleased with Garoppolo’s performance and how the veteran quarterback arrived in Santa Clara ready for the offseason program.
“I think he's just had more command at this time than he has any of the other years. Jimmy always gets there eventually, but I think he's come in -- just knowing what's coming off my lips before it does.
“Knowing exactly how to spit it out, where to go. When you don't have to think and all that stuff's effortless, the semantics of play calls and the offense, I think it's a lot easier to play.”
Lance’s series with the starting offensive line was more about what the head coach indicated he would do prior to the exhibition vs. Chargers. Shanahan wants to make sure the first team gets comfortable with plays designed to take advantage of Lance’s mobility.
Lance’s first play with the "ones" was a pitch back to Deebo Samuel, and the second was another toss in the backfield to Jalen Hurd. On the third play, the rookie scrambled away from pressure in the backfield before completing a pass to Trent Sherfield approximately 20 yards down the right sideline.
Not much later in practice, Lance and Garoppolo shuffled on and off the field alternating snaps four times. Shanahan likely was attempting to simulate what it will be like for the two quarterbacks to share time when the regular season starts.
Garoppolo shared that he spent a bit of time talking to Drew Brees after practices in Costa Mesa getting advice on how to mentally and physically prepare for the change in momentum.
Here are more notes and observations from Wednesday’s practice:
- Sitting out of practice: CB Jason Verrett, WR Jauan Jennings, S Kai Nacua, LB Dre Greenlaw, DL Maurice Hurst, OL Aaron -Banks, CB Davontae Harris.
- Jaquiski Tartt was activated off the PUP list and immediately participated in team drills. The veteran safety didn’t look quite up to speed yet, but still managed a “sack” of Trey Lance in team drills.
- The running backs' room got some reinforcement with the return of Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell returning to team drills. Sermon saw most of his reps with the first team and Mitchell with the twos.
- DT Javon Kinlaw was back in team drills, along with LT Trent Williams and CB Emmanuel Moseley.
- Jalen Hurd also returned to 11-on-11 drills and saw time with both the first and second teams. He ran a pitch from Lance, as well as catching a short pass from the rookie near the right sideline while being covered by Jimmie Ward.
- Samson Ebukam made one of the fastest spin moves in one-on-ones this season. Jaylon Moore was caught off guard and allowed the “sack.” After the rep, the entire defensive line group was jumping up and down congratulating the ex-Ram.
- Jimmy Garoppolo had the nicest throw of the day while he was behind the second-string offensive line. The veteran quarterback threw a deep ball to the left side that was hauled in by Brandon Aiyuk, who was being covered by Deommodore Lenoir and Jared Mayden.
- George Kittle had the best catch of the day - a one-handed snag from Garoppolo that was put in front of him to avoid Marcell Harris from breaking up the pass.
- Lance was not without showing his skills. His best pass of the day was to Samuel near the left sideline that landed right in the receiver’s hands as he got slight separation from multiple defenders. But the rookie quarterback also overthrew MyCole Pruitt in the middle of the field, which led to an interception by Ha Ha Clinton Dix.