Lance shows off fresh mechanics in first open OTAs practice


SANTA CLARA — Quarterbacks Trey Lance, Sam Darnold and Brandon Allen were the biggest draw of the first open practice of the 49ers' organized team activities Tuesday.

Lance had the first crack at reps on the field, followed by Darnold and Allen. While normally that would indicate Lance was taking the “first team” reps, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan clarified the process after practice.

“It'll even out,” Shanahan said. “We’ll make sure to get that right. And the first team is kind of funny because there's no O-line out there, and most of our receivers are second- and third-team on the first team today, so I'm curious what everyone thinks first and second and third team is.”
Finally healthy after rehabbing from both an ankle and finger injury on his throwing hand, Lance seemed to deliver the football with a tighter spiral while using a more efficient wind-up and release.

The North Dakota State product easily connected with new targets Ronnie Bell, Brayden Willis and Chris Conley, as well as familiar faces in Charlie Woerner, and Christian McCaffrey. After a misfire on a check down to Elijah Mitchell, Lance had an extended chat with Shanahan, and then connected on his next two attempts.

Darnold appeared calm and confident in the pocket, connecting with new receivers as targets having only limited experience in the offense. Allen took fewer snaps but still showed good chemistry with the young 49ers receiving corps. Tight end George Kittle caught passes from all three quarterbacks during warm-ups.


The players who missed Tuesday's practice didn't surprise Shanahan, who shared afterward that he had communicated with all of them. Nick Bosa, Deebo Samuel, Trent Williams, Javon Hargrave and Ray-Ray McCloud were among those not in attendance.

Wide receiver Jauan Jennings was seen running next to the practice field along with cornerback Charvarius “Mooney” Ward as practice began. Shanahan explained that both Jennings and fellow wideout Brandon Aiyuk were dealing with tightness and thus not seen on the field during team drills.

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Aiyuk observed practice while standing next to linebacker Fred Warner, who didn't physically participate in team drills. His voice, however, was heard throughout the session, as he cheered on his defensive teammates when they made plays on the field.

Plays by both defensive backs Darrell Luter and Isaiah Oliver incited the All-Pro’s fervor. Both defenders had multiple pass break-ups and made non-contact stops. On the other side of the ball, Bell was the standout receiver on offense, catching passes from each of the three quarterbacks.

Other observations

  • Running back Christian McCaffrey looked fast, running on the field as though it was a midseason practice.
  • Running back Elijah Mitchell also ran with power, taking reps from the backfield and as a pass catcher. 
  • Defensive end Drake Jackson indeed looks like he put on some muscle mass.
  • Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir now is wearing No. 2, and Ward now is wearing No. 7. 

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