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49ers training camp report: Nick Bosa shows well vs. Joe Staley on Day 1

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49ers training camp report: Nick Bosa shows well vs. Joe Staley on Day 1

SANTA CLARA – There was no easing into his first training camp for 49ers rookie defensive end Nick Bosa.

Bosa lined up at right defensive end for San Francisco's second-team defense, but he saw a lot of work in 1-on-1 and team drills against six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley.

The results were positive for Bosa, the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft. In the non-padded practice on the first day of camp, Bosa bent around the edge on a third-and-8 play and got close enough to brush against quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

While 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was encouraged, he knows that how Bosa fares in the coming days and weeks against Staley will be a lot more telling than his first practice.

“I guess he got Joe a couple of times today, but Joe’s a seasoned vet and he’s going to find out very quickly how the linemen adjust in this league tomorrow when Joe stalemates him,” Saleh said.

When the pads go on during practice Monday, it will reveal a lot more about Bosa, too.

“I know it’s exciting for him, but he’s still just a bobblehead running around until we get pads on,” Saleh said of Bosa. “He’ll get a chance tomorrow to see his game, see where he falls when Joe makes his adjustments. But Bosa, he’s got a chance to be great, but he’s got to take every day and just understand he’s got to evolve his game or they’ll figure it out.”

Greenlaw lays down the law

Rookie Dre Greelaw, a fifth-round pick from Arkansas, was on the field with the 49ers’ first-team defense at the Sam linebacker position. He got off to a good start in his quest for a starting job Saturday, as he competes against Malcolm Smith and Mark Nzeocha.

Greenlaw broke into the backfield to stuff running back Tevin Coleman on the very first play of training camp. It was a familiar sight for fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who remembered Greenlaw did the same thing during organized team activities in the spring.

“He seems to have a nose for the ball,” Juszczyk said of Greenlaw. “I’m pretty sure it was the very first play of OTAs, he blew up the running back in the backfield. And I’m pretty sure the very first play today, he blew up the running back in the backfield.

"Right there, that tells you the guy has a nose for the ball and he’s not timid. A rookie that’s going to go in there and shoot his guns on the very first play of practice, I think that’s impressive and he can build from that.”

Garoppolo returns to 11-on-11

Garoppolo misfired badly on his first two pass attempts during team drills, but ended with six consecutive completions, including two apiece to Dante Pettis and Jordan Matthews. Garoppolo took only 7-on-7 snaps during the offseason program, as the 49ers took a cautious approach in his return from a torn left ACL. Garoppolo is outfitted with a brace on his left knee.

Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard, who are in competition for the backup job, will rotate practice snaps during camp. Mullens took the reps with the second team on Saturday and completed three of five attempts, while Beathard completed four of six passes.

Offensive Play of the Day

Wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who is in competition for a roster spot and a role, carried over a strong offseason program into the first day of camp.

Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon was in man coverage against Matthews on a deep crossing route during the scrimmage portion. When Witherspoon tripped and fell, Matthews was all alone for a big gainer on a pass from Garoppolo.

Defensive Play of the Day

The 49ers were the worst team in the history of the NFL last season at generating takeaways, so it’s understandable generating turnovers will be the major point of emphasis. That point was made when safety Tyree Robinson stripped rookie tight end Tyree Mayfield of the ball after a pass completion from Beathard.

Robinson also recovered the loose ball, eliciting quite a response from his defensive teammaetes.

Comings and goings

The 49ers signed on Saturday signed rookie defensive lineman Jordan Thompson to a one-year contract. Thompson (6-foot-3, 292 pounds) originally signed with the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted rookie from Northwestern on May 3. The Colts waived him on May 20. 

On Friday, the 49ers released veteran defensive lineman Cedric Thornton, while also signing tight end Niles Paul and center Dillon Day.

This ‘n’ that

One different feature with the team’s new training staff is how the players stretch and warm up prior to practice. In the past, all the players would line up together and go through the same routine. Now, the offensive linemen and defensive linemen are on one side going through one set of stretches, while the team’s smaller players go through a different warmup regimen.

Trent Taylor, Dante Pettis, Richie James, D.J. Reed and Malik Henry worked on fielding punts.

Solomon Thomas had a good showing in practice while working at defensive tackle with the base unit. Saleh said the team still considers Thomas a defensive end on base downs and an inside pass-rusher in nickel situations, but all the defensive linemen will see action at different spots on the line during the practices.

The 49ers hope center Weston Richburg will be available for the start of the regular season. In the meantime, the 49ers rotated Ben Garland and Mike Person at center with the first unit, while Person and Joshua Garnett rotated at right guard.

Linebacker Kwon Alexander and cornerback Jason Verrett saw some practice time, as the 49ers are bringing them back slowly from injuries of last season. Alexander sustained a season-ending torn ACL in November, while Verrett did not play last season due to a torn Achilles he sustained on the first day of camp last year with the Los Angeles Chargers.

[RELATED: How Bosa already far along as 49ers rookie despite injury]

Next up

The 49ers return to practice Sunday at 10 a.m. in Santa Clara.

Emmanuel Sanders offers advice to 49ers playing in first Super Bowl

Emmanuel Sanders offers advice to 49ers playing in first Super Bowl

While Emmanuel Sanders is heading to his third career Super Bowl, many of his teammates on the 49ers will be playing in their first when they take on the Chiefs on Feb. 2 in Miami.

In an interview with ESPN's Josina Anderson moments after the 49ers beat the Packers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, the veteran wide receiver explained how his mindset changed from his first Super Bowl appearance to his second, and how that will impact how he approaches Super Bowl LIV.

"It's a blessing. It's a blessing," Sanders told Anderson in the 49ers' locker room. "Truthfully, I'm going to enjoy this one, but at the same time, only thing is, we gotta go out and win it. So Miami is gonna be fun, but we gotta go and handle business.

"I remember in 2010 when I went to the Super Bowl, I said I want to make it to the Super Bowl and then we went out there and lost. And then in '15, I said I want to win the Super Bowl and we ended up winning it. Right now, my mentality is we gotta go win the Super Bowl. It's good to make it, but we gotta go win it. That's the only thing on my mind."

Sanders' first Super Bowl appearance came in his rookie season, and he caught two passes for 17 yards in the Pittsburgh Steelers' loss to the Packers in Super Bowl XLV.

Five years later, Sanders caught six passes for 83 yards to help the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium.

Now, he will try to help the team that calls Levi's home win its sixth Super Bowl in franchise history.

[RELATED: 49ers installing Super Bowl gameplan this week]

So what advice would Sanders give to all the first-time Super Bowl participants on the 49ers?

"Lock in," Sanders told Anderson. "Obviously, this week is going to be big because when we get to Miami, it's going to be a frenzy, so this week, we've got to practice like it is Super Bowl week just so we can stay focused.

"Then next week still have that same mentality, but we know it's going to be crazy out there. All the times that I've been, that first week was the most important week, so that's my message to the guys, just like Kyle [Shanahan] said."

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).

How Falcons' Super Bowl loss will help 49ers' Kyle Shanahan vs. Chiefs

How Falcons' Super Bowl loss will help 49ers' Kyle Shanahan vs. Chiefs

SANTA CLARA — As the Falcons’ offensive coordinator three years ago, Kyle Shanahan came away from his first trip to a Super Bowl having learned a few lessons. The biggest one was not that he didn’t call a run play on that fateful second-and-11 situation in the fourth quarter against the Patriots. 

Shanahan will be making his second Super Bowl appearance in less than two weeks and his previous experience has shaped the way he approaches a game forever. While there are always plays that he would like to have back, it’s a bigger lesson that left an imprint on the 49ers play caller. 

“Losing a Super Bowl is extremely tough for everybody especially when you lose when you had a 28-3 lead going into the fourth,” Shanahan said. “The learning moments are — never feel good.

“I mean that’s why I promise you when we we're way up in the fourth quarter on Green Bay and stuff, I know what 28 minus three is. And I know a 25-point lead in the fourth quarter isn’t enough.” 

While 28-3 is the score everyone remembers, the Falcons actually led 28-9 entering the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LI.

That mentality hits home for Shanahan during every game, and obviously reoccurred in the 49ers' 37-20 win over the Packers in the NFC Championship Game. 

“So when we have a 14-point lead with eight minutes to go against Green Bay, I can promise you that I feel, from experience, like the game is tied and that we don’t have a two-score lead.” 

Shanahan will forever feel like a team has the ability to mount a comeback but he knows that one play call towards the end of the game was not the reason Atlanta lost. In the first half of Super Bowl LI, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman ran the ball nine times for 86 yards, averaging 9.6 yards per carry. 

In the second half, the Patriots shut down the run game and the two backs ran the ball nine times for 18 yards, averaging only two yards per carry.

[RELATED: 49ers will install gameplan this week]

Shanahan admits he will never call a perfect game, because that is an impossible feat, but he vows to never take his foot off the gas. 

“I think that’s the stuff that helps you because I think sometimes people can tend to relax,” Shanahan said. "That’s something that I, I won’t say that I ever relaxed in that Super Bowl especially with Tom Brady having the ball. But that’s something that keeps you humble every single moment until the game is over.”