Why 49ers' joint training camp practices with Broncos are so critical

Why 49ers' joint training camp practices with Broncos are so critical

The 49ers are experiencing a day off in Denver on Thursday before taking part in their two biggest practices of training camp.

After 13 days of working against one another, the 49ers will get a fresh look during practices Friday and Saturday against the Denver Broncos at their training facility in Englewood, Colorado.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will try to bounce back after his roughest practice as a member of the 49ers. On Wednesday, Garoppolo threw interceptions on five consecutive pass attempts.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he has not decided how much Garoppolo will play when the 49ers and Broncos meet Monday night in a preseason game.

“I haven’t decided, yet,” Shanahan said. “That depends on how the practices go this week. That’s something I’ll probably decide on Sunday.”

In addition to providing the coaching staffs and personnel departments a chance to evaluate their own roster against players from another team, the practices are an opportunity for bubble players to impress another organization. There are also the possibility of trades as the teams assess the strengths and weaknesses of their rosters.

“I think you should always use these opportunities as an advantage to learn other teams and things like that as much as you can,” Shanahan said. “Not just knowing each other, but also scouts, everyone. It helps you for trade possibilities.

“But it also helps you (because) each year, guys eventually become free agents and sometimes it’s nice to see how guys work and things like that as opposed to watching guys on game tape. It’s nice to see how guys practice and things like that.”

There are coaches on both teams that already are familiar with many players on the team’s roster.

First-year 49ers defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator Joe Woods spent the past two seasons as Broncos defensive coordinator. He was Denver’s defensive backs coach the two years prior to his promotion.

And Rich Scangarello, whom first-year Broncos coach Vic Fangio hired as his offensive coordinator, spent the past two seasons on Shanahan’s staff as quarterbacks coach.

“It’s always good to be around other people in this league, because it’s a pretty close fraternity and usually your paths cross more than once,” Shanahan said.

Shanahan and Fangio, along with the coordinators for both teams, have communicated to work out the scripts for the practice sessions. One element of the joint practices that might not meet Shanahan’s approval, however, is the soundtrack.

Fangio did away with music playing during practice at Broncos practices because, he said, it does not replicate a game environment and he felt it interferes with his ability to relay coaching points to his players.

Shanahan, however, is a proponent of music to keep the practices upbeat.

When asked if there will be music during the joint practices, Shanahan answered, “I haven’t asked that yet. I’m really hoping so, but I have a feeling there won’t be.”

Shanahan was correct.

[RELATED: King believes 49ers can make the playoffs if this happens]

He acknowledged that Fangio gets the final say because of his homefield advantage.

“Yeah, it’s his spot,” Shanahan said. “So, yeah, he’s got it.”

George Kittle's strong run-blocking skills for 49ers proved by stat


George Kittle's strong run-blocking skills for 49ers proved by stat

"George Kittle, not really a blocker ... "

We didn't say this, but FS1's Doug Gottlieb sure did. And he heard the comments from his statement essentially saying he didn't know what he was talking about.

If you needed numbers to back it up, we have that covered for you courtesy of Next Gen Stats:

He certainly has a presence, and the numbers show that. 

Kyle Shanahan has praised Kittle's run-blocking game before which only adds to the evidence proving sometimes, it's best to watch him continue in his greatness -- no comments necessary.

[RELATED: Kittle was key success in run game vs. Ravens]

To add to it, in the 49ers' Week 13 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the tight end received an overall 72.9 grade from Pro Football Focus and a 78.1 run-blocking grade.

That was the best grade of the season from anyone.

A complete list of the 49ers' injury situation with three games remaining


A complete list of the 49ers' injury situation with three games remaining

SANTA CLARA – Three front-line starters who have contributed to the 49ers’ 11-2 start have been lost for the remainder of the season.

And the club is expected to be without two other starters and at least two other rotational players for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons at Levi’s Stadium.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said on a Thursday appearance on KNBR-680 that nose tackle D.J. Jones will be going on season-ending injured reserve. The 49ers are likely to activate defensive lineman Kentavius Street off injured reserve to take Jones’ spot on the team’s 53-man roster.

The 49ers have three games remaining in the regular season before heading into the playoffs, and they will have to rely on their depth to get through a time when their depth chart is being tested.

Cornrerback K'Waun Williams did not practice on Thursday as he is working through the concussion protocol, but he has a chance to be able to play Sunday.

Here’s a look at the 49ers players who are not expected to play Sunday but could be available at some point before the end of the regular season and playoffs:

CB Richard Sherman

Cornerback Richard Sherman sustained a right hamstring strain in the 49ers’ win in New Orleans. Shanahan said on KNBR that Sherman will not play against the Falcons. Sherman appeared to be striding well in rehab work on the practice field Thursday. Sherman said he expects to miss only one game. Ahkello Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley will be the 49ers’ starting cornerbacks against Atlanta.

SS Jaquiski Tartt

Strong safety Jaquiski Tartt will miss his second consecutive game due to fractured ribs, Shanahan said on KNBR. The target for Tartt to return, if needed, is Week 17 against the Seattle Seahawks. Second-year player Marcell Harris will make his second start in place of Tartt.

DE Dee Ford

The 49ers want Ford to be ready for the playoffs after returning too soon from quadricep and hamstring injuries. Ford missed two games with the injury, then aggravated the condition while playing just four snaps against New Orleans. Ford is tied for third on the team with 6.5 sacks. The 49ers hope to achieve a first-round bye in the playoffs to buy him another week of rehab.

DT Jullian Taylor

Defensive tackle Jullian Taylor sustained ligament damage to his right elbow in the Week 13 game against the Baltimore Ravens. He will not be available to play Sunday at Levi’s Stadium but could be back as early as Week 16 against the Los Angeles Rams, if he is needed. He should be OK for the playoffs.

* * *

Here is the list of players who have seen action in more than a handful of games during the regular season who have been placed on season-ending injured reserve:

NT D.J. Jones

The loss of nose tackle Jones, who is ticketed to IR, is a big blow to the club. Jones started all 11 games in which he appeared and had turned into a force in the middle of the 49ers’ defensive line. Jones sustained a significant high-ankle sprain in the 49ers’ win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Sheldon Day, Solomon Thomas, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner are among the players who can see action at nose tackle.

LB Kwon Alexander

Linebacker Kwon Alexander was placed on IR on Nov. 5 after sustaining a torn pectoral. He underwent season-ending surgery. Alexander started the first eight games of the season and recorded 34 tackles, four passes defensed and two forced fumbles. Rookie Dre Greenlaw has taken over at his position.

C Weston Richburg

Center Weston Richburg sustained a torn patellar tendon in his right knee on Sunday in New Orleans. He started the first 13 games of the season and was playing at a high level in both the run game and in pass protection. Veteran Ben Garland will take over as the team’s starting center.

DL Ronald Blair

Ronald Blair played in the first nine games of the season and was filling a significant role as a rotational edge rusher in nickel situations. He had three sacks on the season before sustaining an injury on Nov. 11 while chasing down Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. Blair was the team’s third defensive end in their sub package behind Nick Bosa and Ford.

TE Garrett Celek

Tight end Garrett Celek went on IR after an aggravation of the back injury that required offseason surgery. Celek did not look healthy upon his return to action on Nov. 11 after missing the first eight games while on the physically-unable-to-perform list. He had to pass receptions in his five games. Rookie Daniel Helm was added to the roster, joining other tight ends George Kittle, Ross Dwelley and Levine Toilolo.

WR Marquise Goodwin

Marquise Goodwin went on IR this week with foot and knee issues. Goodwin had fallen out of the team’s receiver rotation. He had just 12 receptions for 186 yards with one touchdown in nine games. He started the team’s first six games of the season. The 49ers re-signed Jordan Matthews to be the team's sixth wide receiver.

* * *

Here are the other 49ers on injured reserve:

DE Damontre Moore: He appeared in two games before sustaining a fractured forearm. The 49ers signed him Nov. 13 to replace Blair.

WR Trent Taylor: Had foot surgery in August and experienced complications to prevent his return this season.

WR Jalen Hurd: Third-round pick who caught two TD passes in his only preseason game before experiencing a stress reaction in his back and setbacks through the course of the season.

RB Jerick McKinnon: He missed his second consecutive season due to knee issues from a torn ACL in training camp of 2018.

CB Jason Verrett: He appeared in one game before going on injured reserve on Oct. 3 due to a knee issue.

OT Shon Coleman: He sustained a fractured fibula and dislocated right ankle in the exhibition opener.

CB Tim Harris: A seventh-round draft pick, Harris went on IR due to a groin injury.

WR Shawn Poindexter: The 49ers placed the undrafted rookie from Arizona on injured reserve on Aug. 22 with a torn ACL

OL Andrew Lauderdale: The 49ers placed him on injured reserve on Sept. 1.