Arik Armstead

49ers camp report: Defense continues practice-field dominance vs. Broncos

49ers camp report: Defense continues practice-field dominance vs. Broncos

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – The 49ers’ defense followed up a dominating day on the practice field back in Santa Clara with a clear victory in a joint workout Friday against the Denver Broncos.

The 49ers did not have as many interceptions during team drills – unlike their five-pick day against Jimmy Garoppolo two days earlier – but the defense repeatedly made it difficult for quarterback Joe Flacco and the Broncos' offense.

Free safety Tarvarius Moore recorded an interception, and several other 49ers broke up passes, including Richard Sherman. Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner had an impressive day as a pass-rusher.

“We got our hands on a few, we should’ve caught a few, but I think the defense is taking a step forward this year,” 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said.

Sherman was quick to point out that the defense deserved credit for Garoppolo’s bad day on the practice field earlier this week. After all, Garoppolo had thrown fewer interceptions than any of the other 49ers quarterbacks despite attempting at least two times more passes.

“I think it was less about Jimmy and having a bad day and more about us executing as a team,” said Sherman, adding he believes the defense is light years ahead of where it was a year ago.

Offensive play of the Day

Marquise Goodwin had a good day with four receptions during 11-on-11 drills, including a catch from Garoppolo on a deep post pattern to split the safeties in the Broncos defense.

Defensive plays of the Day

Moore recorded his third interception of the past two practices when he intercepted a Flacco pass intended for Emmanuel Sanders deep over the middle.

Injury report

Running back Matt Breida was shaken up during a blitz pickup drill and did not return to practice to take part in any of the 11-on-11 drills. Breida appeared to sustain an upper-body injury, possibly a shoulder stinger.

Offensive lineman Mike Person was seen following practice on crutches and in a walking boot. He participated in practice, and there was no immediate word from the 49ers how the injury occurred or its severity.

The 49ers sat out the following players due to injuries: Running back Raheem Mostert (concussion), tight ends George Kittle (calf) and Levine Toilolo (shoulder), guard Joshua Garnett (finger), wide receiver Trent Taylor (foot), defensive linemen Nick Bosa (ankle), Dee Ford (knee), Ronald Blair (groin), Jullian Taylor (back), D.J. Jones (knee), linebacker Elijah Lee (thumb), cornerbacks Jason Verrett (ankle) and K’Waun Williams (knee) and free safety Jimmie Ward (collarbone).

Comings and goings

The 49ers signed three-year veteran cornerback Quinten Rollins, who wore No. 30 during practice and waived Greg Mabin, the team announced Friday.

Mabin sustained a calf injury in practice Wednesday, and could be a candidtate for injured reserve.

Rollins entered the NFL in 2015 as a second-round pick of the Green Bay Packers. He appeared in 33 games in three seasons and recorded 91 tackles, 16 passes defensed and three interceptions.

[RELATED: Projecting 49ers roster ahead of Week 2 of preseason]

This ‘n’ That

-- Garoppolo threw an interception on a pass intended for Goodwin. Edge rusher Von Miller got pressure on Garoppolo, who appeared as if he could not step into his throw. Garoppolo left his pass short. Safety Justin Simmons recorded the interception.

-- Running back Jeff Wilson took advantage of the extended work he got with Breida sidelined to show he is back to full strength after missing a couple of weeks with a calf strain ...

-- Dante Pettis saw a big-play opportunity slip away when he had a step on Broncos cornerback Linden Stephens but he could not haul in C.J. Beathard’s pass on a deep post pattern despite getting both hands on it ...

-- Denver running back Phillip Lindsay did not have much room to run against the 49ers’ front seven. That even carried over to the passing game, where Arik Armstead sniffed out a screen and would have thrown Lindsay for a loss ...

Next up

The 49ers and Broncos will return to practice Saturday morning. The teams will meet Monday night in a preseason game.

Jimmy Garoppolo has been impressed by 49ers' remodeled defensive line

Jimmy Garoppolo has been impressed by 49ers' remodeled defensive line

SANTA CLARA — The newly-assembled 49ers defensive line has garnered quite a bit of praise over the course of training camp, including from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.  

“Yeah, there’s some monsters up there,” Garoppolo said. “They really are. They’re impressive. They penetrate so quickly, they get up field on the pass rush. It makes it difficult on us.”

Like Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida, Garoppolo believes the pressure he and the rest of the offense is facing at practice only will make them better down the road.

“It’s putting us to the test every practice,” Garoppolo said. “It puts the O-line through a test and I think we’ve been responding well to it.”
 
Garoppolo now has faced a pass rush during a handful of practices after only participating in 7-on-7 drills during OTAs and mandatory minicamp. Although contact with the quarterbacks still is not allowed, Garoppolo already is aware of their speed. 

The improved pass rush has forced Garoppolo to make decisions more efficiently while stepping up into a shrinking pocket. The defense has made a number of “coverage sacks” over the first week of training camp. 

The addition of free agent Dee Ford and the second overall selection of Nick Bosa has added speed around the outside. A revitalized Solomon Thomas rotating with DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead has kept the middle locked up. 

The 49ers' defense has had success getting into the backfield from with pressure from the defensive line, linebackers and even the occasional safety or corner blitz.

[RELATED: What stood out in 49ers' red-zone work on Day 5 of camp]

When asked if the defensive line’s efficiency was based on talent or strategy, Garoppolo replied that it wasn’t one or the other. 

“A little bit of both,” Garoppolo said. “You have to have the players to make it go, but the coaches have to put you in the position to be successful. So, I think they play hand in hand with one another. We’ve got a good combo right now.”

49ers host family of fallen Sacramento police officer Tara O'Sullivan

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Matt Maiocco

49ers host family of fallen Sacramento police officer Tara O'Sullivan

SANTA CLARA — The family of fallen Sacramento police officer Tara O’Sullivan was welcomed to the 49ers facility for a day at training camp six weeks after Tara was killed in the line of duty. 

The team hosted a variety of first responders to watch Thursday's training camp practice, including representatives from AMR, Cal Fire, Santa Clara County Ambulance, Santa Clara County EMS-AMR, Santa Clara County Fire Department, Santa Clara Police Department, San Francisco PAL and Shop with a Cop Foundation Silicon Valley. 

The O’Sullivan family were the guests of honor amongst the group and spent a little time speaking with coach Kyle Shanahan, general manager John Lynch and several players. 

“It was awesome to have them out here, I was glad they were able to do that,” Shanahan said. “I told them they could come any time and just want to give them our condolences. 

“The whole team signed something for them. It was hard to kind of go there, it was very emotional talking to them. I can’t have enough respect for what they are going through, what their daughter went through.”  

Sacramento native Arik Armstead spent a little extra time with O’Sullivan’s parents, Denis and Kelley, and her sister, Krista after the end of practice. He signed autographs and posed for pictures after hugs and handshakes were exchanged. 

O’Sullivan had only been a police officer for six months before being killed while responding to a domestic disturbance call. O’Sullivan and several fellow officers were assisting a woman to gather her belongings and leave the premises when a gunman opened fire. 

The gunman continued firing, preventing O’Sullivan from receiving medical attention for over 45 minutes.

She was the first officer killed in the line of duty in Sacramento in 20 years.