SANTA CLARA – Veteran wide receiver Pierre Garçon was not involved in the 49ers’ five-game, season-concluding win streak.
He was already on injured reserve with a neck injury when Jimmy Garoppolo came riding to the rescue. Garçon’s skills would appear to be a nice fit for Garoppolo’s strengths of getting rid of the ball quickly and surgical accuracy on underneath throws.
Yet, it was not until Sunday’s practice that was some evidence of Garoppolo and Garçon working together. They did not come close when Garoppolo made a back-shoulder throw to Garçon, who kept running. But the two later connected on a couple of passes during 11-on-11 drills, as they continue to work on their chemistry. Garçon is a savvy 10-year veteran who caught 40 passes for 500 yards in eight games last season with the 49ers.
“Jimmy’s a great quarterback,” Garçon said. “I’m definitely happy we got Jimmy as our quarterback, and our receivers are working harder and everybody’s excited. It’s very exciting to have Jimmy.”
Garçon is an established possession receiver, and Marquise Goodwin is the deep threat on the outside. Garoppolo and Goodwin remained after practice on Saturday to work on their timing on long throws. And one-on-one drills opened with Garoppolo connecting with Goodwin on a go-route against Richard Sherman.
Garoppolo and Goodwin hooked up another time early in the 11-on-11 session,
Play of the Day
Garoppolo made a deep throw down the right sideline to Goodwin with cornerback Jimmie Ward in coverage. Garoppolo’s throw was toward the sideline, and Goodwin tracked it and made an over-the-shoulder grab before going out of bounds 55 yards from the line of scrimmage. "We stayed after yesterday, worked on a couple of them and we hit a nice one today," Garoppolo said. "So it’s obviously good. You feel better about it when you hit them. But it’s probably one of the hardest things to do in football, and it’s probably one of the last things that a quarterback and receiver get in connection with. So we’re working at it every day just like everything else.”
Sherman took part in two reps during the one-on-one period in practice, and neither one turned out well. Goodwin beat him deep, then Sherman was called for defensive holding against Aldrick Robinson. But once the full team got onto the field, Sherman supplied a spark for the defense early in practice when he broke up a Garoppolo pass intended for tight end George Kittle on an out-breaking route.
It’s only expected that Sherman, 30, coming off Achilles surgery, will not have the same foot speed. But he can compensate through his knowledge of the defense and applying all of the knowledge he has accumulated through the years to make up for a lost step here and there. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said it’s common for veteran players to made the necessary adjustments.
“Sherm, obviously, has a plethora of knowledge and tricks of the trade,” Saleh said. “They figure it out. As they get older, they understand the tricks and figure it out and prolong their career.”
Guard Joshua Garnett was held out of practice after banging knees with a teammate during Saturday’s practice. Garnett is expected to be back on the field when the 49ers return to work on Tuesday. Tackle Garry Gilliam (elbow) returned to practice, as did all the veterans -- Garçon, Sherman, tackle Joe Staley and nose tackle Earl Mitchell -- who were given a day of rest. Six players remain on injured lists and did not participate in the first four practices of camp. Those players are linebacker Malcolm Smith (lower leg), receiver Trent Taylor (back), guard Jonathan Cooper (knee), linebacker Dekoda Watson (calf), defensive lineman Kentavius Street (knee) and safety Marcell Harris (Achilles).
This ‘n’ That
Rookie free safety D.J. Reed intercepted a C.J. Beathard pass intended for Dante Pettis in 11-on-11 work. Reed also highlighted the daily "Rookie Hype Machine," as he performed a backflip as all the rookie defensive backs tried to get the crowd fired up at the start of practice. . .. Ronald Blair and Cassius Marsh had strong days rushing the passer, as each got to the quarterback multiple times for would-be sacks. Blair and DeForest Buckner also batted down pass attempts at the line of scrimmage. Said Saleh, "Today on the practice field it felt very fast. So that part I’m encouraged about.”... Veteran linebacker Korey Toomer saw some practice time with the first-team defense. He was in coverage against Jerick McKinnon on a wheel route down the left sideline that went for a big gain with Garoppolo dropped in a nicely thrown pass... The 49ers will have their first day off of training camp on Monday. The club returns to practice on Tuesday.