After five weeks of summer break, the San Francisco 49ers are back to kick off the 2019 season with their first practice of training camp. With multiple key players recovering from injuries, a much healthier 49ers team impressed on the field Saturday.
The return of Jimmy Garoppolo
The 49ers franchise quarterback has officially been cleared for training camp and was back on the field Saturday, slinging over-the-middle passes to the likes of Jordan Matthews, Trent Taylor, and Kendrick Bourne. Overthrowing his receivers on his first two attempts, Garoppolo settled in and finished strong. Following OTA practices in June, Garoppolo had plans to practice throwing with Tom House, a former Major League Baseball pitcher who has worked with and helped quarterbacks such as Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, and others. In his first day back on the field, Garoppolo looked sharp.
Friday, Head Coach Kyle Shanahan and General Manager John Lynch spoke to the media, where they announced that Garoppolo will not play in the preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys. Fully participating in camp, Garoppolo’s first game experience will have to come a little bit later in the pre-season. For now, the rest of the 49ers offense can familiarize themselves with the qualities that make Garoppolo such a great leader.
Kyle Juszczyk discuses Jimmy Garoppolo as a leader and the “aura” he has:
Nick Bosa is back and turning heads
Bosa was drafted No. 2 overall by the 49ers in this years draft, back in April. Getting on the field just a little bit at the beginning of OTA’s, Bosa suffered a hamstring injury that kept him out the remainder of that camp. Recovered from that early injury, and cleared for camp, Bosa impressed on his first day.
Bitten by the injury bug in 2018, the 49ers want to avoid starting the season with any injuries to their star players. Bosa has been cleared to practice fully, and Defensive Coordinator, Robert Saleh, says there are no plans to ease Bosa into action.
“He’s a full-go. They’re are on a schedule, that the performance staff has done a great job of designing for the entire team, and we’re adhering to it, and we’ll see how it goes.”
Bosa’s first full day of practice was impressive and grabbed the attention of his teammates. Beating veteran Joe Staley in one-on-one drills, Saleh discussed the results from the rookie-veteran matchup at the line:
“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. It’s exciting for him, but he’s still just a bobblehead running around until we get pads on.”
This early in training camp, you don’t see many rookie defensive ends having that kind of success against veteran lineman such as Staley. Post-practice, second-year tackle Mike McGlinchey talked about the 49ers revamped defensive line, and how going up against rushers such as Bosa, Dee Ford, and DeForest Buckner will only make them better.
“We have a couple of rush-ends nowadays with Dee, Nick, Solomon (Thomas) when he’s out there, Arik (Armstead) when he’s out there that are pushing me and Joe and Shon (Coleman) to be our best. Every time you go up against them, you step across the field, it doesnt matter what number you see, they’re going to give you the best they’ve got and its going to be something special.”
Garoppolo’s newest offensive weapons
This offseason, the 49ers added more talent to their offense, creating more depth in areas that were already deep. Their running backs group is healthy and stronger, their wide receiving core is the deepest area on the team, and we know how Kyle Shanahan loves his “Offensive Weapons.”
Deebo Samuel – The 49ers second-round pick in this years draft signed his rookie contract just days before he took the field on Saturday. The former University of South Carolina receiver wasted no time fitting in with the 49ers offense. Known for his 31-yard average on slant routes in college, Samuel did what he does best on Saturday.
Tevin Coleman – Last season was the Matt Breida Show after Jerick McKinnon went down with a torn ACL on the last day of 2018 training camp. Taking the league by surprise, Breida averaged 5.3 yards per attempt, which was good for fourth in the league. In 2019, the 49ers not only have Breida and a healthy McKinnon but have added a former Shanahan back in Tevin Coleman. Deploying a three-headed monster of sorts at the running back position, each of the three backs should complement each other nicely.
“My biggest impression with Tevin, is that he works his tail off. Just from a work standpoint coming in here in the spring, that stood out to me right away. In terms of on the football field, I think he does an incredible job of running the wide zone, pressing his blocks, and the other thing is, that the guy finishes in the endzone. That was one thing i couldn’t help but notice when we were watching Atlanta tape, the guy kept finishing in the endzone.”
Jalen Hurd – Drafting Samuel in the second round of the 2019 Draft, the 49ers doubled-down on receiver, taking Jalen Hurd in the third round. Hurd is a unique receiver, in that (just like Juszczyk) he can serve more than one role in an offense, an offensive weapon. In college, Hurd saw time as a running back and receiver. Now a 49er, the idea of Hurd playing multiple positions is becoming a reality, and that may include some work at tight end at some point. After practice, Juszczyk was asked if Hurd has begun to pick his brain about being an “O.W”:
“He hasn’t yet, I wouldn’t rule it out. He’s swimming a little bit as a rookie, it’s his first time actually being in the huddle and being able to hear plays. He’ll pick it up piece-by-piece, but I wouldn’t be surprised if came my way pretty soon.”
The first day of 49ers training camp is complete. The team will practice again Sunday before putting on the pads for Monday’s practice. Early on, there’s plenty of storylines to watch, and plenty for 49er fans to be excited about, especially the health of the team. Like they always say…” the best ability is availability.”