It's that time of the year again where we get brief glimpses of the latest iteration of the San Francisco 49ers and ready our hottest hot takes for how things might play out in 2018. Tuesday's practice was the medias first glimpse of the new squad as the 49ers have entered the first week of OTAs.
Here are all of the happenings from the SAP Performance Facility. I want to follow my half-joke in the first sentence with the necessary disclaimer that all of these notes should be read with the knowledge that we're still more than two months away from training camp.
1. Richard Sherman was about as integrated into practice as one could possibly be without actually participating. The veteran defensive back was communicating constantly with his younger counterparts. At one point, Sherman was on the field showing proper technique during individual drills. During full-team periods, Sherman was locked into every snap. He'd celebrate good plays and had a high five ready for every teammate who returned to the sideline.
This isn't a surprise as Sherman is clearly taking his role as a mentor very seriously. We already knew that he treated all of the defensive backs to dinner and organized a group go-kart outing. Tuesday was our first look at how Sherman interacts with his teammates on the field.
2. The starting defense went as follows.
DL – Arik Armstead, Earl Mitchell, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas.
LB – Eli Harold, Malcolm Smith and Korey Toomer.
CB – Jimmie Ward and Ahkello Witherspoon.
S – Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert
No real surprises there. Toomer is starting with Reuben Foster still away from the team and Brock Coyle rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery. Ward is starting with Sherman out until training camp. As indicated earlier this offseason, Thomas could start at LEO on base downs before moving inside on passing situations.
3. Jerick McKinnon opened up the first full-team period with a big run on a stretch play to the left. McKinnon was very active throughout practice and caught several short passes from Jimmy Garoppolo.
4. Garoppolo hit Marquise Goodwin on several occasions. The two warmed up together during the first special teams period. They then connected on a pass deep down the middle of the field in full-team work. Goodwin made a leaping grab after running a deep crossing route from left to right. The other big play between the two came during the 7-on-7 period. Garoppolo found Goodwin 30 yards down the right sideline.
5. Any small sliver of doubt has been eliminated immediately: Mike McGlinchey will be the team's starting right tackle in 2018. He got all the first-team reps on Tuesday. That's less of a surprise and more of a confirmation as to what everyone expected.
6. The 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 pass-rush drills were very entertaining. Both Thomas and Buckner stood out. Thomas beat Joshua Garnett twice in a row before doing the same to Najee Toran. Buckner also beat Garnett twice in a row.
McGlinchey and Jullian Taylor had two competitive reps against one another. McGlinchey stood up Taylor on the first rep while Taylor got the better of the first-round pick on rep No. 2. Taylor followed with a win against Pace Murphy.
Finally, Joe Staley and Laken Tomlinson vs. Arik Armstead and Cassius Marsh was a fun matchup. The o-linemen won Round 1, but Marsh beat Staley inside to win Round 2.
7. Tartt and Mark Nzeocha both had pass breakups.
View the top images from Monday as the 49ers took the field for their first day of organized team activities.
8. Jonathan Cooper, Trent Taylor and Ronald Blair all missed practice due to injury. Shanahan noted that Cooper will be out until training camp. That gives Garnett a huge opportunity to get reps with the first-team offense at right guard. Dante Pettis got extra reps in the slot with Taylor out. Shanahan called Taylor "week-to-week."
9. Some top plays from the final team period:
- Buckner and Jeremiah Attaochu combined for a sack of Garoppolo during the final team period.
- Garoppolo found George Kittle on a quick-hitter over the middle.
- C.J. Beathard completed a long play-action pass to Victor Bolden Jr. down the left sideline.
- Beathard fit a pass into a tight window over the middle to Kendrick Bourne.
- Sheldon Day tipped a Beathard pass at the line of scrimmage.
- Garoppolo sidestepped to his left to avoid pressure and found McKinnon over the middle. "Jet" had room to run in front of him in what would have been a sizeable gain.
10. Rookie defensive back D.J. Reed got some work in at free safety in addition to nickel corner.