Practice continued on Monday at San Francisco 49ers training camp with another competitive, 90-minute session. Defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil spoke to reporters prior to practice and shared a glimpse of what to expect in terms of lineups.
Here are the top observations from what transpired at the SAP Performance Facility.
1. As O'Neil alluded to, Gerald Hodges started next to NaVorro Bowman at inside linebacker. Michael Wilhoite started on Sunday and O'Neil said that Ray-Ray Armstrong will take the first-team reps on Tuesday.
The defensive coordinator made it clear that no one would win the starting job until pads come on.
2.** Arik Armstead had a very nice practice on Monday. In the opening team period, San Francisco's 2015 first-round pick blew up two running plays in the backfield. On Pierre Garçon's first carry, Armstead was through the offensive line and in his face the instant he took the handoff. Armstead ended the period with another run stop behind the line of scrimmage, giving him three so far in camp. Ronald Blair III and Keith Reaser were two other 49ers who made noticeable plays in the backfield during the period.
3. Bruce Ellington, DeAndrew White, Bryce Treggs, DuJuan Harris, Chris Davis and Mike Davis all got at least one rep during the kick return portion of practice.
4. Jimmie Ward opened a 7-on-7 period with a pick-six. The play was very similar to his interception against the Chicago Bears in 2015. Ward jumped a pass intended for Ellington near the right sideline and took off towards the end zone. Reaser and Nick Bellore also recorded pass breakups in the period.
5. Some lineup notes: Garrett Celek saw first-team reps at tight end after Garrett Celek worked with the starters on Sunday. At one point, the 49ers also deployed a starting defensive line of DeForest Buckner – Quinton Dial – Armstead (from left to right). Ward saw some snaps at nickel corner in addition to his work split outside. Armstead and Buckner lined up as the two defensive linemen in the same nickel formation.
6. The offensive play of the day came during 7-on-7. Blaine Gabbert found Jerome Simpson deep down the left sideline for a touchdown on a play-action pass. The 40-yard throw stands as the longest completion through two days of camp.
7.** There are always one or two things that catch your eye each day that put the speed of Chip Kelly's offense into perspective. During one team drill, Simpson made a diving attempt on a pass deep downfield. When the pass fell incomplete, Simpson popped up off the grass and sprinted back to the line of scrimmage for the next play. There's no time to be wasted in between snaps. That should help players keep a short memory during games in 2016.
8. Reaser continued his strong practice by recognizing a screen pass and quickly getting in position to apply a two-hand tag on the wide receiver. In the same period, Davis recorded a PBU on a pass over the middle intended for Ellington.
9. DeAndre Smelter caught a pass on a wide receiver screen to the left side and showed nice burst after the catch. Celek did well to seal off the sideline while Joe Staley pulled to lead the first-year receiver up-field.
10. The 49ers had a special guest at practice. Condoleezza Rice, the 66th United States Secretary of State, was on hand in Santa Clara to take in Monday's session. The U.S. political scientist and diplomat was a guest of 49ers senior analyst Dana Bible. Rice spoke with Kelly and Trent Baalke prior to practice and joined the team huddle at the conclusion of the day.