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10 Observations of the 49ers Defense from Day 1 of Joint Practices with Denver Broncos

The San Francisco 49ers took part in a practice with the Denver Broncos in the mile-high city as they prepare to face each other in Week 2 of the preseason.

ENGLEWOOD, COLO. -- The San Francisco 49ers completed their first of two joint practices with the Denver Broncos on Wednesday from the UCHealth Training Center.

Our crew split the field. You can find takeaways from the offense here. Below are the top notes from the 49ers defense. 

1. Gerald Hodges started practice with an interception of Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian during the 1-on-1 period. Hodges tracked a tight end on a short out route and jumped the pass for the takeaway.


2.** In the same drill, Ray-Ray Armstrong had a pass breakup on a ball intended for C.J. Anderson. Jimmie Ward also forced an incompletion with tight coverage on Demaryius Thomas.

3. Lineup notes: Arik Armstead didn't participate in practice outside of doing individual work. Armstead was dressed in full pads but worked off to the side on his own. DeForest Buckner, Mike Purcell and Quinton Dial made up the first-team defensive line on Wednesday. Armstrong got the start at inside linebacker next to NaVorro Bowman.

4. Ronald Blair III had a tackle for loss in the first team period. The rookie defensive lineman received high praise from Bowman and Reid following practice as he continues to impress his teammates. Hodges also posted a TFL in the drill.

5. Reid and Nick Bellore both posted PBUs in a 7-on-7 period. Shayne Skov forced a fumble of Broncos running back Kapri Bibbs during the same session, and fellow 49ers linebacker Jason Fanaika recovered the loose ball.


6.** Buckner impressed in the 1-on-2 lineman drills. Not only did the first-round pick hold his ground against two offensive linemen, he was usually seen pushing one of them into the backfield.

7. The 49ers were able to get consistent pressure on Denver's quarterbacks in the following team period. Fanaika, Chris Davis, Ahmad Brooks, Marcus Cromartie, Garrison Smith, Kenneth Acker and Skov all had quarterback pressures or would-be sacks. Jim O'Neil was not shy about blitzing defensive backs during the drill.

8. Bowman had an emphatic run stop on Anderson during the same period. The linebacker met Denver's running back at the line of scrimmage and delivered as solid of a hit that you'll see in a practice without full tackling.

9. Reid got some work in as a nickel corner with Jaquiski Tartt and Antoine Bethea playing safety behind him.

10. Davis and Skov recorded PBUs during a 7-on-7 red zone drill. Cromartie continued to see reps at safety and broke up a pass in a move-the-ball team period to close practice.

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