ENGLEWOOD Colo. – The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their second of two joint practices with the Denver Broncos on Thursday. Players were in shorts and shoulder pads as preparations continued for Saturday's preseason contest.
Below are the top observations of the 49ers offense from Thursday's practice. You can find defensive notes and takeaways here.
1. There was one significant change to the starting offensive line. Anthony Davis took plenty of first-team reps at right guard. Andrew Tiller took reps as well with the first group, but it's certainly a situation to follow going forward.
2. Colin Kaepernick threw lightly with a member of the equipment staff and also tossed a few passes to Pierre Garçon. The quarterback's participation in team drills remained limited to hand-offs. Kaepernick continued to take ghost reps behind the play during 7-on-7 drills and full-team periods.
3. Bruce Ellington is dealing with an ankle injury and was limited to individual work. DeAndrew White and Bryce Treggs saw additional reps in the slot for the second consecutive day.
4. The 49ers established a solid ground game early in practice. It's always important to keep in mind that evaluating a running game is difficult in a non-tackle practice. That said, the offensive line did a good job creating running lanes for each of San Francisco's ball-carriers.
5.** There were several standout plays during the team red-zone period. Blaine Gabbert opened the drill with a touchdown strike to Quinton Patton. The wideout was lined up split wide to the right and ran a post toward the middle of the field. Patton added some flare to the play with a brief dance in the end zone.
6. Gabbert's hot hand continued with two more touchdown throws to Garrett Celek over the middle.
7. Torrey Smith made back-to-back catches in 7-on-7 against Broncos star cornerback Aqib Talib. The first was a deep crossing route from right to left. Smith made the catch, planted, and reversed course up the right sideline. The next catch was on a post corner near the right sideline. Talib was flagged for a hold on the play, but Smith was able to make a leaping grab anyway. Both passes came from Gabbert.
8. Treggs made a play downfield on a deep crossing route out of the left slot during 7-on-7 work. Gabbert hit Treggs in stride for a 20-yard completion.
9. Then it was Driskel's turn to impress in the same period. The rookie found White near the left sideline on a post corner route with a perfectly thrown ball over the coverage of Broncos safety Justin Simmons. Treggs ran a post corner of his own out of the right slot and mimicked White's grab, this time on the right sideline.
10. Both Gabbert and Driskel had one more long completion each during a team period. Gabbert hit Garrett Celek deep down the middle of the field and Driskel found DiAndre Campbell deep down the right sideline.