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12 Observations of the 49ers Offense from Joint Practice with Texans

The long-awaited joint practice between the San Francisco 49ers and the Houston Texans has come and gone. The competitive session lasted more than two hours and featured a number of top plays from both sides of the ball.

Our crew split the field on Friday. Below are the top observations of how the 49ers offense fared against the Texans defense.

1. Colin Kaepernick did not throw the ball on Friday. The quarterback went through hand off drills during the individual period. He also participated in one team drill, but was limited to two handoffs and one keeper on a zone-read. Kaepernick told the media after practice that he is not concerned about what has been deemed "shoulder soreness." When asked if he'd play in Sunday's preseason opener, Kaepernick said, "I think so."


2.** The offense opened practice with a very efficient 1-on-1 period. Both Blaine Gabbert and Thad Lewis completed their first three pass attempts. The highlight of the drill was a long touchdown pass down the left sideline from Gabbert to Dres Anderson. The quarterback dropped a perfect throw over Anderson's shoulder in tight coverage.

3. Bruce Ellington was the day's top offensive standout. The third-year wideout shook Texans cornerback Kevin Anderson during a 1-on-1 rep out of the slot. Houston's 2015 first-round pick tried to press Ellington at the line of scrimmage, and the 49ers wide receiver had no problem creating separation.

Ellington later caught a touchdown from 15-yards out during the team red-zone period. He ran a crossing route from right to left and Gabbert found him right at the goal line. The 5-foot-9 speedster was a catch machine throughout practice.

4. Lewis' best throw of the day came in the aforementioned red-zone drill. The quarterback threaded the needle between tight coverage and somehow managed to find a sliding DeAndrew White in the middle of the end zone. The third touchdown of the period came from Gabbert to Garrett Celek on a comeback route on the left side of the field.

5. White ran back an impressive punt return against Houston's full-speed coverage team. The receiver made one cut and found open space up the right sideline.

6. Rookie receiver Aaron Burbridge had two impressive catches in traffic, one in the 1-on-1 period and another in a 7-on-7 drill.


7.** A few lineup notes: Joshua Garnett appeared to work exclusively with the second-team offense at left guard. Anthony Davis played with the same group at right tackle. The starting offensive line remains (from right to left): Joe Staley – Zane Beadles – Daniel Kilgore – Andrew Tiller – Trent Brown. 

8. Phil Dawson went 4-for-5 on field-goal attempts on a set of goal posts that were narrower than the regulation measurements.

9. Bryce Treggs made another big play on Friday. Jeff Driskel found Treggs downfield near the left sideline on a post corner route. The undrafted rookie receiver was able to make the leaping grab and keep his feet in bounds.

10. In another team period, Jerome Simpson beat Texans corner A.J. Bouye up the left sideline and hauled in a deep pass from Gabbert. 11.The running backs flashed at the end of practice. First, Pierre Garçon took a carry up the middle, made one cut to bounce the run outside and found open space. Mike Davis had a few catches that went for big gains.

12. The practice ended on a two-minute drill with no timeouts. Each offensive unit was able to move the ball into field goal range as the clock winded down.

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