Simply put, San Francisco's defense dominated Tuesday's training camp session. The team returned to practice after having a day off on Monday and the defense picked up where they left off. The 49ers were without a number of starters, as several players are making their way back from injury. Kyle Shanahan addressed the media after practice to discuss the status of those players and other happenings surrounding the team. Here are the takeaways from the session:
- Jordan Reed made his debut and was one the 49ers highlights of 1-on-1 drills. He caught all four of his passes against the 49ers safeties. Shanahan was pleased with the tight end's first full practice with the team.
"It was his first time out there in a while," Shanahan said. "We wanted to ease him back in today. We just gave him a couple of routes in 1-on-1's (and) gave him a couple plays in team - not too much. It was more just to get him out there. When you're out for a while, you've got to go out and get your first practice and take that monkey off your back. Hopefully (we) accomplished that today from his standpoint, mentally. But physically, I thought he was real good."
- Ahkello Witherspoon had a strong day, notching two PBU's during team drills - both on passes intended for Kendrick Bourne.
- Tavon Austin saw an increase in reps as the 49ers are down multiple receivers. The veteran wideout caught passes from Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Mullens, including a 20-yard pickup during 11-on-11 work.
"He came in late, so he was behind the eight ball at first with all the different opportunities and places you can move in our offense," Shanahan said. "The more he learns it, the more you can get thrown in there at all three of the positions. And when you have injuries, that does give you more opportunities at all three spots, instead of just one. I think he's getting a lot better at that. But Tavon's a very talented player who moves very well and I think he gets better and better each day for us."
- C.J. Beathard had one of the most impressive throws of the session. After catching a bad snap, the quarterback dropped back and connected with George Kittle deep up the right sideline for a long touchdown.
- Cornerback Jamar Taylor broke up a quick pass from Garoppolo intended for Kittle. Fred Warner also broke up a pass intended for the tight end during red zone drills.
- Solomon Thomas notched a "would-be" sack against Garoppolo during a team situational drill.
- Jimmie Ward broke up a pass from Garoppolo intended for J.J. Nelson.
- Johnathan Cyprien hauled in an interception on a pass that bounced off Emmanuel Moseley.
- Javon Kinlaw's 6-foot-5 frame batted down a pass from Garoppolo during a "move-the-ball" period.
- Fullback Josh Hokit bulldozed a defender for a touchdown during red zone drills.
- Garoppolo took snaps with the first, second and third team offense during red zone drills. In addition to Hokit, the quarterback threw touchdowns to Kittle, Jeff Wilson Jr. and one to Jauan Jennings in the back of the end zone.
- Tarvarius Moore notched a PBU during red zone drills on a pass intended for Reed.
- D.J. Jones returned to practice after missing multiple days while in concussion protocol, and he might have had the top play of the day. The defensive lineman made an interception on a tipped pass from Mullens and returned the ball near the end zone. Wilson Jr. caught up to Jones and punched the ball out just ahead of the goal line. As you'd except, the defense erupted after the play.
On Saturday, 49ers players took the field for training camp from the SAP Performance Facility.
Odds and Ends
- Relatively good news for rookie Brandon Aiyuk, who went down with an apparent leg injury on Sunday. Shanahan revealed the pass catcher is dealing with a mild hamstring strain. He will be week-to-week.
- Nick Bosa was also a non-participant. Bosa underwent an MRI with what was initially thought to be leg soreness. Instead, the pass rusher is dealing with a muscle strain. He will be week-to-week. It's likely both Aiyuk and Bosa will miss the remainder of camp.
- Dee Ford did not practice on Tuesday. According to the head coach, the edge rusher is dealing with calf irritation and is day-to-day.
- Ross Dwelley (foot), K'Waun Williams (calf) and Ben Garland (ankle) also did not practice on Tuesday.
- Deebo Samuel continues to watch practice from the sidelines as he recovers from a stress fracture in his foot, suffered back in June. According to the head coach, he's hoping to get the second-year wideout back ahead of the season opener.
"We're still hoping he can get back in for Week 1 (but) no, I don't expect him back (to practice) this week," Shanahan said. "We're still hoping on Week 1, but not sure."
- Raheem Mostert did not practice on Tuesday as the running back received a veteran off day.
- With the recent news of Earl Thomas becoming a free agent, Shanahan doubled down on his confidence in the 49ers group of safeties.
"I'm real happy with our safeties," Shanahan said. "Nothing against Earl, but there wasn't interest just because we have our team. We have the guys that we want in their spot. This is how we planned it. We have some good competition there too, with the guys that have been behind them. We're excited about our group."
- Shanahan revealed the team plans to host practice inside of Levi's® Stadium on Friday. The goal is for the team and staff to get acclimated to game situations.
"I don't expect it to be much different, but it gives all of our guys a chance to go through the process of what you'd do in preseason," Shanahan said. "There's a lot of trial and error that you go through in a preseason game that we won't be as patient for in Week 1. So, it gives those guys a chance to do that and hopefully we'll have some clarity with the noise and stuff and we can experiment with how we want to do that too."