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Camp Chronicles: Offense Finds its Groove on Day 4

Fans were back in the stands at the SAP Performance Facility on Sunday morning for Day 4 of the San Francisco 49ers training camp. The team was without quarterback Brock Purdy as part of his previously outlined throwing schedule. Here are the updates from Day 4 of the team's workouts:

Updates from the coaches:

  • Veteran tackle Trent Williams and running back Christian McCaffrey each took a veteran rest day on Sunday.
  • Head coach Kyle Shanahan provided an update on cornerback Charvarius Ward who did not participate in team drills. His lighter load was on account of a tight abductor muscle.
  • Per the head coach, the team will begin padded practices on Monday after meeting the league requirement of four practices before moving to full gear.
  • There was clarification to Purdy's throwing routine which currently involves two off days following back-to-back throwing days.
  • Shanahan expects to see reduced reps for his fourth quarterback Brandon Allen once Purdy is taken off his pitch count.

Camp Highlights:

  • With Purdy sitting out Sunday's practice, quarterbacks Trey Lance and Sam Darnold alternated taking first-team reps every period.
  • Lance opened up 11-on-11 drills with a nice play-action pass to tight end George Kittle in double coverage.
  • Lance made a good play with his feet, escaping a collapsing pocket and running up the left sideline for a touchdown.
  • Offensive play(s) of the day: wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk racked up four touchdowns during red zone drills. His most impressive score came on a deep crosser from Darnold in which he outpaced the single safety covering him.
  • Defensive play of the day: defensive lineman Drake Jackson flashed his speed and overall athletic abilities during team drills. On an inside linebacker blitz play, the second-year pro peeled off and covered running back Elijah Mitchell some 25 yards downfield. He was able to break up the pass successfully.

Check out photos of the 49ers safeties and cornerbacks from the third day of the 49ers 2023 Training Camp presented by SAP.

Player Feature: WR Brandon Aiyuk

If there was a "Most Valuable Player" award for these first four days of training camp, the honors would undoubtedly go to fourth-year wideout Brandon Aiyuk. He's hit the ground running since returning to Santa Clara from summer break, catching nearly everything thrown his way from the stable of 49ers signal callers.

Aiyuk logged the first 1,000-yard season in 2022, and following the conclusion of the 49ers playoff run, tweaked his offseason routine in an effort to elevate his game heading in his fourth season with San Francisco. According to the wide receiver, his offseason focus was mostly on lower body work, particularly running.

"I'm making my own plan a little bit (this offseason)," Aiyuk said. "I've taken the past few years, and knowing what I need to do, what I want to do and then mixing them together."

The fourth-year pro's commitment to his team and personal development has been described warmly as an "obsession," and it's materialized into a very impressive first few days of training camp.

"Just the way he was all offseason, how much he randomly called (me) talking about football, how much he's working out, how prepared he was when we started in Phase 1 and 2, you can just tell he's excited," Shanahan said when asked how Aiyuk is displaying his "obsession" with the game of football. "The questions he asked (you can tell), he's really into it."

Fellow wideout Deebo Samuel also spoke to the elite level of play he's seen from Aiyuk.

"From Year 1 to now, his confidence level is through the roof," Samuel said. "He walks in and walks out every day like no one can guard him. If you walk out with that type of attitude and take it out to the field, it translates."

Aiyuk's had several highlight-worthy catches since the start of camp and added a few more to the count on Sunday. During the team's red zone drills, he hauled in four touchdowns, and on more than of those scores, went untouched into the end zone.

"I'm just trying to prove myself every day," Aiyuk said. "The defensive backs are not going to stop talking to us, so we have to go out there and prove it to them every single day. We have to prove it to ourselves every single day."

With four practices logged, the 49ers will move forward with their first padded practice on Monday. Aiyuk anticipates the league's reigning No. 1 overall defense is sure to bring the energy in the next phase of camp.

"We expect them to come out flying around and put their pads to use," Aiyuk said.

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