The bleachers at the SAP Performance Facility were empty for the San Francisco 49ers third training camp practice with Taylor Swift's Eras Tour rolling through Levi's® Stadium this weekend. Here are the updates from Day 3 of the team's workouts:
Updates from the coaches:
- Run game coordinator/offensive line coach Chris Foerster spoke on how second-year running back Tyrion Davis-Price has taken a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2 and made stride in his open field running.
- Foerster was enthusiastic about offensive lineman Aaron Banks' continued growth and stated the third-year offensive lineman hasn't skipped a beat over the offseason.
- Foerster shared the story of how he and Trent Williams spent time breaking down tape during the playoffs to tweak and perfect the offensive tackle's game in the extended season.
- Quarterback Brock Purdy continued to take first-team reps in Friday's practice and is looking more comfortable and in sync with his pass-catchers in his second practice back. He connected with a number of receivers including Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey and Brandon Aiyuk.
- Purdy flashed his arm strength for a second-straight day, taking a deep shot intended for rookie tight end Cameron Latu.
- Biggest offensive play of the day: Sam Darnold hit wide receiver Jauan Jennings on a crossing route, and despite some sticky coverage from the defense, made an impressive one-handed catch.
- Biggest defensive standout of the day: Cornerback Isaiah Oliver makes a splash in Day 3, nearly notching two interceptions during team drills.
Check out photos of the 49ers defensive line from the second day of the 49ers 2023 Training Camp presented by SAP.
Player Feature: S Tashaun Gipson Sr.
It's not uncommon for a team's defense to outpace the offense at the start of camp, so it's not surprising that the league's reigning No. 1 overall defense came in 2023. Over the course of the last 72 hours, we've seen the unit notch their first interception, break up a number of deep-ball pass attempts and remain sticky in their coverage.
A big reason for the unit's energetic first few days of camp is a revamped defensive line. The group now boasts one of last season's top pass rushers in former Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave. The team also added former 2019 first-round pick Clelin Ferrell and saw sophomore D-lineman Drake Jackson return to camp bigger and stronger from his offseason training.
"When I say I haven't been around a group like this, that's what I mean, a group," defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. "We have depth, and it's not when one guy comes out that you feel like, okay, we're going to drop off. No, not at all. So, the depth that we have across the board, inside and out, man, that's what I'm talking about."
Beyond the defensive front, San Francisco has been able to retain the dynamic safety duo of veteran Tashaun Gipson Sr. and third-year pro Talanoa Hufanga – something that was up in the air throughout at least a portion of the offseason.
"Life outside of football becomes a little more important (as you get older)," Gipson Sr. said. "I have three kids now. My kids are getting older and more active in sports.
"It gets tough missing stuff, but I love the game of football so much. I sat down, and it was a no brainer. I still felt like I had something left in the tank."
Gipson Sr. is set to enter his 12th NFL season, his second with the San Francisco 49ers, and seriously contemplated retirement after the conclusion of the team's playoff run. His decision to return had plenty to do with his teammates, the organization and some unfinished business.
"A Super Bowl," Gipson Sr. said when asked about what he hopes to accomplish. "Being so close last year, obviously we know how that game ended. We've heard about it all offseason. But being able to win a Super Bowl, and it's not often that you are able to play on a team like this."
The veteran safety's first few days of camp have been productive and his biggest play came on Thursday when he recorded the team's first pick of camp.
In addition to shutting down explosive plays from opposing offenses in 2023, Gipson Sr. is working to become a more vocal leader in the team's secondary. He was influential in Hufanga's second-year development and looks to have a similar impact on the rookies and new faces on the roster.
"Being a vocal leader for these young guys is huge," Gipson Sr. said. "You've got to be able to tell these guys and coach these guys up. That's my job to coach these guys up... Hearing me be more vocal is beneficial for those guys. Those guys look up to guys like myself, and it's a blessing to coach those guys up. They give me their ear to listen. They want to get better, and I'm here to help them get better."