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Desert Workouts Complete; Four Takeaways from Joint Practice No. 2 with the Raiders

For many of the San Francisco 49ers projected starters, Friday's joint practice with the Las Vegas Raiders likely capped off their work in the desert. The team's second workout in Henderson, Nevada was noticeably hotter than Thursday's practice with no early morning rain and cloud coverage to help bring down the heat.

Both clubs cranked the intensity up from Day 1 and enjoyed some healthy banter out on the field over the course of the day.

"I must say, the last two days have been very competitive," defensive coordinator Steve Wilks said. "It was a great opportunity for us to go against someone else. We've been hitting each other for a while. The competition was great, and I am looking forward to the game on Sunday."

Here are the four takeaways from Friday's workout:

The 49ers competition for their next return specialist has kicked into full gear.

Similarly to what we saw on Thursday, the team had wide receivers Ronnie Bell and Willie Snead IV as well as cornerback D'Shawn Jamison in the punt return rotation again on Friday.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan noted that race is open following news of wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud III's broken wrist. The head coach also provided some insight into the qualities he's looking for in his next return specialist. "You have to make sure first and foremost that you've got a guy out there that is comfortable with it," Shanahan said. "We know we have that because Kyle Juszczyk is one of the more comfortable and natural punt return catchers out there, but hopefully, we have a few other guys before our fullback is out there."

Injury and Roster Updates

Rookie defensive lineman Robert Beal Jr. returned to the field in a limited capacity after missing time last week. Between Beal Jr. and the signing of defensive lineman Breeland Speaks earlier this morning, the 49ers added some depth to a defensive line hit by the injury bug as of late and one that is currently without AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa.

As expected, defensive lineman Drake Jackson (hamstring), tight end George Kittle (adductor) and linebacker Dre Greenlaw (hamstring) did not practice but were in street clothes observing the team's joint workout.

Purdy's best plays of the day came in the red zone.

The second-year quarterback found the end zone in back-to-back plays during the team's red zone drills. Purdy rolled right and hit running back Tyrion Davis-Price for the touchdown from seven yards out. The 49ers then set up at four yard line and the 49ers QB1 scored on the quarterback draw.

All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams enjoyed working against Raiders Pro Bowl defensive end Maxx Crosby while in Vegas.

Two of the best at their respective positions had the opportunity to go head-to-head in two-man stunts, one-on-one drills and 11-on-11 drills over the last 48 hours, providing each of them with some "game-type intensity" reps neither has had since the end of the 2022 campaign. The two were seen chopping it up after the workout Thursday, and Williams voiced his admiration of the defensive end.

"Maxx is an outstanding player, one of the best we have in this league," Williams said. "Being able to work with him closely and get some dialogue out, it helped us both out a lot. I have a lot of respect for his game. I'm a big fan of his, so I think it was great work.

"He's definitely good for us, good for the tackles to have. The closest thing we'll get to not only game-speed, but Nick Bosa."

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