San Francisco's defense had a day, and defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans enjoyed what he saw during the 49ers 11th training camp practice of the summer. San Francisco came out of the session with three interceptions and a number of highlight-reel plays on all levels of the defense.
"Everything we do is about taking the ball away," Ryans said. "That's the main focus as a defense. If we get turnovers (and) if we take the ball away, our percentage and chances of winning that game goes up tremendously. That's always my main focus, how are we attacking the ball? How many turnovers are we getting every day? And we're having fun with it.
"We make sure everybody knows it's all about the ball every play."
Here are a few observations from the session:
- On the next play, Lance was flushed out of the pocket, but found Brandon Aiyuk on the run for a 20-yard gain.
- Lance's best throw of the practice came later that period as he linked up with Deebo Samuel on a deep throw downfield. Samuel edged out rookie corner Ambry Thomas for the over-the-shoulder reception.
- Josh Rosen was the lone quarterback to orchestrate a touchdown drive during red zone work. Both the first and second team offenses were forced to settle for field goals. Rosen's two-play series featured an 11-yard carry by Elijah Mitchell, followed by a wide open touchdown in the back of the end zone by wide receiver River Cracraft in what appeared to be a miscommunication by the defense.
- Quarterback Nate Sudfeld threw a beauty of a pass to Trent Sherfield on a back shoulder catch for a big gain.
- During his next series, Sudfeld was flushed out of the pocket by Kentavius Street and found Cracraft for a 35-yard pickup.
- Defensive lineman Eddie Yarbrough notched a "would-be" sack against Lance.
- Safety Talanoa Hufanga notched his first interception of camp. On a throw from Rosen intended for Nsimba Webster, the rookie leapt in the air for the one-handed grab and picked up a sizable return on the play.
"I was really excited to see the play," Ryans said. "I was excited for him to make that play to continue to build confidence. He's getting better and better each day… I think I jumped up with him when he made that play."
- Another top defensive highlights from the day came on a batted pass by nose tackle D.J. Jones. The ball floated in the air briefly before landing into the hands of Dre Greenlaw for an interception during the first team move-the-ball series.
- Jones also registered a sack during the unit's second move-the-ball series.
- Jason Verrett closed out the first team's move-the-ball period with an interception off of a pass intended for Samuel.
Odds and Ends
- A few faces returned to practice on Wednesday, including wide receiver Jalen Hurd. According to head coach Kyle Shanahan, a few things were "bothering" the receiver, who is coming off of an ACL injury, holding him out for the day.
Hurd's return is worth noting, as Kyle Shanahan discussed how the wideout's lack of availability could be keeping him from a roster spot in 2021.
"It hurts (his chances)," Shanahan said on Tuesday. "I know he's battling back from a serious injury. And we know the potential he has and the upside and how we think he can help us. But he's got to show that. And there's not a lot of time… But hopefully he can get in a groove where he has a chance to go out there and play some football and give himself a chance to make this team."
- After missing several sessions with a groin injury, Armstead returned to practice. He was a limited participant, as it's likely the 49ers will ramp up his workload over the course of the next few weeks.
- Edge rusher Samson Ebukam was spotted on the sidelines working with trainers. Like Armstead, he missed the 49ers last few sessions with leg soreness.