The good and the bad of Day 12 of 49ers training camp: Trey Lance’s rollercoaster ride continues
SANTA CLARA — Here’s who stood out on Day 12 of the 49ers’ training camp. Keep in mind that Charvarius Ward missed practice with a sprained groin and Emmanuel Moseley missed practice with a sprained hamstring.
1. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk
Caught three passes from Trey Lance – a five-yard check on 1st-and-10, a 15-yard catch on 3rd-and-2, an 8-yard catch on 3rd-and-3 (more on Lance in a minute). Of all the 49ers running backs, Juszczyk is the best receiver and best blocker, which means he should be their third back.
2. Running back JaMycal Hasty
Ran for a 50-yard gain around the left end against the second-string defense. Hasty makes it extremely difficult for the 49ers to release him. He’s too explosive to be on a practice squad. The Rams or Cardinals should claim him if he hits waivers.
3. Tight end George Kittle
Faced Talanoa Hufanga and Tarvarius Moore in 1v1 and beat them both. Also caught two passes from Trey Lance for 11 on 11 seconds. Kittle is in mid-season form. The 49ers just need to keep him healthy. So far, so good.
4. Tight end Ross Dwelley
Faced Talanoa Hufanga and Tayler Hawkins in 1v1 and beat them both. Dwelley should be on the final roster even though the 49ers rarely use him. He’s too good to cut.
5. Tight end Tyler Kroft
Faced George Odum and Tayler Hawkins in 1v1 and beat them both. Also caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Nate Sudfeld. Kroft, Dwelley and Kittle should be the 49ers’ three tight ends.
6. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk
Caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Brock Purdy after beating Qwuantrezz Knight with a fade lane, then caught a 20-yard pass from Lance after beating Ambry Thomas with a breakout lane. Aiyuk has been the 49ers’ best offensive player every day in camp.
6. Tay Martin wide receiver
Caught two 10-yard passes for 11 on 11 seconds. Martin is not explosive, but he is a big possession receiver who is starting to open up. Look for him to be part of the practice squad.
7. Wide Receiver Malik Turner
Caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Nate Sudfeld on 3rd-and-11, and drew a 40-yard defensive pass interference call on a well-thrown deep pass from Lance. Turner will likely make the team if the 49ers retain six wide receivers.
8. Nickelback Samuel Womack
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Took all reps at nickelback with the first-string defense and broke a pass in the end zone intended for Jauan Jennings. Look for Womack to start nickel in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears.
THE NOT SO GOOD
1. Quarterback Trey Lance
Completed just 10 of 20 passes against a defense that lacked its two starting cornerbacks. He also threw a pass which was almost caught by Talanoa Hufanga. So Lance didn’t have a good day. But he had good times and showed improvement, which is more important. Here are the highlights: a perfect 40-yard deep pass that Deebo Samuel dropped, another perfect 40-yard deep pass that resulted in a defensive pass interference penalty, a 20-yard completion to Aiyuk near the line of left touch, a completion of 8 yards. to Jennings on 3 and 6, an 8-yard completion to Juszczyk on 3 and 3, a 15-yard completion to Juszczyk on 3 and 2, and a 20-yard completion to Trey Sermon on 4 and 4 against an all-out blitz. This is when Lance showed growth. A few days ago, Lance was in this situation and he tried to control the running back but was picked. This time, Lance tossed the ball over the defender’s head and hit his hot route for an easy 20 win. It’s clear that Lance is a smart quarterback who learns from his mistakes. He’s also sometimes inaccurate and tends to miss at least one open running back in the apartment a day – today he’s flown Sermon once. That’s why the 49ers will be calling a lot of runs for Lance this season. Today they called four quarterback runs for him. He also scrambled a few times. Don’t be surprised when Kyle Shanahan calls the runs on 3rd down to set up for 4th and runs. He did it today.
2. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel
Got three targets, dropped two passes and made no catches in team drills. One of his drops was a perfectly thrown through ball that hit him with both hands. Another time he ran a fade route against Deommodore Lenoir and couldn’t outrun him. Samuel is a big player, but he looks 5-10 pounds overweight. Hopefully for the 49ers he regains the fitness and drive he had last season.
3. Running back Trey Sermon
Elijah Mitchell and Jeff Wilson Jr. had the day off, so the 49ers gave Sermon 11 carries with the first-team offense and he gained just 40 yards. He also sniffed against Azeez Al-Shaair in a one-on-one lightning pickup drill. Sermon seems to lack guts on contact, which is a problem for an NFL running back. It also lacks explosiveness and speed. Good hands, though.
4. Running back Ty-Davis Price
Lost two yards down the middle on 4th-and-1. Davis-Price is currently fourth on the running back depth chart behind Mitchell, Wilson and Sermon, but it looks like the 49ers want Davis-Price to be their designated back at short distance. He failed in that role today. Which means Deebo Samuel remains the team’s best short-range defender. It is built as such too.
5. Guard Aaron Banks
Made a false start on 3rd and 5th. His season promises to be an adventure.
6. Daniel Brunskill Center
Gave up instant pressure that led to a loss of 5 yards on a run play read by zone. The defensive player tackled the running back while he and the quarterback made the trade. Annoying.
7. Nickelback Darqueze Dennard
Conceded a touchdown take in the end zone to Marcus Johnson, who is unlikely to make the team. Dennard was the starting nickelback the entire offseason, mostly because he’s a veteran, but Womack, the rookie, is better than him.
8. Security Talanoa Hufanga
Broke a pass for 11v11 while playing zone coverage which was impressive but lost all three of his reps for 1v1. He lost to Kittle, Dwelley and Troy Fumagalli, who likely won’t be part of the team. Fumagalli caught a 20-yard pass against Hufanga. It looks easy. Hufanga is a smart player who does a lot of things well, but man-to-man covering isn’t one of them. He’s a liability in man-to-man coverage, and every opponent will be looking for ways to isolate him in the passing game this season. It will be DeMeco Ryans job to protect Hufanga as much as possible.
9. Security Tarvarius Moore
Gave up a long hold to Kittle for 1-on-1. Moore didn’t regain the 4.3 speed he had before his Achilles tear. He might never get it back.