The defensive line continues to give the 49ers offense fits
On a day when Deebo Samuel’s return to the offense figured to steal the show, the 49ers’ defense continued to impress. Left tackle Trent Williams summed up training camp perfectly after practice, saying the defense knows the plays and the formations.
Running back, Jeff Wilson Jr. was working off to the side. Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw had a rest day. But other than that, everyone was in uniform. Here’s a recap of the offense, as Jordan Elliott focused on the defense and should fill us in later today.
Off schedule practice
The biggest takeaway from Monday is that Trey Lance got plenty of practice on off-schedule plays. Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey occasionally subbed out with the first team, which allowed the starting defensive line to feast on the backups.
Lance dropped back to throw 15 times and saw pressure on 12 of those. He fled the pocket on four separate occasions and was sacked another couple of times. Lance’s stat line reads that he was 5-for-10 with two touchdowns, a rushing score in the red zone, and an interception.
Lance had to climb the pocket on the interception, where he tried to attempt to hit Kyle Jusuzczyk on a “Fin” (five-yard in) route. He was a bit late seeing 44, and Charvarius Ward, who else, jumped in front of the throw to make a bobbling interception.
The touchdown throw came under pressure. Lance had to evade a rusher, kept his eyes down the field, then found Brandon Aiyuk in the end zone — who was fully extended and secured the catch over Charvarius.
Aiyuk is a player. During 1-on-1’s he juked both Jimmie Ward and Emmanuel Moseley off the line of scrimmage. Aiyuk caught a slant against E-man and mossed Ward on a fade in the end zone. Aiyuk is a superb athlete whose skillset is a perfect match for Lance.
The duo connected on a 40+ yard bomb, which was the day’s highlight. Lance was under duress, stepped up, and launched a pass down the sideline to Aiyuk, who had a step on Moseley. Since the ball was thrown out in front of Aiyuk, he maintained the separation and had an explosive play.
Jake Brendel worked with the starters at center. Spencer Burford continued as RG1. Trent Williams said Burford gave the team a lot of confidence during OTAs, which is why he’s slated as the starter. Trent said the rookie doesn’t get down when he makes a mistake. Jaylon Moore filled in for McGlinchey at right tackle when he was out.
The running game looked a bit better with the pads on, but it’s clear as day the defensive line is a tier or two better than the offensive line. We’re far from hitting the panic button.
Williams praised Aaron Banks and his change in body composition. Williams believes Banks will be able to hit his ceiling now that he’s slimmer.
The running back rotation remained unchanged. Elijah Mitchell is the starter. Trey Sermon comes in after, and that’s followed by Ty Davis-Price, JaMychal Hasty, and Jordan Mason, who had the lone explosive play as he caught a pass split out and likely would have broken for a long gain.
Lance needs consistent platforms so he can fine-tune his mechanics and ensure he builds good habits. Unfortunately, he wasn’t afforded that during Monday’s practice. Either way, Monday was Lance’s best day, and you can see the positive progression he’s having the more he plays.