SANTA CLARA — Sometimes, a day off is needed. But other times, it causes a little rust, and that’s what it did for the 49ers’ offense on Day 8 of training camp on Friday.
There were multiple pre-snap infractions by the offense, including one play where nearly everyone on the offense committed a false start except center Daniel Brunskill, who had still not snapped the ball.
Quarterback Trey Lance had a solid day outside of the penalties, completing seven out of his 10 passes in 11-on-11 drills and two of his three attempts in move-the-ball work. Elijah Mitchell was the primary ball carrier on run plays, but Jeff Wilson Jr. was also seen with the first team.
One stark change on Friday was George Kittle emerging as Lance’s No. 1 target. The All-Pro tight end caught all three passes from Lance in 11-on-11 work and a fourth in move-the-ball drills. Most of Kittle’s catches were contested, which is something he has been seen working on prior to team drills.
Dre Greenlaw was the most oft-seen linebacker matched up with Kittle, and while the fourth-year defender allowed the completions, there were little or no of Kittle’s patterned yards after catch.
Brandon Aiyuk, who has been Lance’s leading target throughout training camp, had a quiet day. While the Arizona State product was on the field for several plays, sometimes alongside both Deebo Samuel and Jauan Jennings, he was not targeted.
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Other training camp notes on Day 8;
– Trey Lance’s best play might have been a run up the middle while no defenders were within 8-to-10 yards of the quarterback. It wasn’t a dynamic run, but the quarterback stayed in the pocket and only ran as his last possible choice.
– One-on-one blocking/pass protections drills might have been the most exciting portion of practice. Offensive skill players went up against defensive backs and linebackers attempting to protect the quarterback.
– Watching Jimmie Ward face George Kittle as a blocker were highly intense moments, but the most notable play might have been Talanoa Hufanga’s spin move on tight end Troy Fumagalli, which allowed the safety to “sack” the quarterback.
– The competition for the starting center position continues. Daniel Brunskill saw more time with the first team, while Jake Brendel was on the field with Nate Sudfeld. Before practice, coach Kyle Shanahan shared that the team is comfortable with who they have on the roster and will not look for replacements for Alex Mack on the open market.
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