49ers Training Camp: Latest Buzz & Rumors for San Francisco

Jun 8, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers linebackers huddle during minicamp at the San Francisco 49ers Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 8, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers linebackers huddle during minicamp at the San Francisco 49ers Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Francisco 49ers are off and running on their 2016 training camp. After the rookies and veterans reported on Saturday, the practices got going yesterday and today. Per NFL rules, these practices were without pads, and tomorrow’s session is the first they are allowed to wear pads. So what has happened so far? Who has stood out? Who has fell? What are the experts saying?

In the first practice yesterday, quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick split reps 50/50 in 24 first-team practice plays of 11-on-11 drills, with Kaepernick completing six of nine passes and Gabbert seven of nine passes, per Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area. Kaepernick was the only one to throw an interception, when cornerback Keith Reaser jumped a Quinton Patton route.

Reaser was a practice standout on Day 1, per Taylor Price of 49ers.com. His interception would have been a pick-six, and he also recorded a pass breakup. Cornerback Dontae Johnson and inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman also recorded PBUs.

Tramaine Brock and Jimmie Ward worked as the first-team corners, with Chris Davis playing in the slot. Michael Wilhoite practiced alongside Bowman, and Mike Purcell worked at nose tackle per Price.

For the offense, Trenton Brown lined up at right tackle and Andrew Tiller at right guard during first-team reps. Recently reinstated tackle Anthony Davis and first-round draft pick Joshua Garnett practiced on the third-team. Tight end Garrett Celek took first-team reps.

Davis looked very good and much lighter in the first practice, per Grant Cohn of the Press Democrat:

"RT Anthony Davis. Looked significantly trimmer than he did before he retired. Said he used to weigh 365 pounds and now weighs 332. Looks much lighter than 332. Played with the third-team offense during practice and primarily blocked Tank Carradine. Davis dominated this matchup. Carradine simply couldn’t beat him."

Bruce Ellington also had a good first day of practice, and he was featured on third-and-medium downs, and beat Ward twice for first downs, per Cohn. Ellington also split time with DeAndrew White and Bryce Treggs on punt return drills, with White muffing one punt.

For Day 2, it was the defense who stood out. Defensive end Arik Armstead blew through the line on one play and crashed into running back Carlos Hyde which caused him to fumble, per Maiocco:

"The 49ers do not tackle during practices, but Armstead had such momentum built up he could not avoid hitting Hyde. Several plays later, Armstead again got into the backfield to stop a run play during a session designed for run and play-action passes."

Armstead was the best player on the field according to Cohn. In addition to the forced fumble, he also recorded three tackles for loss during 11-on-11 drills.

Ward also had a good session, intercepting a Gabbert pass intended for Ellington when playing in the slot.

“That’s a correction that was made,” Ward said via Maiocco. “They beat me on that route yesterday.

“Basically, I just disguised my coverage. We were in man coverage, man free, I just disguised and kind of confused the quarterback. Then, I jumped outside to the leverage I was supposed to have. I knew where my help was, and he ended up throwing me the ball.”

Quinton Dial took first-team reps at nose tackle in between Armstead and DeForest Buckner.

Wide receiver DeAndre Smelter also had a good day of practice, making catches on Ward and Kenneth Acker on quick slant routes and moved up to the first team, according to Cohn:

"WR DeAndre Smelter. Played split end and made three catches during team drills. First, he beat Jimmie Ward with a quick slant. Then, he beat Kenneth Acker with a quick slant. And then he caught a tunnel screen pass thrown by Colin Kaepernick. By the end of practice, Smelter was playing with the starters. He seems to be Quinton Patton’s primary competition for the starting split-end job."

Gerald Hodges took first-team reps at inside linebacker next to Bowman and defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil said Ray-Ray Armstrong will get the first-team reps tomorrow, but no decision will be made about who starts there in the regular season until the padded practices are completed, per Joe Fann of 49ers.com.

More from Niner Noise

The 49ers offense concluded practice with separate team sessions in which the team ran 18 plays in each session, with the emphasis on speed per Maiocco:

"The 49ers concluded practice with separate team sessions in which the team ran 18 plays in each session. It took the 49ers just seven minutes to run those plays – or approximately 2 ½ snaps every minute. Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick both appear to have a good grasp of the offense, as both were seen directing players to different sides of the field when they lined up incorrectly. Kaepernick completed 8 of 10 during team drills, while Gabbert connected on 6 of 9 in the 11-on-11 work."

Kaepernick outplayed Gabbert on Day Two, per Cohn, with Kap completing 16-of-20 passes with no interceptions and Gabbert only completing 14-of-23 passes with an interception during team drills. He also had issues getting the ball past the first-down marker, which is concerning:

"On third down, he completed only one pass and threw short of the first-down marker three times even though it was a 7-on-7 drill and there was no pass rush."

We have seen two very even days between the offense and the defense, with good moments for both units at certain points.

Tomorrow we will get a clearer picture of what is really going on and who looks the best (and the worst) when the pads are worn for the first time in camp. We will finally get to see some real hitting and see who has been holding back waiting for the pads to be allowed.

Next: Why 49ers Fans Should Expect a Big Year from 49ers Defensive End Arik Armstead

All statistics, records and accolades courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com and Sports-Reference.com unless otherwise indicated.