The San Francisco 49ers concluded their eleventh day of training camp — here are the latest reports from camp.
On a somewhat relatively relaxed day for the San Francisco 49ers, as the team practiced without pads, it was a busy day in terms of information coming out of the team’s headquarters.
Former cornerback Tramaine Brock — who San Francisco cut this past spring after a domestic violence arrest — had the charges against him dismissed today. This sparked news that the 49ers were looking to bring back Brock, which prompted an official statement from a team representative:
The team is in need of cornerback depth, as the injury bug that has made a home for itself in Santa Clara made its way to the defensive back group. It was announced today that fourth-year cornerback Dontae Johnson will miss Friday’s preseason due to a concussion sustained during Tuesday’s practice. This means the team will be down one of its starting cornerbacks, according to the 49ers’ depth chart.
That same practice Johnson got hurt was also where rookie linebacker Donavin Newsom suffered a frightening injury of his own, resulting in Newsom being taken off the field on a stretcher. It was a scary moment for Newsom and the whole team, with the rookie being knocked unconscious. Today, the 49ers gave an update on Newsom:
Perhaps the biggest headline of the day, San Francisco decided to release veteran offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah. In the offseason, the Baltimore Ravens traded Zuttah to the 49ers in exchange for a swapping of 2017 sixth-round picks (No. 186 went to the Ravens, No. 196 to the 49ers). It was a low-risk, high-reward move for the team, with only late-round picks being swapped and Zuttah coming off a Pro Bowl season.
Zuttah was competing for a starting center spot, but Daniel Kilgore has yet to relinquish his firm grip on the No. 1 spot on the depth chart. And with offensive lineman Tim Barnes looking good at taking snaps from both guard and center, coupled with Zuttah’s uninspiring play, San Francisco found it adequate to part ways.
As for on the field, it was business as usual for the 49ers offense, particularly with quarterback Brian Hoyer. It’s been pretty clear since camp opened up — Hoyer is the team’s best option. He has repeatedly been accurate so far at camp, and today was just the same:
Even there is no drama at the starting position, there may be a battle for backup quarterback brewing. Matt Barkley joined Hoyer as the two free agent quarterbacks San Francisco signed in the offseason, and it was expected Barkley would fill in as the No. 2.
But in the draft, the team opted to add another signal-caller to the bunch with the selection of quarterback C.J. Beathard in the third round.
And it looks like the rookie is doing everything he can to disrupt that expectation of Barkley becoming the 49ers backup quarterback. Per The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami, Beathard has looked the better of the pair:
On the defensive side of the ball, it was rookies too who excelled. Defensive lineman and top pick Solomon Thomas maintained his impressive showing at camp with a dominant day of practice.
According to The Niner Wire’s Rob Lowder, Thomas had a sack, a quarterback pressure and three tackles for loss. The rookie defensive lineman continues to work with the second-team unit behind starter Tank Carradine.
First-year cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon finally got himself into the mix with an interception. It came on a deep ball from Barkley to wide receiver DeAndre Smelter, marking his first forced turnover of camp.
It comes at important time too — with Johnson out indefinitely, it’s between Witherspoon and Keith Raser for the second starting cornerback position.
Some rapid-fire notes:
- Rookie tight end George Kittle is expected to miss the first preseason game due to his lingering hamstring injury
- Offensive lineman Joshua Garnett will have arthroscopic knee surgery on Thursday; head coach Kyle Shanahan hopes for a Week 1 return
- Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster again suffered a minor ankle injury, this time resulting in a simple tape job; Foster was able to finish practice
Stay with us at Niner Noise as we’ll continue to have news and updates as 49ers training camp moves along.