Following a day off on Wednesday, San Francisco 49ers training camp reopened with wide receiver Kendrick Bourne making the most of his red-zone chances. Niner Noise breaks down Thursday’s action.
Shanahan could elect to keep both, of course. But with so many options at the position, and many of his receivers showing some solid prowess in training camp, it’s likely he’ll have to decide between Matthews and Bourne.
Bourne was one of the standouts during Thursday’s practices, particularly in the red zone.
According to Niners Nation’s Rob Lowder, Bourne dominated each one of his 1-on-1 red-zone reps. Considering all four of Bourne’s touchdowns last year came within the red zone, it’s reassuring to know he’s continuing that trend during training camp this year.
Especially knowing the Niners finished dead last in red-zone touchdown efficiency a year ago, despite Bourne’s efforts.
Matthews stood out earlier this spring, making impressive grabs of his own during organized team activities. But there hasn’t been as much news on him during training camp, which is a good sign for Bourne’s chances to make the 53-man roster.
Offense Bounces Back
For most of training camp so far, the 49ers defense has been the dominant force, stuffing a majority of rushes and frustrating quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Co.
Yet the offense bounced back on Thursday. On one red-zone drill, Garoppolo hit wide receiver Dante Pettis for what the Sacramento Bee’s Chris Biderman termed the “best throw during the session:”
Garoppolo has been up and down for most of training camp so far. This, however, combined with the Niners’ previous red-zone issues last season, appears to make what could look to be a solid improvement in 2019 if the trend carries over.
Garoppolo was 10-of-14 on the day, per Biderman.
On another throw, Garoppolo hit wide receiver Richie James for a nice touchdown pass. Like Bourne, James is coming on hot this training camp and is locked in a battle for slot receiver duties alongside fellow wideout Trent Taylor.
Mitch Wishnowsky Keeps Up the Impressive Booting Skills
It’s probably time for 49ers fans to let go of the fact the team used a fourth-round NFL Draft pick on Utah punter Mitch Wishnowsky. Was it a reach? Probably. Is it going to make a big difference and help the defense? Probably, too.
Wishnowsky has already impressed enough during training camp, as Niner Noise’s Aaron Tan‘s on-site observations pointed out.
And the rookie’s efforts are staying exactly the same, too, according to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Lee Chan:
Coffin-corner punts, especially those with good hang times, are often more important than mere yardage, which is frequently the stat average most people look at.
It seems as if Wishnowsky is having zero trouble in that department.
Joshua Garnett to be Out for Three to Four Weeks
Offensive guard Joshua Garnett had surgery on his dislocated finger, per Shanahan (h/t NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco), and is expected to be out for three to four weeks. That’ll put Garnett right up against the 49ers’ final preseason game, which doesn’t bode well for chances of making the 53-man roster.
Garnett, who has dealt with injuries in training camp last year and in 2017, seems likelier to miss the cut by Week 1 now.
Buckner’s injury is considered minor, so there’s not much to worry about there.
San Francisco will be back at it again for training camp on Friday, Aug. 2 outside Levi’s Stadium.