The Brian Hoyer-to-Marquise Goodwin connection that has been so hot during the 49ers’ intrasquad practices over the last three weeks didn’t cool off Wednesday against the Denver Broncos.
There was Goodwin catching a deep pass against big-bodied cornerack Aqib Talib in one-on-one drills. There he was with a catch over the middle in an 11-on-11 situation. There he was picking up a first down in the teams’ hurry-up drill at the end of practice.
“You look at these bigger corners in the league – they can lock down the big receiver,” Hoyer said. “But when they get some of these little, quicker guys it’s a different skill set. So I think the key is not letting them get their hands on you off the line of scrimmage. And with Marquise’s quickness, he should be able to do that, and I thought he did a good job today.”
The quarterback-receiver chemistry was perhaps the top 49ers’ highlight of a joint practice session that, in the previous two years, has been dominated by a veteran Broncos squad.
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Denver, however, is in the midst of a quarterback competition between Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch, neither of whom stood out during the session.
Lynch, a first-round pick a year ago, misfired badly on several of his throws. Siemian was more consistent but threw an interception when his pass to receiver Jordan Taylor was batted high in the air by cornerback Rashard Robinson and hauled in by safety Jaquiski Tartt.
Last year’s two-day session with the Broncos outside of Denver had several scuffles, including one which left defensive end Aaron Lynch with a black eye.
There was only one Wednesday, sparked by a nasty hit by 49ers rookie safety Adrian Colbert on tight end Steven Scheu during seven-on-seven drills. After Colbert put Scheu on his back with a hard hit up high, players from both teams had to be separated with Broncos coach Vance Joseph and 49ers general manager John Lynch playing the role of peacemakers.
“I went over there and said, ‘Adrian, that’s not how we practice, and we talked about how we’re going to conduct ourselves.’ ” Lynch, a former safety, said later. “And he just said, ‘Hey, I just lost my head. I was just tracking the ball, and the next thing you know he was there.’ And I can’t tell you that I haven’t been there myself. So we kind of sat him out for a little and let things cool down.”
As for Hoyer and Goodwin, that combination has been clicking since the beginning of training camp, but the two have not been able to test their connection against another squad.
Hoyer’s lone pass in Goodwin’s direction Friday against the Kansas City Chiefs fell incomplete. The two were only on the field for two series – seven plays – before Hoyer was replaced by Matt Barkley.
Hoyer said Goodwin has a chance to be special because of his work ethic.
He was one of the receivers who joined Hoyer in Texas this summer for a three days of players-only practices designed to maintain chemistry during the long layoff before training camp.
When coach Kyle Shanahan decided to test his team with a series of wind sprints after a particularly grueling day of practice earlier this month, Goodwin was the first player to cross the finish line at the end, which speaks to his conditioning.
“You talk about a hard worker,” Hoyer said. “I’m out there (after practice) with my family for 30 minutes and he’s still catching balls from the Jugs (machine), running up the hill. That’s the one thing: When you see guys that are really talented who are willing to work that hard, they obviously always have a chance to be something special.”