Coach Chip Kelly on quarterbacks, first look at healthy Kaepernick
The 49ers quarterback competition is, well, a competition. Chip Kelly spoke before the 49ers took the field Sunday and said that the first-team snaps would be "split right down the middle" between Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick, and that's exactly what happened.
Neither stood out from the other during the approximately two-hour sessions. The offense looked sharp overall, but most of the passes were short or to the sideline. Kaepernick's longest was a seam-pattern throw to tight end Garrett Celek. Both finished 7-12 during the team session. If you were splitting hairs, you might note that Gabbert got the first opportunity to throw to the first-team offense.
Kaepernick said he's regained the weight he lost during his injury/recovery period. "I don't look like my high-school self anymore," he said. Indeed, he was noticeably bulkier than he was just a month and a half ago, although perhaps not quite to his pre-injury form.
On the other end of the weight spectrum … Right tackle Anthony Davis looked decidedly slimmer than he was in 2014 when he was last seen on the 49ers practice field. After practice, Davis said he played at 365-370 pounds in 2014, his most recent season. He's now down to 332 pounds.
His physique drew praise from a number of 49ers, including Joe Staley, who has been a target of Davis' on social media. Staley said he's "excited" to have Davis back and signaled that there will be no bad blood between him and Davis.
Davis, of course, missed all of the offseason practices to this point. So naturally, he went through Day 1 of training camp as the right tackle with the third-team defense. Interestingly, that put him next to right guard Joshua Garnett, who had missed most of the offseason program as well. It's not farfetched to think that the two could wind up playing next to each other on the first-team offensive line at some point this season.
Another bit of interesting news came from outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who spoke to the media for the first time since his four-game suspension was announced. Lynch said he was suspended due to an "unreadable specimen" on a drug test due to drinking too much water. He has known the suspension was coming for some time and tried to fight it. Lynch already was in the NFL's drug-testing program when he entered the league due to issues in college.
Finally, safety Jaquiski Tartt pulled a leg muscle while working out recently and will begin training camp on the active non-football-injury list. That's different than the NFI list Ian Williams went on, which will keep Williams out all season. Tartt can return at any time, and his issue is not believed to be long term.
No other players landed on injury lists, although Kelly said defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey (ACL), safety L.J. McCray (knee) and cornerback Will Redmond (ACL) might be held back a bit. Dorsey did not take part in any seven-on-seven or team drills, although the other two did. Redmond lined up as the nickel back with the second-team defense at times; McCray was back at safety with the second-team defense.
Another player who looked a bit slimmed down was Trent Brown, who lined up with the first-team offensive line at right tackle. Erik Pears had been in that spot for most of the spring; Pears, however, was the second-team left tackle on Sunday. Here's how the lines were composed from left to right:
First: Staley, Zane Beadles, C Daniel Kilgore, Andrew Tiller, Brown
Second: Pears, Ian Silberman, C Marcis Martin, Brandon Thomas, John Theus
Third: Colin Kelly, Fahn Cooper, C Alex Balducci, Garnett, Davis
With Williams out, Mike Purcell continued to line up at nose tackle with the first-team defense. He was flanked by Arik Armstead on the left side and Quinton Dial on the right. The other two nose tackles were Garrison Smith (second team) and undrafted rookie Darren Lake (third team).
In the competition to play next to NaVorro Bowman at inside linebacker, Michael Wilhoite took all the first-team snaps on Sunday.
At cornerback, Tramaine Brock and Jimmie Ward continued to be the starters. Except this time, Ward was on the left side and Brock was on the right. Ward also slipped inside to nickel back on obvious passing downs; Keith Reaser -- who came up with seven-on-seven interception of Kaepernick -- played on the outside in nickel packages.
One of the disappointments in spring was that receiver DeAndre Smelter was limited with a hamstring strain. He looked to be full go on Sunday and came up with a catch from Thad Lewis. At 220-plus pounds, Smelter is by far the most powerful receiver on the squad and he looks it when he's on the field. … That being said, DiAndre Campbell may have had the best day among the 49ers' young wideouts.
Fifth-round draft pick Ronald Blair played left defensive end and didn't seem to get any snaps at outside linebacker.
The three players who returned punts were Bruce Ellington, DeAndrew White and Bryce Treggs.