49ers' tunnel vision: The walk to Kezar's field
The 49ers held their only practice in front of the home fans Wednesday, walking through the same tunnel the original team did and playing on the same Kezar Stadium field.
The conditions – in front of fans and practicing on one field – certainly were different than their eight previous Santa Clara sessions. But the practice itself ran very much like the others this summer. There was some slipping and sliding on the field. But there were no obvious injuries, which has mostly been a theme throughout training camp.
Defensive lineman Arik Armstead (shoulder) was held out of team drills for the second consecutive day. However, that appears to be precautionary and Armstead’s issue – it occurred Sunday – is not believed to be serious. Quarterback Colin Kaepenick also was observed having his throwing shoulder stretched during Tuesday’s practice. But he went through a full practice Wednesday and didn’t seem to be bothered by any soreness.
Neither Kaepernick nor Blaine Gabbert stood out Wednesday, and both struggled to complete passes late in the team sessions. Gabbert completed his first six passes – mostly short passes – but finished 9-14. His best throw may have been an over-the-middle toss to DiAndre Campbell on fourth down, which set up a 47-yard field goal by Phil Dawson. During seven-on-seven drills, he threw a long touchdown to receiver DeAndrew White. The pass, however, only reached White after slipping through cornerback Rashard Robinson’s hands.
Kaepernick also had trouble completing passes in his last drill and nearly was picked off by safety Antoine Bethea. He finished just 3-8 in team drills and also had a couple of bobbled snaps, one from center Marcus Martin. He completed a long, sideline pass to Quinton Patton during seven-on-seven drills and finished 8-15 in that period.
The only touchdown in seven-on-seven red-zone drills came from Thaddeus Lewis, who threw a dart to rookie Devon Cajuste.
Coach Chip Kelly said he would not settle on a starting lineup for Sunday’s preseason opener against Houston at Levi’s Stadium until after the team’s Friday joint practice with the Texans.
“You can say, ‘Hey, this guy is going to start,’ and then he sprains his ankle in Friday’s practice and then you’ve got to reevaluate,” Kelly said. “So we’ll wait until after Houston’s practice to evaluate everybody at every position because you don’t know where you’re going to be until you get there. So, normal weeks you kind of understand what you’re going to get from a practice situation, but because we get that practice with Houston, we won’t do anything until after that practice.”
Ray-Ray Armstrong worked with the first-team defense at inside linebacker. Nick Bellore and Michael Wilhoite were paired with the second-team group while Shayne Skov and Gerald Hodges worked with the third-team group. Bowman said he expected that whoever starts the third preseason game next to him will be
Hall of Famer Charles Haley spent his third practice working with 49ers defensive linemen.