ENGLEWOOD, Col. – The 49ers appeared a lot more crisp in their second and final practice against the Denver Broncos.
In a 90-minute practice Thursday in which players on both teams wore shoulder pads and helmets, the 49ers had a new look on the offensive line.
Anthony Davis, who started all 71 games of his career at right tackle, saw some time with the first-team offense at right guard. He said he went to offensive line coach Pat Flaherty and volunteered for the position change.
Davis took part in the first two offensive snaps of each 11-on-11 team period before Andrew Tiller replaced him. Davis worked eight snaps of first-team drills.
Blaine Gabbert took all of the first-team reps and completed eight of 13 pass attempts, including three touchdown passes in a red-zone drill. Gabbert threw two scoring passes to tight end Garrett Celek and another to wide receiver Quinton Patton.
“We were clicking,” Gabbert said. “I think we missed maybe one throw, but for the most part guys were running hard, the offensive line did a tremendous job blocking up front. Just delivered the ball on time, and guys were making plays.”
The 49ers’ offense struggled on Wednesday against the Broncos’ pass defense. But everything seemed to run smoothly a day later, as the teams prepare for an exhibition game Saturday night.
“It helps the young guys elevate their level of play,” Gabbert said. “It helps everybody rise to the occasion. They’re the reigning Super Bowl champs, so you want to come out here and compete against the best. I think we did that pretty well the last two days.”
Kap watch competition: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick was held out of 7-on-7 and team drills, but he was seen making more than 40 throws to assistant equipment manager Donovan “Doc” Dressler during special-teams periods. Kaepernick threw a couple passes to running back Carlos Hyde, with one of them slipping through his hands.
Kaepernick threw 19 passes to Dressler of 25 yards. Then, when the horn blew, and Kaepernick and the offense was needed on another field, Kaepernick ran to his left and threw a 10-yard dart across his body to Dressler.
Coach Chip Kelly said Kaepernick will not play Saturday. The plan, Kelly said, is for Kaepernick to get a full week of work next week and play against the Green Bay Packers on Friday, Aug. 26, at Levi’s Stadium.
Tank impresses: The past two days featured strong showings from outside linebacker Tank Carradine. He and Ronald Bair teamed up for a sack in a red-zone drill. He recorded another in a team drill, and he badly beat Broncos tackle Kyle Roberts in a pass-rush drill.
“I’m pretty fired up,” Carradine said. “There are still some things I need to work on, but so far I’m OK with it. I can always be better, but I think I’m going in the right direction.”
This ‘n’ that
--Rookie quarterback Jeff Driskel completed six of 11 passes in team drills with two sacks and an interception on his final pass attempt of the day. Newly signed quarterback Christian Ponder did not attempt any passes in team drills.
--Hall of Famer Charles Haley is expected to be with the 49ers for another week. He has been helping out Keena Turner, who oversees the 49ers’ player engagement program. Haley has also been working with the pass-rushers on the field during practices.
“Charles can do whatever he wants,” Chip Kelly said. “I’m serious because I’m not telling him he’s got to leave.
“I think he’s really been an invaluable tool for us just because of the experience he has. He has a unique way of presenting it where he’s kind of funny, but I think when he gets really serious about pass rush there’s some tremendous amount of knowledge in what he has in his success in this league, his ability, that everybody recognizes, which is why he’s in the Hall of Fame. If he can impart some of that on some of our young guys, we want to have him around as long as Charles wants to be around.”
--Defensive lineman Arik Armstead (left shoulder) and outside linebacker Aaron Lynch did not participate in practice. Lynch was poked in the eye during practice Wednesday, the Mercury News reported.
--Wide receivers Bruce Ellington (ankle) and DeAndre Smelter (hamstring) sat out practice. Ellington sustained a mild ankle sprain against the Houston Texans on Sunday night. Smelter has missed a week of work, but the 49ers expect him to be available before the end of the exhibition season.
--There were five 49ers-Broncos brief skirmishes during the joint practice. None of the shoving matches caused much of a delay during the session.
--Gabbert hit Torrey Smith deep on back-to-back throws during a 7-on-7 drill.
--During one-on-one pass-rush drills, Anthony Davis handled Jared Crick while playing guard, and Trent Brown did a good job against Von Miller. Broncos defensive tackle Kyle Peko got past center Marcus Martin, and defensive end Billy Winn used a swim move to elude Tiller. On the other side, Denver tackle Donald Stephenson shoved down Corey Lemonier.
--Cornerback Kenneth Acker intercepted rookie Paxton Lynch on a deep throw during 7-on-7.
--In the final team sessions, Ahmad Brooks and Eric Reid recorded sacks. And Broncos receiver Jordan Taylor went up to catch a deep ball on Jimmie Ward.
Next up: After two consecutive joint practices, the 49ers and Broncos will play Saturday at 6 p.m. (PT) in the second exhibition game for both teams.
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