SANTA CLARA – It’s typical that the defense is ahead of the offense in the early days of training camp, especially when a new offense is being installed.
And that was certainly the case on Tuesday as the 49ers held their first padded practice of training camp.
The right side of the 49ers’ offensive line struggled immensely, and quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert and Dylan Thompson could rarely get their feet set in the pocket and were constantly on the run. If the defense were allowed to deliver hits on the quarterbacks, Kaepernick, Gabbert and Thompson would have certainly had plenty of grass stains and bruises.
One estimate had the 49ers’ defense rolling up nine sacks (three shared) among the 43 passes attempted during the 11-on-11 periods. The list of players with would-be sacks (or shared sacks) reads like a roll call:
Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith, Nick Moody, Eli Harold, Corey Lemonier, Keith Reaser, Dontae Johnson, Glenn Dorsey, Shayne Skov, Ian Williams, Quinton Dial, Darnell Dockett and Eric Reid.
Compounding the issues for the offense were the number of dropped passes on those occasions when the quarterbacks were able to deliver passes. Mario Hull, DiAndre Campbell, Derek Carrier, Quinton Patton, Dres Anderson and DeAndrew White all failed to hold onto catchable throws.
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman was given the day off from practice after taking part in the first three practices of camp.
Simpson excused: The 49ers excused wide receiver Jerome Simpson for personal reasons. Simpson also missed practice on Monday. Simpson, who made the best catch of the first four days of camp with a diving effort Sunday night, is in competition for the job as the 49ers' No. 3 wideout.
Hayne’s debut: Running back Jarryd Hayne wore pads for the first time as an American football player on Tuesday. The former Australian rugby league star generally looked good and seemed to handle his assignments with aplomb.
In his very first one-on-one blitz pickup drill, Hayne did a good job of handling Moody, drawing immediate praise from running backs coach Tom Rathman. However, it was not as easy the next time as Philip Wheeler beat him.
Hayne appeared to do an acceptable job of keeping his pad level down on his rushing attempts. He was knocked to the ground once on a running play when Desmond Bishop wrapped him up around the neck and nose tackle Mike Purcell shoved him to the turf.
Hayne did a good job of stepping up and taking on defensive lineman Tony Jerod-Eddie to allow Thompson to complete a pass to tight end Asante Cleveland.
One of the more humorous plays occurred when Kaepernick faked a handoff to Hayne on a bootleg. Hayne clearly was confused as Kaepernick ran around the left side. Hayne was expecting a handoff.
Play of the day: Of course, the play of the day is going to belong to the defense because there was not anything to choose as an offensive highlight.
On the second play of a two-minute drill, Kaepernick looked to the right side for Quinton Patton. However, cornerback Shareece Wright jumped the route to intercept Kaepernick and take it back for a touchdown.
Wright, a four-year veteran who started 27 games the past two seasons with the San Diego Chargers, has just one interception in his NFL regular-season career. Wright also had an interception in the 2013 playoffs.
Depth chart: With Bowman sitting out practice, Shayne Skov worked with the first-team defense at inside linebacker, alongside Moody. . . The 49ers’ first offensive line was the same as it’s been in the first few days of camp with Joe Staley at left tackle, Alex Boone at left guard, Joe Looney at center, Marcus Martin at right guard and Erik Pears at right tackle. The second offensive line was LT Patrick Miller, LG Andrew Tiller, C Martin, RG Brandon Thomas and RT Trent Brown.
This ‘n’ that: The only significant play that the offense made during teamwork came with Gabbert at the controls of the two-minute drill. Gabbert lofted a pass 25 yards down the field to Anderson, who made the catch at the sideline behind Kenneth Acker. . . Rookie Jaquiski Tartt was held out of practice. . . Running backs Reggie Bush and Kendall Hunter were in full pads, but they were held out of contact drills. . . Skov had a good showing, including a sack in which he beat Martin. Two plays later, Skov broke up a Kaepernick pass intended for Chuck Jacobs. . . . During the 49ers’ blitz pickup session, Carlos Hyde looked good against Skov and Desmond Bishop. Bishop worked a good spin move against Trey Millard, but Millard looked better later against Skov. Mike Davis also fared well against Skov but Bishop got him with a blitz move a little later. . . The first padded work of training camp took place at the 49ers’ practice facility with 400 onlookers from team sponsors.
Daily transactions: None.
Returned to practice: LT Joe Staley
Did not practice: LB NaVorro Bowman, S Jaquiski Tartt, WR Bruce Ellington, WR Jerome Simpson, RB Reggie Bush, OLB Aaron Lynch, RB Kendall Hunter, DB Jimmie Ward, WR Issac Blakeney.
Physically unable to perform: C Daniel Kilgore (left leg)
Non-football injury/illness: LB Michael Wilhoite (leg), WR DeAndre Smelter (knee), LB Nick Bellore (illness)
Next practice: The 49ers are scheduled to return to the practice field Wednesday at 6 p.m. The practice will be held at Levi’s Stadium and is expected to draw approximately 40,000 season-ticket holders.