Lance shows off fresh mechanics in first open OTAs practice originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SANTA CLARA — Trey Lance, Sam Darnold and Brandon Allen were the biggest draw of the first open practice of the 49ers‘ organized team activities.
Lance got the first crack at reps on the field followed by Darnold and Allen. While normally that would indicate that Lance was getting the “first team” reps, coach Kyle Shanahan clarified the process after practice.
“I’ll even out,” Shanahan said. “We’ll make sure to get that right. And the first team is kind of funny because there’s no o-line out there and most of our receivers are second and third team on the first team today, so I’m curious what everyone thinks first and second and third team is.”
Finally healthy after rehabbing from both an ankle and finger injury on his throwing hand, Lance seemed to be delivering the football with a tighter spiral while using a more efficient windup and release.
The North Dakota State product connected easily with new targets Ronnie Bell, Brayden Willis and Chris Conley as well as familiar faces in Charlie Woerner, and Christian McCaffrey. After a misfire on a check down to Elijah Mitchell, the quarterback had an extended chat with his head coach and then connected on his next two attempts.
Darnold appeared calm and confident in the pocket connecting with new receivers as targets having only limited experience in the offense. Allen took fewer snaps but still showed good chemistry with the young 49ers receiving corps. George Kittle caught passes from all three quarterbacks during warmups.
The players who were absent from practice were not a surprise to Shanahan, who shared after practice that he had communicated with all of them. Those not in attendance included Nick Bosa, Deebo Samuel, Trent Williams, Javon Hargrave, and Ray-Ray McCloud.
Jauan Jennings was seen running next to the practice field along with Charvarius “Mooney” Ward as practice began. Shanahan explained that both Jennings and Brandon Aiyuk were dealing with tightness and thus were not seen on the field during team drills.
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Aiyuk observed practice while standing next to Fred Warner who did not participate physically in team drills. His voice, however, was heard throughout practice as he cheered on his defensive teammates when they made plays on the field.
Plays by both defensive backs Darrell Luter and Isiah Oliver incited the All-Pro’s fervor. Both defenders had multiple pass breakups and made non-contact stops. On the other side of the ball, Bell was the standout receiver on offense catching passes from each of the three quarterbacks.
– McCaffrey was looking fast, running on the field as though it was a midseason practice.
– Mitchell also was running with power, taking reps from the backfield and as a pass catcher.
– Drake Jackson indeed looks like he put on some muscle mass.
– Deommodore Lenoir now is wearing No. 2 and Ward now is wearing No. 7.