25,319 fans came out to Levi’s Stadium today to watch the San Francisco 49ers’ eighth practice of training camp. Though they saw positives out of the red and gold, the main story of the day is the loss of Malcolm Smith, who is out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle, as reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport.
Smith left practice with a chest injury that happened during team drills, as Smith was running down running back Matt Breida and he hit Breida’s helmet. 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan knew it was bad news when he spoke to the media after practice about both Smith and offensive lineman Joshua Garnett’s knee.
“Neither of them are good news, that’s for sure,” said Shahanan. “But, we’re still holding out hope that they can help us this year.”
This is the tough part of football, but at linebacker, it’s next man up time for rookie Reuben Foster, who will find himself a starter sooner rather than later.
For Garnett’s part, Shanahan said there are things that need to be “cleaned up” in his knee.
Eight days into training camp, and there is no doubt that Brian Hoyer is going to be a good fit for this team – at least for 2017. He continues to be sharp and has clearly developed chemistry with his wide receivers, especially Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garçon, both of whom are also having impressive camps.
“They’ve put in a lot of work,” said Shanahan. “They did it in OTAs right when we got here. They got it when the coaches got away for five weeks, and when they were on their own I know they met and worked…I think all three of them have developed confidence with each other, and it hasn’t been fake because it’s been through their preparation at work that they put in.”
Hoyer completed the majority of his passes today, including a touchdown pass to Goodwin to end practice. I dared to say it yesterday and I’m flat out saying it today, Brian Hoyer is going to surprise people.
One of the surprises of camp has been the aforementioned Breida. The undrafted rookie running back had a number of good runs today, including a diving catch from C.J. Beathard.
“Matt came in here as an undrafted guy so he’s coming in with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder,” said Shanahan. Since the first day he got here he’s attacked everything. The weight room, to the film room, and on the field. It’s good to see some of that pay off today for you guys.”
And speaking of Beathard, it is becoming more and more apparent that he and Matt Barkley are battling it out for the QB2 spot. They have had pretty even reps at practice, and although Beathard has had ups and downs, he has, more often than not, looked sharper than Barkley.
“We evaluated both through OTAs, wanted to see if [Beathard] be ready to run with the twos a little bit more in training camp and he earned that through our 10 OTA practices and the mini camps…,” said Shanahan. “After we finish it all, we go back and watch the tape and try to reevaluate it. We knew coming into training camp that it was what he had done at OTAs, he earned the right to compete for that two spot.”
This competition will be one to watch come next week’s preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Home is Where the Heart Is
Even though it was practice, today marked Shanahan’s first time coaching at Levi’s Stadium as the head coach of the 49ers. As someone who grew up around the 49ers and a 49ers fan, it means even that much more.
“I didn’t totally know what to expect today, but it was real cool,” said Shanahan. “…I drive in every morning and on the wall I see ‘Faithful Then and Faithful Now’ and I always think about that because that’s how I used to always feel back in the day. I grew up a fan of two teams. I was with the Broncos when I was real young, then it became the Niners going into middle school and high school….[I]t’s like ‘Wow I am back here.’ I kind of feel that a little bit each day. You would think it’s worn off some, but getting into the stadium today and seeing all those fans out there was real cool. Got a lot of old feelings and it was neat to be around the Niner Faithful again.”
The Niners have the day off tomorrow and then it’s back to the grind on Monday.