49ers Quarterback Battle an ‘Ongoing Process'

SANTA CLARA – Quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick continued to get an equal share of the first-team repetitions as the 49ers went through their first padded practice of camp.

“It’s just, let’s get some quality reps for both Blaine and Kap, and I think they’ve done a good job taking advantage of that,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly said on Tuesday. “It’ll be an ongoing process.”

While there is no tackling during the team’s padded work, players do hit one another. However, the quarterbacks – as is the case with every team – are completely off-limits to contact.

“So, really, the big determination with those guys will be the preseason games,” Kelly said. “(The games) are going to be huge for those guys.”

There does not appear to be much separation between Gabbert and Kaepernick through three days of practices. In team drills, Gabbert completed 6 of 12 passes and he had issues with three pass attempts batted down by pass-rushers. Kaepernick was 6 of 10.

Offensive play of the day: During the 49ers’ first 11-on-11 period of practice, wide receiver Torrey Smith beat Jimmie Ward, who lined up at left cornerback, on a deep post for a 50-plus-yard touchdown. Gabbert delivered a perfect deep ball.

Defensive play of the day: It came during the one-on-one period early in practice, but it was notable nonetheless. On Monday, receiver Jerome Simpson beat Dontae Johnson on a deep route to catch a touchdown pass from Gabbert. On Tuesday, Gabbert and Simpson tried to re-enact their scoring play from a day earlier, but Johnson ran stride-for-stride with Simpson and made the leaping interception.

Depth chart: The 49ers’ first-team offensive line has not changed during the three days of practices. The first unit has consisted of left tackle Joe Staley, left guard Zane Beadles, center Daniel Kilgore, right guard Andrew Tiller and right tackle Trent Brown. The second O-line was Erik Pears, Ian Silberman, Marcus Martin, Brandon Thomas and John Theus.

The third group was Colin Kelly, Fahn Cooper, Alex Balducci, Joshua Garnett and Anthony Davis. The third unit has potential starters Garnett and Davis, who are behind the rest of the team. Garnett was not allowed to take part in most of the offseason program due to Stanford’s late graduation, and Davis returned to the team on Saturday after sitting out the 2015 season.

Spreading it around: Tight end Je’Ron Hamm caught six passes during 3-on-3, 7-on-7, and team drills. Vance McDonald also had an active day with four receptions. Among the wide receivers, DeAndrew White caught five passes to lead the way. Dres Anderson caught four passes. Shaun Draughn and DuJuan Harris caught four passes apiece to lead the running backs.

This ‘n’ that: Kaepernick’s best throw of the day came near the end of practice when he showed good touch to find tight end Garrett Celek at the sideline over the outstretched arm of Ray-Ray Armstrong. . .

Rookie cornerback Will Redmond, who practices with a brace on his right knee after returning from ACL surgery that ended his college career, made a nice play to bring up a Kaepernick pass intended for White in a one-on-one drill.

Although he did not see many passes thrown his way, receiver DeAndre Smelter made nice grabs in a one-on-one period against Prince Charles Iworah and added another nifty reception in team drills.

During a 3-on-3 drill, the 49ers’ quarterbacks completed their first 12 passes until a Thad Lewis incomplete pass. That session ended with rookie Jeff Driskel dropping in a beautiful pass to receiver Torrey Smith on the sideline between Keith Reaser and safety Jered Bell.

Outside linebacker Tank Carradine dropped into coverage and broke up an underneath pass that Lewis intended for Bryce Treggs.

Inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman broke on a Driskel pass intended for Hamm to knock the ball loose.

Armstrong, Aaron Lynch and Eli Harold batted down Gabbert passes at the line of scrimmage. Nick Bellore broke up two passes in coverage.

Tight end Bruce Miller caught two passes, but he appears to be fitting in nicely as he moves from his primary role of the past at fullback.

“I think the one thing we didn’t know about him is what a real savvy route runner he is and he’s done a really nice job,” Kelly said. “A lot of the things that Bruce had done in the past was just flat routes out of the backfield and maybe an occasional wheel down the sideline, but to be able to operate in the middle of the field and kind of win matchups with linebackers and things like that, he’s really shown a nice knack for that.”

Quote of the day: “It’s OK. I’m not in the conception business" – Kelly upon it being suggested there were a lot of misconceptions about him stemming from his three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Daily transactions: None.

Injury report: Nose tackle Glenn Dorsey (knee) worked with the strength and conditioning staff on a side field. Safety Jaquiski Tartt remains on the active/non-football injury list with a quad strain. He could receive clearance to take part in the 49ers' next practice.

Next practice: After Tuesday’s padded practice that ran overtime at 2 hours, 11 minutes, the 49ers will have their first day off of training camp. The 49ers are scheduled to return to practice Wednesday at 10:25 a.m.

Contact Us