49ers camp observations: Two solid drives follow slow start to practice

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49ers' offense bounces back after slow start to Day 9 of camp originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers' offense got off to a slow start but eventually flashed their potential with a nice drive on Day 9 of training camp.

The club had one of its longest practices on Saturday in front of a large crowd of fans. Trey Lance and Co. struggled at the start of 11-on-11 work, registering only two completions in his first seven attempts.

The chemistry that the young quarterback showed with George Kittle just one day prior was slow to build as the two did not connect on their first two attempts. One pass was deflected by linebacker Dre Greenlaw and a second was thrown out of the tight end's reach while he was being covered by cornerback Charvarius Ward.

Lance’s only two completions during that first session of team drills were to wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings who later dropped a second pass that hit him in the hands. Lance also was unable to connect with Deebo Samuel on two occasions.

When the team moved on to their move-the-ball session, things did not get better as Lance and the offense went three-and-out on the first series. On their second attempt, things finally appeared to be clicking much better.

Lance and the offense put together a 10-play drive that moved them down the field but not into the end zone. Rookie running back Ty Davis-Price had a feature role with four carries interspersed between Lance completing four straight passes — two to Samuel, one to fullback Kyle Juszczyk and another to JaMycal Hasty that put them deep in the red zone.

Then things went south when the next three-play series ended in a pick-six by safety Jimmie Ward on an attempted screen pass to Elijah Mitchell.

“Zero pressure,” Lance said after practice. “Just got to get the ball out faster. Jimmie made a great play. It sucks, it’s frustrating, but at the end of the day I’m here to turn the page and I’m really glad we’re going against this defense.”

And turn the page he did. Lance’s next eight-play drive was capped off by a touchdown pass to Ray-Ray McCloud who threw the ball high in the air as a celebration. Lance went five of six on the drive connecting with Kittle three times and Samuel on another.

More practice notes from practice

- Aiyuk continues to impress, especially in his route running. The wideout has been getting a significant amount of separation from the secondary and coming through on contested catches

-Samuel showed his ability and desire to be involved in run blocking as he got in a solid move on Charvarius Ward to give Davis-Price room to run up the sideline.

-Receiver Malik Turner could be a dark horse competitor for a spot on the 53-man roster. He not only has been impressive in one-on-ones but has been on the field consistently making catches when backup QB Nate Sudfeld is under center.

-With Nick Bosa on a rest/vet day, other members of the defensive line saw plenty of action getting into the backfield. Kerry Hyder Jr., Charles Omenihu, Jordan Willis and Drake Jackson were all seen getting pressure on the 49ers' quarterbacks

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- While Elijah Mitchell seems to clearly own the starting running back role, for now, Shanahan lightened his workload throughout the group with Trey Sermon, Jeff Wilson Jr., and JaMycal Hasty.

- Newly signed offensive lineman veteran Jordan Mills quickly got involved with the third team after dominating one-on-one work facing defensive linemen.

- Veteran wide receiver Willie Snead was seen on the field but was not targeted.

The team returns to the field on Sunday for Day 10 of training camp before a day off on Monday.

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