49ers training camp day 7 recap: Brandon Aiyuk continues to climb, while Trey Lance and Deebo Samuel work on their timing

Week one of training camp is in the books for the 49ers. After some scuffles during training on Tuesday, the players did not wear protection on Wednesday. Defensive end Nick Bosa, tight end George Kittle, linebacker Dre Greenlaw and offensive tackle Jaylon Moore were all in street clothes.

Tight end Jordan Matthews tore his ACL and is out for the season. He was seen leaving on crutches after training on Tuesday.

Aiyuk rides again

Jimmie Ward said Brandon Ayiuk had the best camp of all the team members after training: “BA took his game to another level. It’s frankly crazy.”

You are going to know all about Aiyuk Day, and for good reason. Aiyuk put on a show during the 1v1 as he beat whoever the defense threw in front of him.

There’s no denying that the attacking player has the advantage in 1v1s, but Aiyuk’s weren’t competitive. His clearances were snappy, often leaving the defender leaning in the opposite direction.

Aiyuk has always thrived off the line of scrimmage. Where his game has taken to the next level, he clings on through contact. Aiyuk has a “wow” take every day. The majority of them come with a defensive back draped over it. Yet time and time again, Aiyuk protects the cornerback while hanging onto the ball at full extension.

The most promising part is that they are all on different routes. Two of them were along the sideline on an out route and a double move. It would be a shock if the video of the latter did not make the rounds of social networks.

Trey Lance climbed to his right on a play pass. Aiyuk acted like he was going to run across the field, only to pivot to the right. Charvarius Ward was not fooled. Ward was in an ideal position to make a play, but Lance, closer to an underwater arm angle than a handgun release, placed the ball perfectly on Ward’s outstretched arms for a touchdown .

The piece was a gem and a taste of the character traits of Lance, Aiyuk and Ward.

Throw the coward

You have to put into perspective that Lance has three new blockers in front of him that go against the 49ers defensive line that Mike McGlinchey called the most complete defensive line in the game.

Right guard Spencer Burford flashed on a running game. He was asked to shoot and eject the defensive lineman on a trap play. Not only did Burford execute his block, but he ran down the field with a fist in the air in celebration as the running back broke for a meaningful gain.

Burford has taken the reps with the starters since the start of camp. Trent Williams touted his confidence last week as the reason he works with the first team, and the game above is an example of that.

And to the credit of Jake Brendel, who was primarily the center for the first team as well as Aaron Banks, Lance had more time in the pocket than usual on Wednesday. We act like the defensive line wins all the time, and it doesn’t. Lance had a clean pocket to throw on most of his dropbacks.

So when I tell you that Lance went 3 for 8, a 37% completion percentage is bound to raise questions.

The majority of those throws were over 25 yards. On one, Aiyuk had a step on Charvarius, and Lance took a step past him. It’s a throw you hope Lance completes regularly in November. The ball had to be placed perfectly between the cornerback and the safety, and Lance passed it.

On another pitch, Deebo Samuel found himself half a step behind Emmanuel Moseley. Lance puts the ball on the money. It’s in stride and away from the defender about 45 yards down the field. The pass hits Samuel in the hands, but Deebo drops it. That’s a nine out of ten completion.

The final example is on a play-action pass where Samuel runs an optional route. If the secondary does one thing, Deebo runs a deep route. If they make another one, it will smash all the way to the pylon in the end zone. Lance threw the deep corner lane while Samuel ran an exit lane.

So we have incompleteness due to accuracy, dropping, and not being on the same page as the receiver who missed the first four days of training camp as well as all OTAs and minicamp.

Lance threw for two touchdowns in the red zone and went another day without an interception. At the start of the camp, the defense got their hands on everything. That’s not happening as much this week, which is a sign of Lance’s progress.

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