OK, it was a training-camp practice and he was facing the second-string defense of a team that went 2-14 last year.
Now, with that out of the way: 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer had another exceptional practice today.
In front of announced crowd of 25,319 at Levi’s Stadium, Hoyer completed 17 of 21 passes with two touchdowns in the 49ers’ move-the-ball sessions and a two-minute drill.
Hoyer finished practice by floating a seven-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marquise Goodwin as time expired in the two-minute drill.
On the 75-yard drive, which began with 1:25 left, Hoyer completed 8 of 11 passes, with tight end Blake Bell dropping one pass. Hoyer completed passes to running back Carlos Hyde (3), Goodwin (2) and wide receivers Pierre Garcon (2) and Jeremy Kerley (1). His most impressive throw: a 29-yard, over-the-middle strike to Goodwin.
It was the continuation of an excellent summer for Hoyer. It will be interesting to see if it continues when the 49ers visit the Chiefs on Friday in their preseason opener.
Tackle talk: The 49ers aren’t supposed to tackle players to the ground in practice, but it happens. A lot.
Today, NaVorro Bowman smacked undrafted rookie RB Matt Breida out of bounds near the start of 11-on-11 work to begin another rugged practice. The biggest hit of the day: S Eric Reid whacked WR Aldrick Robinson at the end of a long catch-and-run, and the hit drew an “oooh” from the crowd.
Despite the very physical nature of the practices, it’s notable that the 49ers haven’t a training-camp fight. Today, I asked Robinson about the hit Reid delivered and the 49ers’ ability to not lose their cool. The 49ers running backs invariably get up and sprint downfield after getting tackled.
“It’s football, so you’re going to be banging around,” Robinson said. “But we’re close. The guys in that locker room, we’re a brotherhood. We know it’s not intentional … It’s just ‘I’m playing football.’ So whenever you get a hard hit, or something physical happens, it’s nothing against that guy. It’s just playing football and things happen like that.”
Head coach Kyle Shanahan clearly wants to create toughness, but he also doesn’t want to get his players hurt. On Friday, I asked Shanahan about his philosophy when it comes to tackling in practice.
“We want to be physical, we want to hit, we don’t want to take guys to the ground,” Shanahan said. “If you hit a guy square and you’ve got your feet under them and if it’s a good hit sometimes they will go to the ground. But when I say don’t take guys to the ground, we don’t want to wrap up, we don’t want to roll guys. If a guy’s off balance we’re asking them not to hit him. You try to protect your teammate.
“Some guys do a better job at it than others. It’s something we’ve got to keep holding guys accountable to keep getting them to work. We want them to hit, but we’re also trying not to lose guys either. Whenever it happens you hope when guys do cross the line I like when backs act like it doesn’t faze them. They just get up, they finish the drill. If they want to get them back, get them in the play next time — in the right way.”
QB battle: After a rocky start to camp, perhaps not surprising for a rookie, third-round pick C.J. Beathard has strung together some solid practices. Beathard has been sharing second-team snaps with Matt Barkley, a four-year veteran who hasn’t done enough to distance himself in the competition.
“They’ve been competing,” Shanahan said. “I think they’ve had even reps. I think it’s a good battle for us. We’ve been looking at it every day and they’re going to make it tough on us.”
Today, Barkley, facing the first-team defense, led an impressive drive during a move-the-ball period. He completed 4 of 5 passes, all to Robinson, who capped the march by beating rookie CB Ahkello Withersppon for a 20-yard TD catch.
Catch of the day: Running a deep down the left sideline, Breida dove and got fully outstretched to corral a pass from Beathard. Breida made the catch despite decent coverage from rookie LB Pita Taumoepenu.
Injury report: As noted here, ILB Malcom Smith was lost for the season with a torn pectoral muscle and LG Joshua Garnett (knee) is expected to have minor surgery.
Today, rookie DB Adrian Colbert left practice with an ankle injury and CB Rashard Robinson exited with hamstring tightness.
DT DeForest Buckner (ankle), LB Brock Coyle, C JP Flynn, CB Zach Franklin, LB Eli Harold (concussion), TE George Kittle, LB Donavin Newsom and S Jaquiski Tartt did not participate in team drills. Buckner, Flynn, Kittle and Newsom participated in individual drills, which is a sign their return to full practice could be imminent.
LB Reuben Foster is running with a slight gimp after tweaking his ankle in practice Friday.
Weather: 76 and sunny
Time of practice: 2 hours, 21 minutes.