The 49ers’ defense had been completely stifling attack so far during the early stages of camp, and that trend continued again on Saturday.
I picked five players from the defensive side of the ball who stood out and listed a little bit about what they did during the part of the team’s training that made them on the list.
1. Nick Bosa
Bossa is as good as he has been since entering the NFL, and looks like a man on a mission as he progresses into his second year after being removed from the ACL tear that prematurely ended the 2020 season.
I counted three sacks today for Bossa during part of team training, with some pressure and butt chases against the run as well. Bossa seems to be locked up early on, and I sympathize with any offensive lineman tasked with staying ahead of him.
Mike McClinchy’s swift return to the team’s tenure was hailed, with his first representatives from training camp in 11v11 coming up against Bossa on the right side. Bossa McGlinchey took off in the first play to score a sack on Trey Lance on a bare shoe on the right side of a fake play.
This was then followed by Bossa with a three-step sack. The only time Bossa didn’t seem to be in complete control of the practice was during his only representative against Trent Williams. I look forward to seeing the battle between these two stars as soon as the pads come out.
2. Tarvarius Mor
Moore continues to recover well in his first training camp since suffering a torn Achilles last June. Moore had two interceptions a day and offered a great range while playing as a single, high security.
The 49ers seem intent on running a great deal of three safety combinations, and having Moore covers a lot of range at the back end allows them to use Talanoa Hufanga as a latent/thief and/or kick Jimmie Ward into the hatch. Seeing Moore play with the amount of impulsiveness he’s shown thus far is an encouraging sign.
3. Fred Warner
Warner was one of the best players on the field today, showing an uncanny talent for clearing any short ways to intermediate over midfield in a passing game.
Warner also scored an interception against the first-team attack, jumping into the throwing lane as the hook-back to intercept Trey Lance’s pass between the numbers.
Warner plays at a very high level, and seems to know what’s coming from the offense before the attack itself happens. It’s All-Pro, so that probably shouldn’t be surprising, but it looks like Warner is starting where he left off to wrap up the 2021 season.
4. Javon Kinlaw
Kinlaw looked as explosive as I’ve seen him since last season, and appears to be pretty much back from a knee injury that cut short the 2021 season. He showed great strength on two fast-passing reps in 11 days 11 seconds, including one where he used the long arm to pry Daniel Brunskill off Zero style.
Kinlaw was also noticeably refreshed while on the sideline and with his teammates, bringing energy into the field that seemed to be more loud than I saw first practice. Kinlaw is poised to be a major part of this 49ers defense in 2022, and all indications are that he is ready to trade in the first week.
5. Karvarius Ward
Ward scored another interception during today’s practice, showing a massive closing speed in a play where it appeared Ray-Ray McCloud had him hit him with a stride. Ward has been the best player during his four days of camp, showing a level of ability and consistency that would probably salivate in his 49ers for the kind of potential he brings to this already loaded defense.