Highlights from Day 5 of 49ers training camp

Finally the pads are open! Now things are getting serious at 49ers training camp. While it’s worth limiting sweeping statements about the season based on practice, opinions can be better educated now that there’s more physicality and contact in these training camps.

Here’s what happened on day 5 and what we’re doing about it:

Deebo!

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Deebo Samuel made his debut in 2022 and for the first time all season he participated with his teammates in a training session. In the mandatory minicamp, he stayed on the side doing conditioning. He followed the same path for the first four days of camp. He agreed to a three-year extension Sunday and then signed the deal Monday before practice. He’ll be taking it easy on the job, so he didn’t go through a full season, but his No. 19 jersey was definitely on the field.

Javon Kinlaw is resting

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Kinlaw took the first training session with padding, but there is no need to worry. The 49ers are simply giving their defensive tackle a routine maintenance day after a day off. Keeping him healthy is key for San Francisco’s defense this year. It wouldn’t be surprising if maintenance days are regular for Kinlaw throughout the year.

Going off script

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The 49ers pass rush forces the quarterback Trey Lance doing a lot of things off the clock on offense. This has some advantages and disadvantages. The good news is that San Francisco’s defense looks like it’s part of a championship-caliber unit, and Lance was able to make some great plays coming out of the pocket. The bad news is that the offensive line is struggling early, and the 49ers would probably like to see Lance get into more of a rhythm with the plays running on time. Being able to get away from a good pass and keep playing is one of the benefits of the team switching to Lance at QB, and his tendency to make plays when things break down will be useful for him and San Francisco in 2022. Now the club just needs to ensure their forward line gives him time to play within the attacking structure as well.

Contested Kittle Fishing

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One of the few knocks on George Kittle in the early years of his career was that he wasn’t a very effective pass catch on the move. That changed a bit last year, and it did appears to be headed to training camp this year with the tight end ripping multiple slots from defenders. Lance and Kittle need to be on the same page, but it will be a lot easier when you first start the QB if his TE is going to make those receptions in tight coverage. This should also be helpful in keeping Kittle’s Touchdown numbers up after he posted a career-high six TDs last season.

Brandon Aiyuk continues to shine

With Samuel out for the first four practices, Aiyuk shined as the team’s No. 1 receiver. That didn’t change with Samuel back in action. He was on the receiving end of two big plays from Lance and managed to beat Jimmie Ward in one-on-one drills:

The pads do not change the OL

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The pads coming in didn’t change the 49ers’ training camp plan on the offensive line. They left tackles Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey. Rookie fourth-round pick Spencer Burford remained at right guard while Jake Brendel worked as the first-team center. Burford’s emergence continues to be the surprise of training camp and appears to be the unlikely front-runner for the starting RG spot with Aaron Banks likely to hold down the left guard spot.

The role of Elijah Mitchell

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A crowded running back room doesn’t seem conducive to Mitchell’s role as the team’s No. 1 pick. ESPN’s Nick Wagoner observed Mitchell earns the lion’s share of the first team early in camp. He was the 49ers best running back last year and the team treated him as such. This season the club would likely like to see another back emerge who could effectively split time with Mitchell. For now, it appears the plan is to continue with Mitchell as the running back, though that could change quickly with Tyrion Davis-Price, Trey Sermon and others vying for carries.

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This story originally appeared on Niners Wire

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