Maiocco’s 49ers camp observations: Purdy’s interceptions persist

Maiocco’s 49ers camp observations: Purdy’s interceptions persist originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SANTA CLARA — If these were games, the overall results would be unsatisfactory.

Starting quarterback Brock Purdy made some high-level throws Wednesday on the 49ers practice field. He also threw two interceptions with another couple of near-misses.

“I definitely like having interceptions a lot more in practice than in games,” 49ers Coach Kyle Shanahan said. “One thing Brock does is he lets it rip. He’s not worried about anything else, especially not worried about what counts as interceptions in practice.

“That doesn’t mean they’re all right. But I do like when he lets it rip.”

Linebacker Curtis Robinson got his hands on a pass Purdy threw over the middle but could not hold onto it. Later, Robinson avenged that play with a leaping interception.

In a red zone drill, cornerback Deommodore Lenoir had tight coverage on a pass intended for Brandon Aiyuk in the back of the end zone and safety Tashaun Gipson came up with his fourth interception of training camp.

Shanahan said there are plenty of reasons for Purdy’s interceptions, which have become a daily occurrence during the practice sessions. Not all of the fault falls on him, but the giveaways must be cleaned up before the 49ers open the regular season.

“I definitely want our quarterbacks to cut down on (interceptions) but I also want them to make real throws,” Shanahan said.

Turnovers were not an issue for Purdy during his rookie season. He threw four interceptions in 223 passing attempts, including 63 postseason passing attempts without a turnover.

While Purdy’s interceptions have stood out, there have been plenty of positives from training camp, too.

He has made a remarkable return from significant elbow surgery in the offseason.

Purdy made one of his best throws of camp on Wednesday. He threw a 40-yard dart down the left sideline with enough velocity to reach receiver Brandon Aiyuk in a tight window between cornerback Ambry Thomas and Safety Talanoa Hufanga.

This is the first week in which Purdy is scheduled for three consecutive days of practice as he continues his rehab.

Purdy took 39 reps of 11-on-11 work on Wednesday and completed 12 of 19 pass attempts.

“Nothing looks different to our eyes at all,” Shanahan said of Purdy. “He’s healthy.”

Quarterback update

The 49ers have yet to decide whether the starters will play in Saturday’s preseason game against the Denver Broncos, Shanahan said. But it sounded as if Purdy would again be held out of action.

It appears as if Sam Darnold would play the first half with Trey Lance being called upon after halftime.

“That’s what we’re planning on, but we’ll see how the next two practices go before we decide for sure,” Shanahan said.

Darnold took 16 practice snaps on Wednesday and completed five of eight pass attempts, while Lance had 12 reps and was 4-of-6 passing.

Quarterback Brandon Allen was due to return to the team and be on the practice field Thursday after his wife gave birth earlier this week. Allen was excused from practice for the past two days.

Quick slants

— Safety Taylor Hawkins, whom defensive coordinator Steve Wilks singled out this week, had an active practice as he sized up Danny Gray and Jauan Jennings for what would have been big hits on pass plays.

— On Robinson’s interception, fullback Kyle Juszczyk stripped Robinson of the ball on his return and Purdy ended up recovering it.

— Hufanga made a nice defensive play on the first pass attempt of the day when he broke up Purdy’s well-thrown pass for Jennings. He had another pass defensed in the end zone against Deebo Samuel.

— Purdy had a 10-yard touchdown pass to Aiyuk against good coverage from Thomas.

— Veteran kicker Zane Gonzalez made field goals of 38 and 50 yards, while rookie Jake Moody hit his only attempt from 33 yards. The 49ers are keeping two kickers on their 90-man roster with the ultimate goal of flipping Gonzalez for a draft pick.

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