Golden Nuggets: Spencer Burford, elite movement skills
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“The fans loved what they saw from Burford on Saturday, and Lance has liked what he’s seen from the rookie as well during first-team reps.
“Spencer’s done a great job,” Lance said. “I think he’s started almost every single first-team rep with us. He’s done a great job. Super-mature dude.”
“If you were making your 53-man roster predictions, the first seven spots seem filled. Let’s say the starting line looks like this:
Behind them, it’s clearly Brunskill, then McKivitz. You’d expect that Moore would be the eighth man in the group, but if his injury lingers, maybe that gives the 49ers pause. That’s premature, though, and he’s still likely to make the team.”
“Lance on Saturday talked to reporters about his progress. One of the toughest parts of transitioning to the NFL is adjusting to the speed of the game, and the speed at which decisions have to be made. While the game might’ve been flying for Lance in his brief playing time as a rookie, that’s starting to change.”
“Asked specifically what Aiyuk has done to have the best training camp of his career, Shanahan said the receiver’s mentality has changed. A year ago, he was the last receiver to go through drills. Now he’s the first. A year ago, he was trying to break away from tight coverage with hands. Now he does it by driving away with his feet and hips, which is what Shanahan wants.
“If you want to get open in this league, you have to be so violent in how you run,” Shanahan said. “And that’s hard on guys a lot (of times). You do that three days in a row and sometimes they’ve got to take a week off. That’s why it’s so crucial how these guys prepare. And it’s hard when we’re not around them.”
“Lance immediately rebounded from two telegraphed short passes, the last of which was returned for an oh-so-easy pick-six by free safety Jimmie Ward, to finish with a flourish. Lance capped a crisp, eight-play, 65-yard, two-minute drill by stepping up in the pocket and firing an on-the-run, 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud as time expired.”
“But after he threw the pick 6, he led the offense down the field in 80 seconds and threw a 15-yard touchdown pass as time expired to win by three points. He stepped up in the pocket, bought time by rolling left, stopped, spotted Ray-Ray McCloud open in the end zone and fired a beautiful touchdown pass across the field. So Lance was clutch and he redeemed himself. On the final drive, Lance was near perfect. First, he hit George Kittle for 17 yards. Then Lance threw a pass in the flat to JaMycal Hasty, which he dropped. Then Lance scrambled for 6 yards. Then Lance hit Deebo Samuel for 6 yards on 3rd and 4. Then Lance scrambled for 7 yards. Then Lance hit Kittle for 11 yards. Then Lance hit Kittle for 3 yards. Then Lance threw the touchdown pass to McCloud. Lance obviously needs to be more consistent, but he showed the potential to be elite on that final drive. He finished practice 11 for 19 with two drops.”
“A fifth-round pick in 2013 by the Chicago Bears, he was a starter for the overwhelming majority of his first five years in the league, starting 82 games for the Bears and Buffalo Bills. He’s played in 100 career games, starting 87 of them.”
“San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters before Saturday’s practice, the ninth of training camp. Here is everything he had to say.”
“You’ve just got to watch how they separate versus people and how they move,” Shanahan said. “Jauan is a little unusual in his movement, so it doesn’t jump off to everyone, but if you watch him, he creates an edge on people every single play. And when he doesn’t, he never stops running. So he’s violent and big enough that he fights through everything.
“You know, noted writer Arthur Brooks compares us to a groove of Aspen trees with a single root system. ‘That’s you too,’ Brooks writes. ‘You’re not a tree. You’re part of a vast root system, and you need to cultivate your system. Not just look out for your tree.’ I stand here thanks to my root system. My wife, family and friends, teammates, my football brothers, the University of Notre Dame, and the 49ers. Coaches who saw potential and honed it, doctors, trainers, spiritual mentors, and our church and school community, and above all, a gracious God.
“I’ll close with some lessons I’ve learned along the way. From my pain, I found purpose. Letting someone grab my hand is as important as reaching for theirs. In an isolated world, personal connections matter more than ever. I keep my gaze on Christ and pour myself into good works, including the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. And I’ve learned to trust God’s plan and timing, not mine. In this, my 10th year of eligibility, I enter the Hall as a member of its 22 ... 2022 ... 22, it was Colby’s favorite number. Thank you.”