49ers camp observations: Brandon Aiyuk shines again on Day 7 of practice

SANTA CLARA — Brandon Aiyuk’s offseason work is continuing to pay off in dividends at 49ers training camp.

On Wednesday the third-year wideout dominated his matchups by getting separation, bringing in contested catches and showing his agility with acrobatic completions. Aiyuk was on the field for reps with both Trey Lance and Nate Sudfeld.

Aiyuk set the tone in one-on-one drills making catches while being covered by both safety Jimmie Ward and cornerback Charvarius Ward. The Arizona State product’s route facing Jimmie Ward was a particularly athletic double move that left the safety well out of position, allowing an easy catch by Aiyuk.

“Right now he’s having an outstanding camp,” Ward said on Wednesday. “I feel like he’s having the best camp out of everyone on the team, offense and defense. Oh, besides Bosa. Bosa’s Bosa. But BA has taken his game to another level. It’s crazy. I haven’t won a one-on -one rep with him yet.”

In team drills, it wasn’t perfect as Lance overthrew Aiyuk on two passes, one shallow and one deep ball, both with Charvarius Ward in coverage. In red zone work, however, the two connected in the right corner of the end zone with a perfectly placed ball just out of the reach of Jimmie Ward.

Aiyuk’s two receptions from Sudfeld might have been even more impressive. The wideout high-pointed one catch over the outstretched arms of Ambry Thomas in standard 11-on-11 work.

Later in red-zone drills, Aiyuk’s touchdown catch was so impressive that Trent Williams waited for the receiver to return to the sidelines where he gave him a helmet bump and a high five. Ka’Dar Hollman had very close coverage on the Aiyuk, who ended up coming away with the ball and a score.

“Confidence,” Ward said. “I think that’s what it has to do with. Coach Kyle [Shanahan] is pretty good at bringing that out in players. I’m pretty sure that every team meeting we have coach Kyle will bring up BA, mess with him, criticize his game and BA never says anything.

“He’s passionate about football so you’ll see he will try to take coaching to the field because he goes out there and works. He tries to work and correct his mistakes from the film room and take it on the field.”

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Other training camp notes from Day 7:

-Tight end Jordan Matthews was seen leaving the team facility on crutches and a knee brace. The former wide receiver tore his ACL on a non-contact drill and will go on injured reserve.

-George Kittle and Nick Bosa sat out of practice for maintenance/vet days.

-Trent Williams, Mike McGlinchey, Javon Kinlaw and Jeff Wilson were all back in the lineup.

-Kinlaw faced off with Aaron Banks multiple times and each snap seemed to end in a stalemate. Neither lineman dominated the other, but instead had a back and forth that will be interesting to watch going forward.

-Deommodore Lenoir snagged an interception on a Brock Purdy screen pass intended for Taysir Mack after the ball glanced off the receiver’s hands in 11-on-11 work.

-There were different lineups at safety with Tarvarius Moore in with the first team to start with Jimmie Ward. Later, Talanoa Hufanga lined up next to Moore while Ward put out a few plays.

-The defensive line got pressure on all three quarterbacks with non-tackle “sacks” made by several players including Drake Jackson and Charles Omenihu.

– The team will take Thursday off and resume practice on Friday.

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