SANTA CLARA, Calif. — In the team’s morning practice on Thursday, the San Francisco 49ers started the day with a focus on bump and run coverage. On one end of the field, the wide receivers locked up with the defensive backs as they battled for positioning in the five-yard bump zone. On the other side of the field, running backs worked on breaking off blocks from linebackers out of the backfield to receive catches.
On the wide receivers/defensive backs battle, cornerback Tarell Brown received praises from his coaches for his performance. Other notable performances in the drill came from wide receivers Dominique Zeigler and Josh Morgan.
Zeigler pushed off safety Reggie Smith immediately after a snap on one play, knowing Smith to the ground. Zeigler completed the slant pass. Morgan, on a double move, broke off from cornerback Nate Clements and found himself at least three steps ahead for the catch.
The team ran the two-minute drill again today. The first team offense executed the drive well from the 50-yard line, ending in an Alex Smith 30-yard touchdown throw to Zeigler.
The second attempt had rookie quarterback Jarrett Brown run the second team offense. Brown struggled to find open receivers and had to scramble twice on the drive. After a few check downs to running back Anthony Dixon, the clock continued to run. After an incomplete pass with three seconds left, Brown was able to hit tight end Tony Curtis for a 30-yard touchdown as time expired.
Other notes from today
– RB Brian Westbrook and DE Demetric Evans were given the veteran courtesy practice off. TE Nate Byham was out again with sickness while OL Adam Snyder sat out practice recovering from a concussion. LB Brandon Long sat out recovering from a knee injury and WR Michael Crabtree was out with a neck injury, but both worked out individually. DE Ray McDonald was out with general soreness and TE Vernon Davis also sat out recovering from a knee injury.
Head coach Mike Singletary said that Crabtree and Davis are day-to-day cases.
– During simulated kickoff drills with the Jugs machine, Bobby Guillory, Ted Ginn and Dominique Zeigler all rotated returns. Singletary says Zeigler is their emergency returner, thus possibly signifying that if he is on roster, that will be part of his duties.
– S Reggie Smith had another solid day at camp, subbing in with the first team on a few occasions. During an 11-on-11 drill, he read a deep pass (about 25 yards) intended for TE Delanie Walker. Smith jumped in front of Walker and nabbed the pick.
– Field goal duties were alternated between Joe Nedney and Shane Andrus and both kicked better than yesterday.
– The offensive line played much better in blitz pickups today but the second team unit struggled a little during the two-minute drill for QB Jarrett Brown, forcing him to scramble. But credit should be given to the secondary for their coverage.
– With the projection of QB Nate Davis getting more playing time on Sunday, I got a chance to talk with Davis after practice. He says he’s not going to change his preparation for the game as he always comes into games fully prepared. He did say that he is getting more comfortable in the offense and there are a handful of plays that are just clicking for him.
“Last year was a big rush,” he said. “This year the game has slowed down for me because I know what I’m doing. Three or four of our core plays I have a great feeling on them.”
Davis also pointed out that one reason why he no longer wears gloves is because sometimes his gloves would get went during exchanges from center.
“The main thing about the gloves is that centers sweat a lot,” Davis said. “Sometimes the gloves would get wet and sometimes it’s hard to hold on to the ball.”
When asked about which center on the team sweats the most, Davis replied, “They’re all the same.”
He said that there isn’t any difference between wearing and not wearing the gloves and that his throwing style won’t change because of it. Davis plans to go throughout the rest of the season without gloves as he says he is comfortable without them.
– Next scheduled practice is at 4:00 p.m. today. This is the last open practice for training camp.