Vin’s TC Report Part I
– Today’s practice was not padded. I suspect that the morning practices this year will be, with the afternoon practices (the ones that are generally open to the public) being non-padded. We’ll see as TC goes on though.
– Probably, the summary of the day was that, as far you can judge by shorts and such, the defense looked really good and way ahead of the offense. But, since I’ve attended these training camps for about 4-5 years now, that’s also expected. Of course, the defense I saw out on the field today looked a lot better than in year’s past, but it usually takes the offense at least a few days to gain a rhythm out there.
– Focusing on the rookies, you could easily tell that Patrick Willis looks just as fast as that 4.37 40 or whatever he ran at his pro day. He’s really great in his breaks and working all around the field. I remember on one play, he backpedalled and ran right to cover the route. Well, the pass was to the opposite end of the field, but Willis hussled down there and would have probably made a tackle (had there been contact). He also had a nice breakup of an Alex Smith pass. So athletically, he looked as good as advertised out there. He also looked a little lost at times, like on special teams duties and a few defensive plays and such. That’s to be expected, since this was his first training camp practice, but hopefully he can pick up on things really quickly and start for us.
– Joe Staley looked really pumped up out there. On drills that pitted o-linemen and d-linemen, Staley did a nice job of blocking his man and not letting him go by. That’s about as much as I could get from him today, because again it’s hard to judge o-linemen on non-contact type drills.
– His competition and counterpart Kwame Harris was schooled by Parys Haralson on the same drill that I described above. That drew a huge, negative reaction from the crowd. Joe Staley got a huge ovation from the crowd. I guess the contingent of 49ersnews.com people who point out that Kwame isn’t that great has grown. In fairness though, Kwame did do better the second time around, and he was starting at RT…for now.
– Because Larry Allen was not at practice, Adam Snyder filled in at LG. So the starting o-line today looked like this: Jonas Jennings, Adam Snyder, Eric Heitmann, Justin Smiley, Kwame Harris.
– I liked our run defense a lot today. There were several times, on 11-11 drills, where many of the run plays were broken up or stuffed up. I mean, it was non-contact so the runners still ran around and what not, but if that were a real play, those would have been busted up. It was really an all out contribution from the d-line and LBs, with guys like Ray McDonald and Jay Moore plugging the run lanes well.
– Nate Clements, as I hinted at earlier, looks like a monster out there. Literally. I watched games of his in Buffalo and knew he was a good player, but out on the field 1) He has great size for a CB and is very well built 2) He plays with confidence. All of the attempts by Alex Smith to throw towards him were met with pass break ups or incompletions. He really excelled at taking away the easy corner routes and sideline passes that WRs can pick DBs apart in. He looked like the shutdown corner we paid 80 mill to get as far as today was concerned.
– One thing Clements didn’t do well was return punts. He dropped a few of the punts.
– Tarrell Brown had a nice INT off of Trent Dilfer.
– Turnovers were kind of a problem for the offense today. While it didn’t plague the starting unit so much, there were several instances of fumbled snaps and what not which made Nolan stop the drills for a few minutes and scold the team.
– Arnaz Battle and Darrell Jackson were the starting WRs. Both looked good, but Jackson did drop a routine pass at one point, which is something he was known for at Seattle. Ashley Lelie also practiced and caught everything his way. Battle returned kicks as well.
– On the subject of dropped passes, Vernon Davis dropped one as well. That drew some boos from the crowd. But it was his only drop of the day. He looked a bit more polished and at ease today compared to what I remember from him last year. Last year, it seemed as if he was trying to prove that he’s the man in practice. Today, he just practiced and did everything asked of him. Nothing spectacular, but nothing awful either.
– The team ran a lot of short passes and runs today as far as the offense goes. I’m sure they’ll open things more in the days ahead.
– Frank Gore looked like Frank Gore…..which means he looked really good and a bit faster when he broke away on some runs. Thomas Clayton looks like a beast out there.
– The MVP of the day was Andy Lee . He was booming punts like nothing else. I mean seriously….usually punt practice is really boring. But Lee was just hammering those things today. I guess that playmaker on Madden stuff got to his head.