The 49ers were in shells rather than full pads this afternoon. But if that took an edge off the excitement, they supplemented with a 2-minute drill to end the final team period. Actually, it was a 1:58 drill, with real NFL officials enhancing the experience.
Beginning at their 20-yard line, Alex Smith and his first-team offense had to convert third- and fourth-down plays to stay alive. The former was a pass across the middle to Michael Crabtree on third-and-5, with OLB Parys Haralson closing on Smith; the latter was another connection with Crabtree on fourth-and-3. The first-down spot may have been generous.
On the next play, Smith found Josh Morgan crossing downfield and he took it for a 42-yard gain. There were 21.2 seconds left. After a brief consultation by the coaches, they decided it was close enough to award a phantom game-winning field goal.
David Carr’s second-team offense didn’t fare as well. After a short out pass to Jason Hill for a first down, Carr threw four incompletions in five plays. One of them was a catch by TE Joe Jon Finley that was overturned for offensive pass interference. The final play had Carr missing Kyle Williams on a crossing route on fourth-and-4.
Other notes and observations from the p.m. practice…
• OLB Ahmad Brooks missed both practices today, but it turns out he has more than a bruised rib. Tests revealed a lacerated kidney. The team will reevaluate Brooks in two weeks. He’s a valuable passing-down performer for the Niners.
• In addition to the injured Brooks, OLB Travis LaBoy (concussion), and WRs Brandon Jones and Scott Long (hamstrings), “veteran courtesy” was extended to DE Justin Smith, ILB Takeo Spikes, S Michael Lewis and T Barry Sims. TE Delanie Walker (concussion) suited up but didn’t participate in contact drills.
• Demetric Evans stood in for Justin Smith, Matt Wilhelm for Spikes and Reggie Smith for Lewis.
• Michael Crabtree, of all people, dropped consecutive passes in the passing drill that opened practice. When he caught the next one, the crowd of fans gave him a rousing ovation, no doubt boosting Crab’s fragile confidence.
• CB Nate Clements got an interception in 7-on-7 when Morgan slipped on a pass from Smith, and S Dashon Goldson got one on a terrible throw by Nate Davis in team period.
• Veteran CB Will James has been something of a non-entity for most of camp, but he made consecutive notable plays in team period, breaking up a deep pass to Finley that Carr hung, and getting physical to knock away Smith’s pass to Morgan.
• CB Shawntae Spencer blitzed untouched off the edge to sack Davis in team period. Coaches made them walk through the play again, making it clear that Spencer was RB Glen Coffee’s responsibility.