49ers’ mini-camp: Day 3 – Kaepernick’s best practice of the offseason

SANTA CLARA – Here is what stood out to me at Day 3 of the 49ers’ mini-camp. If you have questions about anything else that happened at practice, ask me in the comment section.

THE GOOD

1. Colin Kaepernick – He hadn’t done anything spectacular this offseason until this afternoon. He’d been mostly dinking and dunking. Colt McCoy had been more aggressive throwing downfield. Alex Smith had been more aggressive throwing downfield in past training camps. But with 15 minutes left in practice, Kaepernick completed five perfect lasers in a row against the first team defense. He looked like Brett Favre in the pocket, throwing the ball as hard as he could down the field, over the middle and into tight windows.

2. Vance McDonald – Five catches during team drills, and three of those catches were flat-out spectacular. Twice he twisted his body in the air and caught passes thrown behind him. Once he ran a wheel route deep down the left sideline and caught an overthrown pass with his fingertips. He made each catch look easy. He did not drop any passes. He clearly is the 49ers’ No.2 tight end. Neither Garrett Celek or MarQueis Gray are in McDonald’s class.

3. Marlon Moore – Three catches during team drills and two were phenomenal. First, he beat Tarell Brown on a deep, inward-breaking route. The throw led Moore too far, but he stretched out and snagged it. Brown was upset – he hates getting beat, even in practice. Next, Moore caught a laser from Kaepernick. Moore stretched and snatched the ball in front of strong safety Trenton Robinson. Moore had an excellent mini-camp. He has good hands and he attacks the ball in the air. He’s very competitive.

4. Chad Hall – Five catches, more than any other receiver today. It seems the quarterbacks trust Hall, because they’ve been throwing to him more frequently than every receiver but Anquan Boldin.

5. Chuck Jacobs – Three catches, including a deep touchdown where he beat a busted coverage. Nnamdi Asomugha passed Jacobs off to the strong safety, Trenton Robinson, who happened to be covering Vance McDonald one-on-one. Jacobs was left wide open. It seemed to be a miscommunication between Asomugha and Robinson, who haven’t played with each other much.  Next, Jacobs beat Patrick Willis deep down the left sideline on a wheel route and made a spectacular catch in front of the safety, but Jacobs could not get his second foot in bounds.

6. Nnamdi Asomugha – Intercepted a pass over the middle from B.J. Daniels intended for Quinton Patton. Asomugha was playing zone coverage. He read Daniels eyes, broke early and easily picked off Daniels’ pass.

7. A.J. Jenkins – He made a beautiful diving catch at the end of practice. He was lined up at split end across from Perrish Cox. Jenkins ran an inward-breaking route, but he did not separate from Cox. Cox ran step-for-step with Jenkins across the middle, but Kaepernick threw it anyway, threw it way in front of Jenkins so Cox couldn’t get to it. Jenkins dove like a centerfielder and caught the pass before it hit the ground.

THE NOT-SO-GOOD

1. Anquan Boldin – He did not participate in team drills today. After practice, Harbaugh said Boldin is not injured.

2. Eric Reid – He did not participate in practice, either, and afterward Harbaugh said Reid has a small injury he’s working through. With Reid out, the starting safeties were Donte Whitner and Trenton Robinson. Surprisingly, Whitner took more than half of his reps at free safety, not strong safety.

3. Chris Culliver – He did not participate in practice all week.

4. Quinton Patton – He caught four passes, but he dropped two and fumbled one.

5. A.J. Jenkins – He caught two passes. One was a terrific catch, as I described above. The second was an easy catch on a short, inward-breaking route. He was lined up at split end across from Tramaine Brock. The defense was in zone coverage. Jenkins ran across the middle and stopped in a vacant zone. Colt McCoy delivered a strike to him. Jenkins took two steps upfield, Brock flew in and punched the ball out. Michael Thomas recovered it.

6. Brandon Carswell – Jim Harbaugh confirmed after practice that Carswell tore his ACL yesterday. The 49ers probably will sign a wide receiver, possibly Austin Collie, to replace Carswell on the 90-man roster for training camp.

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