SANTA CLARA – Here are the highlights from Tuesday’s practice.
1. RB Kendall Hunter. Led all members of the first-team offense with five touches during team drills (Carlos Hyde and Anquan Boldin each had three touches – tied for second-most on the first team). One of Hunter’s touches was a catch on a screen play, and another was an eight-yard touchdown run on a stretch-zone run to the left. He seems like a lock to make the team.
2. RG Ian Silberman. Started at right guard in place of Marcus Martin, who started at center in place of Joe Looney, who had started at center all offseason. But Looney was no good, and it appears the coaching staff has seen enough of him. Expect Martin to start at center Week 1, and Ian Silberman to start at right guard. Silberman played 25 snaps at right guard against the Cowboys on Sunday, and earned a plus-1.6 grade from Pro Football Focus.
3. RCB Kenneth Acker. Replaced Keith Reaser as the starting right cornerback in the base defense, while Reaser got demoted to left cornerback in the sub-packages—Acker’s job last week. From what I could tell, Acker was not targeted once during team drills. Quarterbacks stayed away from his coverage.
4. RILB Michael Wilhoite. Played every snap at inside linebacker next to NaVorro Bowman with the first-team defense, even though Wilhoite missed the first three weeks of training camp with a muscle strain and today was his first day back. I guess the Niners don’t view Nick Moody as a starter.
5. FS Jimmie Ward. Vernon Davis was running a crossing route along the back boundary of the end zone, and he was open. But Colin Kaepernkick didn’t see him right away – Davis was the second read. Once Kaepernick spotted Davis, Kaepernick stared him down for a second before throwing the ball. Jimmie Ward, the free safety, had been staring at Kaepernick the whole time. Before Kaepernick released the ball, Ward broke toward Davis and was standing in front of him when it arrived. Easy interception.
THE NOT SO GOOD
1. WR Torrey Smith. Left the practice field early and did not participate during team drills – he participated only during individual drills. Smith spent the final half hour of practice in the weight room doing lunges while holding a medicine ball. After practice a member of the 49ers’ P.R. staff said Smith was receiving treatment for a sore knee.