SANTA CLARA – Here are the highlights of the 49ers’ ninth padded practice of training camp.
1. OLB Aaron Lynch. Started at left outside linebacker in the first-string base defense and at left defensive end in the first-string sub-packages. Today was only Lynch’s second day of team drills, and he already seems to have taken Corey Lemonier’s job. Poor Corey.
2. S Jaquiski Tartt. Today the Niners practiced their dime defense – six defensive backs – more than they’ve practiced it all offseason. Rookie safety Jaquiski Tartt was the sixth defensive back most of the time. He lined up in the box next to inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman while Eric Reid and Antoine Bethea lined up behind them at safety. Don’t be surprised if on passing downs the 49ers use their dime defense more than their nickel defense.
3. CB Keith Reaser. The starting cornerback opposite Tramaine Brock in the base defense. Brock and Reaser frequently switched sides – sometimes Reaser lined up on the left, and sometimes Brock would. The Niners seem to want Brock to shadow the opposing team’s best receiver, so Reaser needs to be able to play both sides of the field.
4. CB Kenneth Acker. The left cornerback in the nickel defense (while Brock was in the slot and Reaser was on the right). Acker was targeted six times during team drills, and he gave up only two short catches. He also broke up three passes. He seems much better than second-year cornerback Dontae Johnson, who played with the third-string defense today.
5. QB Colin Kaepernick’s 21 short and intermediate passes during 11-on-11s. Missed four of his first 10, then completed 10 of his final 11. In total, Kaepernick completed 16 of 21 short and intermediate passes. His two best were intermediate throws to Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis, both of whom ran corner routes toward the sideline. Kaepernick is as good at throwing the corner route as any quarterback I’ve ever seen.
THE NOT SO GOOD
1. QB Colin Kaepernick’s two deep passes during 11-on-11s. Both were intended for Jerome Simpson along the sideline and both landed out of bounds. Quarterbacks coach Steve Logan seemed to feel the deep passes were enough of an issue to make Torrey Smith, Vernon Davis and Kaepernick practice them against air toward the end of practice while the rest of the team worked on special teams. Smith and Davis took turns running go routes while Logan studied Kaepernick, who overthrew the first deep pass and then completed the next five.
2. WR Quinton Patton. Lowered his shoulder into Tank Carradine and almost knocked him off his feet with a blind-side block near the sideline at the end of a play. As soon as Carradine regained his balance he went after Patton, who backpedaled faster than I’ve ever seen anyone backpedal. As Patton was retreating he threw a jab that hit Carradine in the facemask, then disappeared behind his teammates.