Several months ago, Phil Barber introduced himself as Mike Bordick when he replaced Matt Maiocco, the Cal Ripken of 49ers beat writers.
No wonder Ted Ginn has been looking so fast lately. The 49ers’ 100-yard dashes have been 90 yards long. The past couple of days, the team has practiced on a field that defies standard NFL parameters.
When I included Jason Hill in my recent rundown of declining stocks in Santa Clara, it ignited a pretty fierce debate.
Hill, a San Francisco native and a fourth-year wide receiver out of Washington State, has his supporters. His speed is undeniable, and it seems a lot of fans have been waiting for him to emerge as the 49ers’ clear No. 3 receiver. I wrote that Hill has been dropping passes lately, and met some skepticism.
The most serious injury sustained during the first five days of the 49ers’ training camp undoubtedly is the torn ACL and patellar tendon suffered by ILB Scott McKillop, a vital special-teams player who is likely to miss the entire 2010 season.
Also troubling, however, has been a rash of concussions.
There probably is no connection among the recent head injuries to LG David Baas, TE Delanie Walker and OLB Travis LaBoy. It’s always tempting to use such occurrences as evidence that a camp is too physical, but really, Mike Singletary’s practices aren’t much different than other coaches’. It’s likely just a string of bad luck, though it demonstrates the NFL’s changing approach to concussions.
It was just one day of practice, and some of it didn’t even occur during 11-on-11 team periods. But the ball was flying here Tuesday morning, with the 49ers’ offense connecting on numerous deep passes.
Josh Morgan reeled in two long gainers from Alex Smith in the first passing drill of the day, which had receivers going against cornerbacks one-on-one; Michael Crabtree got one, too (from David Carr), as did Jason Hill (from the little-seen Jarrett Brown). And Hill was open for another but couldn’t quite reel in Nate Davis’ throw.
Nine weeks and 1,054 tweets after taking over the 49ers beat for the Press Democrat, I’m planning my (temporary) escape route. I’ll be using up my vacation time until, say, a week before rookies report to Santa Clara on July 30.
The offseason work is done for the 49ers, and writers such as I are trying to wring every last syllable of information out of the notebooks we’ve kept over the past couple months. But the writing is on the wall. We’re about to hit the NFL’s deadest dead zone, not to emerge until the marathon grind of training camp at the beginning of August.
In all probability, there will be little to report and digest over the next month. Maybe nothing at all, at least nothing of consequence (thanks in part to safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, who ended speculation by signing a five-year deal with the Rams this morning).
To bridge the gap, here are a few questions that might get answered before rookies report to Santa Clara on July 30.
About five weeks before training camp, Matt Wilhelm will be going to boot camp. Fortunately, it won’t require a high-and-tight haircut.
Wilhelm has been selected to participate in the fourth annual “NFL Broadcast Boot Camp,” an intensive four-day crash course that teaches current and former players how to be media piranhas. (Lesson 8: How to Hoard Marriott Points.) “It’s gonna be exciting,” he said Monday. “Just to understand what it’s like to have a pen and paper in your hand, and taking the notes.”
When Bonita Caulcrick finally got into war-torn Liberia, finally located her two children, finally eluded the soldiers and bullets long enough to make it across the border to Ivory Coast, she ran up against one more challenge.
Bonita had been living in the United States for a few years, and had picked up a trace of American accent. The bureaucrat at the embassy in Ivory Coast didn’t believe the children were hers, and wouldn’t stamp their passports. She returned the next day, and got a similar reaction. The next day, same thing.
Caulcrick, her nerves frayed by months of worry, had heard enough. “Fine,” she said. “You keep them.”
Who was the most surprising 49er last season? Think a minute. Vernon Davis and Dashon Goldson certainly turned important corners, but both had been recognized as having the talent. Michael Crabtree may have exceeded expectations considering how late he got into the game. Aubrayo Franklin?
It’s hard to believe any of them raised more eyebrows that outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks.
Sixth-round draft choice Anthony Dixon is trying to make the 49ers as a power halfback. One of his younger brothers, Rashun, is playing left field for the Kane County Cougars, the Oakland A’s Single-A affiliate. Monday, a third brother, Deshun, will be hoping to hear his name called in the 2010 MLB draft.
“When it comes on Monday, I will be in front of the TV watching every single round until I get drafted,” Deshun told the (Jackson) Clarion Ledger.
Media outlets both local and national, starting with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and bouncing all the way up to ESPN, have reported that the 49ers are not interested in pursuing safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, who became a free agent at midnight last night. Take that as a tacit endorsement of Dashon Goldson.
We’ll see if the 49ers’ coaching staff can school the Cardinals and Seahawks this season. We now know they can school the media.
Head coach Mike Singletary and coordinators Jimmy Raye, Greg Manusky and Kurt Schottenheimer spent about 2½ hours cluing in local writers on the team’s basic on-field goals, the installation of game plans and the complexities of terminology. It was billed as 49ers Football 101.
Rookie tackle Anthony Davis was sitting on a low stool in front of his locker Tuesday, talking to reporters with a towel draped across the appropriate area when, about two questions into the interview, his 323 pounds suddenly toppled backward and off the stool.
There was a split-second of concern, but Davis quickly erupted into squeals of high-pitched laughter. “That’s a blooper, right?” he said.
Yes, and probably not the last for him or any other NFL rookie.
In case you missed it, 49ers tight end Vernon Davis and hard-hitting Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson engaged in a highly entertaining tweet-off this morning. No, scratch that. Arizona defensive tackle Darnell Dockett did all the texting for Wilson, by proxy. The give-and-take went like this…
Almost forgot to post it: Here’s my story for the Press Democrat on Larkspur native Travis LaBoy, who finally gets to suit up the team he loved as a boy. His brother/agent says Travis’ four-game suspension last December was due to doctor-prescribed medication he had been taking to rehab an injury he suffered back with Tennessee.
We’re in between practices here on Day 2 of the 49ers’ rookie mini-camp. Tomorrow’s session has morphed from a field practice to team meetings, with no media access, so today’s afternoon work could be the last we see of the young guys for a while. Here are some observations from the morning practice.
And other wack answers from Michael Robinson’s “Know Your Coach” session with his 49ers teammates. See the film on Robinson’s web site: http://www.michaelrobinson24.com/
According to the Honolulu advertiser, former Hawaii defensive tackle Rocky Savaiigaea will get a tryout at this weekend’s minicamp. If he made the team, Savaiigaea could join Isaac Sopoaga and Travis LaBoy as a trio of Warriors. He’s a long shot, of course; then again, his name is Rocky.
I have a Twitter account. My 14-year-old daughter will be so proud. Please start following Skinny_Post for Niners news. We’ll link it to this blog shortly, and I’ll try to acquire the social-networking skills of a second grader before the mini-camp.