Day 10, practice 17: First game nears

Day 10, practice 17: First game nears


The 49ers’ exhibition opener is just four days away, and coach Mike Singletary said he has not settled on a rotation at quarterback.


The smart money has Shaun Hill running with the first team, and Alex Smith coming in second. But Singletary said he will make a decision later in the week. One thing, Singletary said Frank Gore will not see much (any?) action Friday against the Broncos.


Other Singletary tidbits:


–The 49ers will go against the Broncos, and their new defensive coordinator . . . fella by the name of Mike Nolan. Singletary said he learned work ethic from Nolan. He said there were few teams in the past 20 or 30 years of the NFL that were as downtrodden as the 49ers when Nolan and Singletary arrived in 2005. He said Nolan worked tirelessly to build structure in the organization, and to bring in players who possess character and mental toughness. When Nolan was fired at midseason, he advised Singletary to accept the promotion to interim coach. “Mike will always be a great friend,” Singletary said.


–Singletary said he hopes to have a starter named after the third exhibition game. (That does not seem to make a lot sense, because the third game is the one in which the starters play the longest. So does that mean that there’s a chance the QB who plays mostly with the first-team unit might not be named starter for the regular season.)


–The 3-second clock, which made its debut on the practice field last week serves a purpose not only for the quarterbacks, Singletary says, but also for the receivers, offensive line and pass-rushers. After all, all of those players need to be able to make something positive happen within three seconds after the snap of the ball.


–Rookie Glen Coffee was held out of team work today because of a sore ankle. Receiver Isaac Bruce was poked in the eye during a 7-on-7 passing drill, and did not return. He should be fine.


–Reserve running back Thomas Clayton saw his most action. Singletary said he wants Clayton to improve in blitz pickup, as well as hitting the hole (“not dancing as much”).


–Tarell Brown has not practiced since the first day of camp because of a toe strain. But Dre’ Bly is not a rubber-stamped starter at right cornerback, Singletary said. He said Brown has plenty of time to get back in the competition and win the job. Brown opened with the starting unit on the first day of camp.


–Right tackle Adam Snyder has gotten off to a good start in camp. Singletary said Snyder has done what he needs to go to continue to work with the starting unit. Veteran Marvel Smith is competing with Snyder for the job.


–Fullback Moran Norris was excused from camp for personal reasons.


–Patrick Willis (ankle), Delanie Walker (concussion) and Brown (toe) did not take part in practice this morning due to injuries.


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And here are the deets from the morning session:


–Shaun Hill opened with the first unit (it was his turn). On the first segment of 11-on-11 plays, Justin Smith got a major push against 49ers guard Tony Wragge. Clayton did not hold up well in pass protection against Scott McKillop.


–Alex Smith’s first snap of the day resulted in a perfectly thrown deep ball (40 yards in the air) to Arnaz Battle, who made the catch before Michael Lewis could close. Rookie Terrail Lambert looked to have an interception, but somehow Smith squeezed a pass into Micheal Spurlock. Lambert was shaken up on the play, but he’s fine.


–Hill had three incomplete passes, but one as a crossing route that was well-thrown to Josh Morgan, who dropped it.


–Bly, blitzing off the left edge, came through untouched. Smith just threw the ball away, a count or two after Bly would’ve leveled him.


–Rookie QB Nate Davis took the final four snaps of practice. He had a nice throw down the right sideline to Mark Bradford, who tried to catch the well-thrown pass at waist level. It slipped through his hands. He had beaten Lambert on the play.


Davis finished with completions to newcomer Chris Francies, including a deep ball against Allen Rossum and Reggie Smith.


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There’s still no sign of Michael Crabtree, whose contract stalemate is now at 14 days. It’s the fifth-longest rookie impasse in club history behind Jimmy Webb (43 days), Ted Kwalick (25), Larry Roberts (16) and Jim Druckenmiller (15).


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