The good and not so good from Day 2 of 49ers minicamp

SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out to me during Day 2 of 49ers minicamp.

THE GOOD

1. QB Colin Kaepernick. Replaced Thad Lewis as the No. 2 quarterback during 3-on-3s and 7-on-7s, and completed 11 of 14 pass attempts. Two of those passes were dropped, meaning Kaepernick was locked in. He led two drives during a red-zone drill and finished both drives with touchdown passes – one to Dres Anderson and another to Bruce Miller.

2. WR Torrey Smith. Beat Jimmie Ward once with a go route to catch a deep pass before falling out of bounds, beat Chris Davis once with a corner route for a touchdown during a red zone drill and and beat Tramaine Brock four times – twice with a curl route, once with a smoke route and once with a slant over the middle. On the slant, Smith outran Brock across the field and up the sideline for an easy touchdown.

3. WR Quinton Patton. By far his best practice of the offseason. Schooled rookie corner Rashard Robinson with a hard square-in route during 3-on-3s. Also beat Kenneth Acker and Jimmie Ward with crisp curl routes.

4. WR Bruce Ellington. Easily beat Chris Davis to the back corner of the end zone for a touchdown in a red-zone drill. On that play, running backs Tom Rathman yelled, “Touchdown! Touchdown!” before the center even snapped the ball. Rathman must not think highly of Davis.

5. WR Dres Anderson. Beat Robinson for a 14-yard gain with a deep curl route on third-and-8. The pass from Thad Lewis was late, which allowed Robinson to recover and swipe at the ball. But Anderson jumped and caught it over Robinson’s outstretched hand.

6. WR DeAndre Smelter. Participated during 3-on-3s and 7-on-7s for the first time since Week 1 of OTAs and made his first catch in front of the media this offseason. Still seemed injured, though. Made a cut in the end zone during a positional drill, grimaced and started limping. Hard to know why. Either his surgically repaired knee bothers him, or he has new injuries.

7. RB Shaun Draughn. Made a 20-yard catch downfield on a wheel route up the seam. Jumped and extended his arms like a wide receiver to catch the ball.

8. TE Vance McDonald. Played with the first-team offense more than any other tight end. Lined up both on the line and in the slot, and dropped zero passes for the second practice in a row.

9. TE Je’Ron Hamm. Made two twisting catches on back-shoulder fades while running up the seam.

10. DE Arik Armstead. Lined up in a two-point stance at right defensive end in the 49ers’ Nickel defense most of practice, while Aaron Lynch lined up at left defensive end and Quinton Dial and Mike Purcell lined up at the defensive tackle spots. Interesting way to use Armstead in sub-packages on running downs such as first-and-10. Much tougher to take out his long legs with combination blocks when he’s rushing from the edge as opposed to the inside.

11. NT Ronald Blair. Played with the second-team defense and lined up at 1-technnique, slightly to the side of the center. Did not face the line of scrimmage – faced the center while turning his body diagonally. Frequently blew by backup center Marcus Martin.

THE NOT SO GOOD

1. QB Blaine Gabbert. Completed 12 of his first 13 passes, then completed just 10 of his next 18. Particularly struggled with longer passes, overthrowing a couple by a cool 10 yards.

2. TE Bruce Miller. Dropped back-to-back bullet passes thrown by Kaepernick in the red zone. The first pass was a bullet up the seam; the second a bullet near the sideline. Miller is much more comfortable catching touch passes in the flat or over his shoulder.

3. CB Jimmie Ward. Played both right and left cornerback for the first time this offseason and gave up three catches, including a deep catch to Torrey Smith. Also flagged once for holding and once for illegal hands to the face.

4. CB Tramaine Brock. After getting abused most of practice by Torrey Smith, Brock gave up a touchdown catch to DiAndre Campbell in the red zone. Campbell beat Brock with a simple slant route and Brock couldn’t recover. Will be interesting to see how Brock handles himself during the season, considering all the man coverage the Niners will use. He certainly didn’t handle himself well today.

5. CB Rashard Robinson. Beaten four times and flagged once for illegal hands to the face of a receiver. After Robinson gave up catch No. 4, both Quinton Patton and Bruce Ellington yelled, “That’s on you, 33!” from the sideline, amused by the brash rookie’s poor coverage.

6. CB Keith Reaser. Beaten over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, including twice for touchdowns. Reaser might be the least confident cornerback I’ve ever seen in the NFL. He almost looks like he expects to get beaten.

7. CB Chris Davis. The first-team nickel back only because Reaser is so bad. Davis isn’t much better, though. He also gave up a touchdown in the red zone. The Niners need a new nickel fast.

  1. Armstead at RDE in nickel, huh? Sounds awfully similar to something I suggested previously, though I thought they might use Buckner in that role. As you say, good way to help stop the run using nickel fronts.

    Out of curiosity, what alignment were they typically using? Under or over? Or something else?

    1. Looked like Dial and Purcell at 2-technique and Armstead and Lynch on the edges in 2-point stances. Tough to tell from the sideline, though. I’ll look again tomorrow.

      1. Thanks Grant.

        Using an even front is interesting. Provides some flexibility in gap responsibility, I guess. Funnily enough, I would have thought Armstead playing directly over the RG would have been ideal for him… maybe they ultimately put him at LDT and Buckner at RDE in such a front.

          1. Lynch is too good to take out of that role. He’s best playing as a DE in nickel, and he’s pretty good against both run and pass.

            1. True. Just a little dangerous playing such a tall player inside on running downs. Long legs extremely vulnerable against combination blocks.

              1. Yeah, but seeing Armstead pushing the RG back into the QB was one of the few highlights of last season… He’d be vulnerable to a C/G combo block, but still, he’d have a short distance to travel to get to the RG and start bullying him too.

              2. That certainly is his best spot on passing downs. Will be interesting to see how he does there on first down next season.

      2. FWIW, Reaser is a zone-only CB. And he was the worst CB on the roster last year. Even worse than Sharee Wright.

        So getting beat like a drum in man coverage. Yep. Yep. Yep.

  2. Yeah I immediately recalled that Nickel alignment you proposed when I read that Scooter.

    Sounds like they may need to move Ward back to the slot when they go to the Nickel and hope Redmond recovers in time to become the backup at some point this season.

    Glad to read Kap had a better day today. Were the passes to Miller off target, thrown too hard, or just flat out dropped Grant?

    Dres Anderson huh? Here’s hoping he carries this into the preseason.

    Not good regarding Smelter. They really need this kid to be a part of the offense this year imo. At the very least he needs to stay healthy enough to practice.

    It appears VM is going to get every opportunity to play the Ertz role in this offense. Two days without a drop is borderline amazing. Baby steps.

    Good job with the update Grant. Thanks.

    1. The passes were hard but not too hard. Kap was throwing into tight windows. Miller has to catch those throws.

      1. Grant i know its early but do you see any improvement in gabbert actually looking further then 5 yards to complete a pass or is he just going to be king of checkdowns forever

        1. He has been very aggressive throwing downfield in minicamp. Yesterday he hit most of those throws, today he hit only one.

          1. This whole deals going to be rough to judge since consistency isn’t something BG or CK are known for. I expect a lot of up and down this week and all through TC as well from their performances. Its a strong showing from CK today but I expect we’re going to continue to hear different media personalities declare winner almost daily even during the early parts of the season. I am excited for the competition. Should be a much better offense than last year.

            1. As far as our other potential QB how is his body language out there? Does he look confident and happy to be out there?

          2. Reading some of the other beat writers suggests that Gabbert did not have a poor day. From Maiocco:

            “Torrey Smith had another good showing on the practice field, including a catch of 40-plus yards from Gabbert against tight coverage of Jimmie Ward down the field. He also caught a 15-yard touchdown in 7-on-7 drills.”

            Gabbert also through a TD to Ellington in the corner of the end zone.

            So glad to hear that Gabbert is being more aggressive. He really needed to work on not being so conservative.

            Glad to hear Kap has shown dramatic improvement in only his second day of team practice.

            Competition at QB is excellent to have and should bring out the best in both guys.

            1. Gabbert wasn’t bad. He made those two nice throws. But he was not so good for the majority of the second half of practice. Grossly overthrew a few deep passes, committed an intentional grounding penalty and failed to score twice in the red zone.

              1. Thanks for the extra information. I asked about Busta yesterday and am still hoping you’ll provide some information if there’s anything to say.

              2. Anderson caught one pass today on a quick out route, and that’s when Patton and Ellington started yelling Robinson.

            2. As I read the other camp reviews two guys both said CK still looked rusty but did well and seemed to relay what Cubus is saying here about BG. I think we’re all so disappointed by last years offense we really want to see a team that can score.

            3. That’s what I read as well Cubus. Different writers, different agenda.
              I don’t think OTA’s mean much for a team installing a new system and coaches learning about their players.

    2. Rocket do we dare hope VM could even be partially as good at Ertz? I almost would love not to hear a thing and for him to show up in the season and play well. GC notes several times that he made big strides late in the year last year. Maybe’s there’s an upward trend there that we’re not seeing because of his past performances?

      1. Do you think this notion that Gabbert throws a more catchable ball than Kap has anything to do with it? I’m not even sure if that is really true, but Kap is known to throw hard (see B. Miller’s drops from today).

        1. I’ve read people suggesting that here Cubus. Grant said the throws CK made today weren’t that hard and that Miller should have caught both of them. No other receiver dropped any of CK’s passes today. If you track the drops VM had during OTA’s before this CK wasn’t even allowed to play yet. I think the consistency of drops is more about VM than the QB. I do think CK can put too much velocity on his throws and we know from last year that Logan was having BG throw at 85%. Which was argued ad nauseam here. It’d be worth going back and having someone watch all the catches and drops VM makes from last season and see what the differences are. I also think we got thin on TE’s last season and they stopped running those 3 TE’s sets and those guys were out in the passing game more. Sorry to be so long. Who has the time to go back and analyze all of VM’s catches?

        2. Cubus

          That “catchable ball” notion is something I’ve pushed, and my only evidence is what my eyes told me after watching every snap for all of VMs career. Take it with a grain of salt. NFL receivers should be able to catch passes from all types of passers.

          1. Would it not be a lot easier if NFL wide receiver’s just caught the ball and fell down according to Sebnnoying?

  3. Gabbert is already starting to crumble under the pressure and it’s not even training camp? Yikes! #7tormscoming…LOL! You mad bro? Ha! Let’s get this party started, and may the best man win, right Prime?

    1. Hmm, 11-14 with 2 drops, so Kaep was on target 93% of the time?

      Guess he has worked on his ACCURACY. ;p

      1. Its mini camp with no pads and DB’s can’t make contact. I wouldn’t over do it but we can expect both BG’s and CK’s completion numbers to go up in this system.

        1. Yes, if Flaherty does his job, the opponents will have no pass rush. Maybe you need to brush up on basic football strategy.

          Kaep, being on target 93% of the time, means that he is accurate. Hard for you to accept that, but the truth hurts sometimes. You would rip him if he missed 13 targets, so I get to crow about how accurate he was. You wanted an answer, that was an emphatic yes, he has improved his accuracy. It also sounded like he was making the right decisions, so he was thinking quickly and smartly, making the proper reads.

          Any moron can bluster and hurl insults because they have nothing more interesting to say. Sounds like you still have not impressed me with your football knowledge.

          1. Seb you fool, no pass rush you should be 100%. Your boy was 93%. That’s with no one in his face! He’s a pro athlete and your encouraged by a guy throwing with no one in his face.
            Talk about no football IQ. You are suggesting VMac just fall down after catches and now CK accurate because he has no one in his face. Are you stupid or 13 yearsold?

            1. Gabbert was only 70%, and sounded like less than 50% on the deep throws.

              Why was he not 100%? Because they have defensive backs covering them. Gabbert was inaccurate. Your football IQ is really low to not realize that point. When you say things like that, your stupidity is resplendently displayed for all to see. I do not need to ask you if you are stupid, you prove it every time all by yourself.

              1. I’m 100% accurate throwing passes out in the street to my friend, distances of 5 yards to 45 yards in the air…guess I should be given a tryout huh

            2. Prime Time

              Thank you…I was preparing for another litany of “93%” and more pumped up Kaep stats….

      2. This tiny sample size, and your saying Kap has worked out his accuracy problems? OK, lets say, as you imply, hes got that all squared away.

        Now lets see how he does looking at multiple options and reading defenses…………….

        1. Look, it is his first time back from being injured and recovering from surgery. True, it is a small sample size and it is only practice without pads, but there have been many many QBs who have come back, and have been way more inaccurate.

          Kaep, being 13 out of 14 times on target, sounds like he was accurate. Lets see how he does in TC, but the Kaep haters must be feeling pretty badly right now. Kaep is proving them wrong, and it must stick in their craw.

          Cant wait til tomorrow, I think he will speak.

        2. No, we cannot conclusively say Kaep’s accuracy issues have been resolved. However, at this point I think we should just be happy that he is throwing the ball well. Don’t read much into anything at this point but its nice knowing he is throwing pitch and catch pretty well.

          As to the catchable ball stuff. I have never bought into it from a velocity standpoint. If the receiver is 3 yards away, sure, but otherwise the wr has to catch it. Ball placement is a bigger issue to me as this can help a receiver immensely in terms of yac. John Elway is a great example of a successful qb who threw a very hard ball.

  4. tell us what your really think of Reaser, Grant! lol!

    your observations about Armstead lining up at End in the Nickel subpackage I found very interesting. That’s a very heavy line up for a typical Nickel package. I wonder if it may be some specialty heavy run stopping nickel package to play against teams that run out of 3+ WR personnel groups?

  5. Grant, I love these breakdowns. I have to remind myself to always under-react to training camp reports and preseason games. Its always a somewhat different picture when the season starts.

    Torrey Smith – Not a once trick pony. Kelly will make sure he gets the ball this year.

    Quinton Patton – Seemed like he was on life support. Encouraging to hear he stood out.

    Bruce Ellington – If Ellington and Hyde stay healthy, look out.

    DeAndre Smelter – I hope its a minor thing that has nothing to do with his knee. I’m surprised because he was talking like he was ready to play week one of last year.

    Arik Armstead – He (and Buckner) are athletic enough to pull it off. I’ve even seen Buckner line up at the wide 9 spot for the Ducks.

    Ronald Blair – His highlights are full of him shooting gaps that are not the one he initially lined up over. He might be thinking 1-tech, but his brain could be honed in on either 3-gap. He’s going to be fun.

    Jimmie Ward – They want him on the field more, but the 49ers current position depth might glue him to the pine 30-40% of snaps. Safety / Slot CB could be his more ideal spots.

    Rashard Robinson – Seems to be the theme. He shuts down boundary patterns, but gets killed inside. Hope that smooths out with experience. Some single high systems employ LBs and STs in “quarters coverage.” This fallows taller edge CBs to focus on shutting down deep and outside patterns.

        1. Ya but he struggled on deeper balls like usual he is able to complete 70 percent when they are checkdowns its how he was last year looks good on paper but realistically he doesnt try to win.

  6. Before everyone gets too carried away with how well the receivers are doing and how poorly the DBs are doing, it is worth remembering that this time of year is set up for the receivers to look good. No pads, little contact. Once the pads go on and the DBs are allowed to play more aggressively on the ball (and through the routes) we will have a much better handle on where the receivers and secondary are truly at.

    1. Equally important to realize that just because someone is lining up in one position today doesn’t mean that’s the position he’s playing week 1. Players are being substituted for missing starters as well as simply being ‘tried’ out in different spots while there’s no real contact going on. I wouldn’t be writing the nickel or front 7 alignment in pen any time soon.

      1. Good point. Only gives us some idea as to where they might be thinking these guys could play moving forward. Not where they will play.

    2. It’s also worth noting that the fans believed the CB group was a weakness going into last season, but it wound up being one of the team’s few strengths.

      1. Was it a strength last season? I know in 2014 there was a lot of doom and gloom about the CBs and they performed well above expectations, but last season not so much.

        1. PFF seems to think so. In their explanation of their ranking the 49ers CBs 14th, they say Ward, Brock, and Johnson all graded well. They also point out that Brock only gave up more than 75 yards three times and Ward had the 10th most defensive stops in the league with 21. Given the poor play of the front seven, I’d say the CBs held their own despite the fact none of them are a true #1.

          1. Further evidence it was largely the coverage of the LBs and safeties that were the weak link last season. Though Acker also had his struggles, and was the starter most of the year.

  7. in fact; riffing on the idea of a “Big Nickel” that had linemen capable of stuffing the run…what you describe about Ronald Blair is called a “Tilted” Nose Guard/Tackle. It’s a technique (sometime used by 4-3 defenses) that have the “tilted” nose line up at a slanted angle in the gap facing his blocker. it’s designed to get that 1/3 Tech to blow up the middle and/or demand a double team from the Guard and Center. Way back in High School, I remember our Nose Guard (we played a 3-4) would at times line up tilted in a 4 point stance (he was an all league wrestler so a 4 point stance worked for him).

    from a BucsNation article:

    Ron Jaworski in his book The Games That Changed The Game, co-authored with Greg Cosell and David Plaut asked former Steelers linebacker Andy Russell about how the tilted nose came about.

    “This offset alignment was something Joe [Greene] developed himself, out of frustration. [..] He hated to get blocked and wanted to make plays. So it occurred to him that, because he was so quick, he should just line up inside, between the center and the guard, tip his shoulder sideways, and when the ball was snapped, he’d just dart through that hole. He was supposed to line head-up on the guard. He jumped in the gap between the guard and center, tilted his body, and just blew through that gap, and it was devastating. It was a beautiful thing to see.”

    So this heavy 4 man nickel line and tilted nose technique are very interesting possible additions/wrinkles to the defense.

    1. Is the purpose of the tilt to present a smaller profile to the offensive linemen and therefore make it easier to run/squeeze through the gap?

      1. @cubus

        I suppose so in some sense. Basically it’s all about leverage advantage. When a lineman has a run fit responsibility, it’s not only just a gap responsibility but also how he attacks the gap within the scheme of the defense. while his primary goal is to blow up the play in the backfield; within the scheme it’s usually to push the ball carrier one inside or outside. defensive linemen do that by attacking the sides of gaps by targeting the offensive lineman’s hips. So if it’s a containment scheme (pushing the ball carrier inside) the d-lineman will attack the hip of a lineman on the outer edge of the gap. If it’s a spill scheme (pushing the ball carrier outside) the O-lineman will attack the hip of the offensive lineman on the inside part of the gap. a tilted nose will give the nose some an initial advantage on gaining leverage and getting to the hip in the correct area of the gap.

        for more info on run fits. Run Defense: Run Fits and Fitting the Puzzle Pieces Together

    2. also interesting are comments made by Tarver about the Rush End/OLB position when talking about Tank Carradine.

      “We’re going to be up and down in our stances, two point and three point,” Tarver said. “We’ll vary that for a lot of different reasons. That way we can both rush and drop out of a three-point stance and the offense doesn’t necessarily know what we’re going to do.”

      http://www.csnbayarea.com/49ers/tarver-carradine-gets-better-every-day-49ers

      From a run fit scheme standpoint; it will be interesting to discover what kind of responsibilities the Ends/OLBs have. Ends typically have Spill duties while OLBs are usually Force/Contain Players. However in some more exotic or older types of defensive schemes the Ends can play “boxed” and be the containment player if they’re aligned wide enough….I do not know if this will be part of the Niner’s defensive scheme…but it’s an interesting wrinkle. We know that O’Neil will play a varied front type of defense. So we’re probably going to see different types of run fit schemes depending on the opponent’s offensive schemes and how they line up.

  8. Thanks for the updates Grant! Weren’t the defensive backs dominating in OTA’s? Interesting to see it shift in minicamp. Can’t wait to see what happens when the pads come on!

  9. Get ready to see all our corners get beat this season over and over and over and over and over. Especially Jimmy “the bust” ward. Over and over and over and over.

    1. I wouldn’t count on that. Ward was one of the best CB in the entire NFL, during the 2nd half of last season, according to PFF. Since it’s logical to assume that he is only getting better, I wouldn’t count on Ward getting beat much this season.

      This team has a solid, experienced CB in T. Brock, and a lot of size and speed at the position this season, plus, with an expected improvement in QB pressures, I expect our CB group to be much improved this season.

      1. 49 several of us have tried to help him see the truth in what you’re saying. He’s made up his mind from that Bear’s game Ward’s rookie year. I think two things are factors here. 1. Scooter pointed out DB’s are not allowed to make any contact without pads meaning its a win for the WR’s, if they can’t win this battle we’re really in trouble at WR. 2. Its hard to move from slot or safety outside. Different skill sets to some extent.

        1. I didnnt mention his rookie year everything I was saying about him
          Was from last year. He didn’t cover anybody. Plus who needs to throw to the slot receiver when the the first two reads are most likely open. Ward is not good. He’s getting burnt by the deep ball. He sux.

          1. Sorry, but survey says you’re full of it because the evidence destroys your claim.

      2. Ward was getting burnt in the slot and you expect him to cover the 1 and 2 receivers?? You guys are delusional. He didn’t cover anyone in the slot. He played horrible teams the second half of the seasons. Bengals with no dalton bears no receivers Browns and trash Rams no receivers. Brock was constantly getting burnt too. You guys let those misleading stats fool you into thinking we have something we don’t. Which is people that can cover.

    2. It’s a position group that’s probably a year away from being really good, thanks to youth an inexperience. However, this group has a lot to like physically, with very good speed, good size, and a ton of potential, IMO.

    1. He has been quiet during minicamp. Didn’t get any targets today. Bruce Ellington and Dres Anderson have been the breakout WRs this week.

  10. More really good reporting Grant! Seriously good stuff! Really glad to hear Kap is getting close to full-go, and seems to be rather sharp already!

    A couple notes:

    * Matt Maiocco identified Bathea, not Davis, as the player who Ellington beat during the red-zone drill in which Rathman was shouting Touchdown…Touchdown!

    * A little discrepency between your reporting, and Ryan Sakamoto’s reporting in terms of Patton’s day VS rookie CB Rashard Robinson. Sakamoto claims he spoke with defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley and asked who he had been impressed with. Hafley mentioned both Tramaine Brock and Rashard Robinson. Sakamoto went on to mention that Robinson did a nice job while covering WR Quinton Patton Wednesday, during 11-on-11 drills.

    Sakamoto: “Rookie CB Rashard Robinson did a nice job on WR Quinton Patton all day today, playing outside as the RCB during 11 on 11 drills, and on one particular play, Robinson played w/outside leverage and maintained proper leverage throughout the jam, showing off his very patient feet.”

    It sounds like, according to my research, many football coaches, scouts, and opposing players, describe R. Robinson as a gifted press CB, and citing his impressive length/speed & physicality, combined with natural instincts, mirroring ability, and UNWAVERING confidence, give him a high ceiling, and pro-bowl potential as a man to man, press Corner.

    * Chris Biderman of Niners Wire stated that DeAndre Smelter “appears to be having some discomfort in his lower body.” and that, prior to today’s practice, Chip Kelly stated that the issue IS NOT related to his surgically repaired knee. So that’s good news in my book!

    A couple questions:

    – Maiocco noted that Aaron Lynch, Tank Carradine and Eli Harold all generated consistently good pressure during team drills! Was that your observation as well?

    – According to Maiocco, Hafly also singled out Prince Charles Iworah, as another player who has shown noticeable improvement so far during OTA’s. Where has he been lining up, and from what you have noticed, does he look like a guy who could excel as a nickle CB, given time to develop?

    1. Thank you. Bethea was in the area, but Davis was the nickel back covering Ellington in the slot on that play.

      The one time Patton was targeted while Robinson was covering him, Patton created big-time separation with a square-in route.

      Chip Kelly also said Kapernick would NOT participate in 7-on-7s one hour before Kaepernick participated in 7-on-7s.

      Lynch got the most pressure by far. Had two touch-sacks on Gabbert the last 20 minutes of practice. Carradine and Harold each knocked down one pass.

      Iworah has been lining up at LCB with the 3s, and getting beaten repeatedly by Aaron Bubridge who’s having a very nice minicamp.

      1. Thanks for your quick response, and clarification Grant. For what it’s worth, I trust your reporting.

    2. Wouldn’t this be a dream come true pass edge pass rush group?

      – Maiocco noted that Aaron Lynch, Tank Carradine and Eli Harold all generated consistently good pressure during team drills! Was that your observation as well?

      Then if we could see some interior plays from Armstead, Buckner, Dial and Blair our front 7 could return to form.

      1. Harold and Carradine got some push playing against the 2s, but Armstead got the most time at RDE with the 1s.

    1. Major question marks at quarterback, receiver, tight end and offensive line. Probably four wins at most.

      1. All because we no longer have Iupati, Boone, Moss, Davis, Gore, Smith, Smith, and Willis. What is wrong with these new 49ers? 4 HOFers leave and we’re just dust in the wind now.

  11. Grant,any word on dontae johnson is he ok ?is it serious? Also think vance is going to have a great year this year just got a feeling.good to hear about Ellington,worried about smelter.How did the oline look?

    1. Doesn’t seem serious, but he’s not participating in teams drills. Can’t really judge the O-line until they put on pads.

  12. From the land of “Math, how does it work?:”

    THE NOT SO GOOD

    QB Blaine Gabbert. Completed 12 of his first 13 passes (92%), then completed just 10 of his next 18 (55%). Particularly struggled with longer passes, overthrowing a couple by a cool 10 yards.

    Total — 22 of 31: 71%. Sorry, but I’ll ****ing take a 71% completion percentage any game of the year.

  13. Grant, many have thanked you for your reporting on the practices, and I must echo their sentiments. Your player by player assessments make this site a must read, and a big reason I like it here.

    I also like to compare your post with other blogs like Barrows, Maiocco and Inman. They seem to dwell on the positives, but you seem to be more balanced. Those are the things I want to read about- the nitty gritty.

    It is interesting how 2 reporters can witness the same thing, yet have different perspectives. I will take your viewpoint if they were yelling 33, which is RR’s number.

    Cant wait to hear Kaep talk.

      1. Prime, with you being such a football lightweight, you probably did not know that falling down after the catch can be an effective strategy.

        In the 2011 NFCCG, the Giant receivers were instructed to catch the ball and fall down. That way, Goldson and Whitner could not deliver a huge hit and separate the receiver from the ball.They could only run up and touch them while down, so the receivers were not hit very much and were effective later in the game.

        If it means catching the ball and securing it while falling to the ground, or looking to run with it before catching it, and dropping the ball, you must prefer the latter.

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