Jarrett Brown lives! The reps have been exceedingly rare for the undrafted rookie quarterback from West Virginia this training camp, unless you count throwing to receivers in 1-on-1 passing drills.
Before this morning, Brown had only a few appearances in team period through all of camp. But he finished up the final period today with 10 snaps, a veritable pass-a-thon for the fourth-string QB.
Brown, who as a senior became the first Mountaineer since Marc Bulger to pass for more than 2,000 yards, got off to a rough start. OLB Martail Burnett “sacked” him on the first play, and when Brown went ahead and threw the ball, NT Ricky Jean Francois batted it down. With chains moving, Brown connected on short passes to WR Kyle Williams and TE Tony Curtis, but he didn’t get a lot of help from his receivers – FB Jehuu Caulcrick and TE Nate Byham had drops on consecutive plays.
Brown finished his experience by narrowly overthrowing WR Bakari Grant on a fly route. The pass looked pretty, and the free agent will have to take that as his consolation for now.
Other notes and observations from the a.m. practice…
• Fans are out for both practices today. The team was in pads for the morning. Shells in the afternoon, I’m told.
• G/C David Baas was back on the field after missing four days and eight practices with a concussion. He didn’t step into his old job at LG, though. Mike Iupati remained there, and fellow rookie Anthony Davis got all the reps at RT while Adam Snyder worked with the second team. We may be getting our first looks at the 49ers’ 2010 offensive line: Joe Staley at LT, Iupati, Eric Heitmann at C, Chilo Rachal at RG and Davis. Today’s second O-line, for those keeping score: Barry Sims at LT, Tony Wragge at LG, Baas at C, Snyder at RG and Alex Boone at RT.
• OLB Travis LaBoy remains out with a concussion, WR Scott Long with a strained hamstring, and OLB Ahmad Brooks joined the wounded with bruised ribs. TE Delanie Walker, another concussion victim, dressed but was limited. WR Brandon Jones tweaked his right hamstring and exited practice.
• NaVorro Bowman needs to develop a better sense of timing, and I don’t mean when he closes on passes. The rookie ILB got a burst of media attention yesterday when it became clear that he will get more reps in the absence of Scott McKillop (torn ACL and patellar tendon). But Bowman picked today to dominate the action. In a 1-on-1 blocking drill matching a running back or a tight end with a linebacker, he just killed Anthony Dixon and Glen Coffee, running over each of them once – I mean, flat on the ground – and nimbly eluding each once. He also ran right around Michael Robinson.
• Team period featured a lot of handoffs, and the defense enjoyed a decided advantage. During one span of four snaps, CB Shawntae Spencer, ILB Takeo Spikes and NT Ricky Jean Francois all blew up plays in the backfield. Of course, running plays are hard to evaluate without tackling.
• Diyral Briggs got some first-team reps at OLB in 7-on-7 period.
• Getting physical: S Curtis Taylor knocks off TE Nate Byham’s helmet during team period.
• Nice plays by TE Vernon Davis (athletic catch on Alex Smith’s throw after giving S Michael Lewis a little push), FB Moran Norris (took out Jean Francois on a block), CB Tarell Brown (knocked away David Carr’s deep pass to Jason Hill), G Chilo Rachal (picked up Michael Lewis’ blitz) and WR Kyle Williams (several catches, including roasting CB LeRoy Vann deep after getting him to bite on a short route).
• I understand the 49ers are battling the infamous “injury bug” right now, but I’m hoping it doesn’t extend to me. DE Khalif Mitchell accidentally tapped my head with his facemask after one sideline play. And just a couple snaps later, Vann tripped on the perimeter chain while returning to the field, stumbled and nearly took me out from behind. Don’t worry, I’m probable for the afternoon practice.