Kaepernick throws interceptions during crunch time

SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out to me at Sunday morning’s padded practice.


1. Bruce Ellington. Dropped a pass during one-on-ones, but during team drills he made seven catches, more than any other receiver. He made half of those catches running routes out of the backfield. That was new. He made his best catch as an outside receiver, though. He lined up against Dontae Johnson and ran straight down the sideline. When Josh Johnson threw the pass, Dontae Johnson had two steps on Ellington. But Ellington had another gear. He blew past Johnson and caught a 40-yard touchdown pass.

2. Carlos Hyde. Was the starting tailback for the first two reps of 11-on-11 team drills – Frank Gore took the third rep. Hyde also made three catches during team drills. Two of the catches were fantastic. First, he made a 25-yard catch deep down the left sideline. But that wasn’t his best catch. His best catch was just a five-yarder. He ran a shallow outward-breaking route toward the right sideline, and Colin Kaepernick fired the ball behind him. Hyde spun and caught it anyway. That was the most difficult catch anyone made during practice.

3. Vernon Davis. Caught six passes and two touchdown passes during team drills. One of his TDs came on third-and-fifteen at the defense’s 40-yard line. Nick Moody was covering Davis man-to-man. That’s all Kaepernick had to see. He dropped back and threw the ball deep to Davis, who beat Moody by four or five steps. “That’s why they buy your jersey, 85!” one of the coaches yelled.

4. Jimmie Ward. Broke up a deep pass intended for Kassim Osgood during one-on-one drills. Also intercepted a pass during a less-than-full-speed scout-team session. He tipped the pass away from the receiver and caught it. Ward has very good hands – that may be his biggest strength right now.

5. Quinton Dial. Burst into the backfield and tagged Alfonso Smith for a three-yard loss on third-and-two. Dial has the potential to be a dominant run stopper, like Red Bryant used to be.

6. George Whitfield. Tutored Kaepernick right in front of the media. They were alone on a side field – the rest of the team was on another field doing a special teams drill. Whitfield and Kaepernick were working on throwing with touch. Whitfield made Kaepernick loft passes over defenders (ball boys) while kneeling on his right knee – no legs involved in the throwing motion.


1. Colin Kaepernick. Threw two picks. First, he threw one on second-and-ten during a one-minute drill. The offense was losing by six points. On first-and-ten from midfield, Kaepernick threw an incomplete pass behind Ellington deep over the middle. On second-and-ten, Kaepernick again threw it deep over the middle to Ellington, but this time Kaepernick threw too high, Ellington tipped it and D.J. Campbell intercepted it. Next, Kaepernick threw a pick on third-and-seven from the defense’s 15 yard line in an end-of-game drill. The offense was down four points and had no timeouts. Kaepernick dropped back and threw to his left. He never saw Demarcus Dobbs dropping into the coverage. The pass was right to him.

2. Chris Culliver. Pushed David Reed to the ground at the end of a play during team drills. Jim Harbaugh kicked Culliver out of practice for that cheap shot. Before Harbaugh kicked him out, Culliver faced Reed in a one-on-one drill. Reed ran deep and Culliver ran with him step-for-step, but he never turned his head to find the ball. Coaches screamed, “BALL!” to let Culliver know it was time to turn his head, but he never did.

3. Darryl Morris. Dropped an easy interception during one on ones. Devon Wylie tipped a pass right to Morris, and he bobbled it and dropped it. Not a graceful play. During team drills, Morris didn’t break up any passes. He got beat once by Ellington and twice by Boldin.

4. Dontae Johnson. Knocked away a pass intended for Ellington during one on ones. But Ellington torched Johnson for a long touchdown catch during 11 on 11s.

5. Quinton Patton. Took three reps during one on ones and then watched the rest of practice from the sideline. He did not participate in team drills.

6. Stevie Johnson. During one on ones, he beat Kenneth Acker once and got beat by Chris Cook once. Johnson did not separate from Cook at all. Afterward, Kaepernick took Johnson to the side and showed him how to get open on that route, pantomiming the upper-body movements for Johnson. During team drills, Johnson got just three targets even though Patton, Michael Crabtree and Brandon Lloyd were out. Johnson caught two passes and dropped one.

This article has 47 Comments

  1. Chris Culliver appears to have a mean streak and, apparently, is still not looking for the ball. He seems to need the ball in front of him. Is he better suited at strong safety? Anyone care to comment?

    1. George:

      You should suggest such a position change the next time that Matt Barrows does a live chat. It’s his favorite topic.

        1. George:

          Just the opposite. For at least two years, commenters on MB’s site have been suggesting a position switch for Culliver, and Barrows has been dismissing the suggestion on the grounds that the 49ers have given no indication that Culliver is going to play anywhere but CB. It has become a running joke during his live chats.

          It doesn’t matter what I think, but I think the 49ers are set at safety for this season and beyond. If Culliver has a future with the team, it is at CB. If he has a real issue with locating the ball on deep passes (and not just a Grant-concocted issue) and can’t fix it, then the 49ers have to give Chris Cook (and maybe Dontae Johnson) serious consideration for the RCB spot.

          1. I agree with you completely. But, as one fan to another, I do care what your opinion is. Also, I realize they have not indicated he has another position, and I realize they are set at safety. What I’m thinking is that he is likely to be replaced when the find someone — Cook, Johnson, Ward, or someone else — who is better. He is a liability if he can’t find the ball, but I’m just saying maybe his natural position is strong safety. That’s all. I know they are not going to put him there just because I say so. By the way, with his dispostion the way it is (I tend to think he’s a thug), once they replace him, I think he’s gone by trade or just outright release, depending on his cap hit. He’s shown he has a bad attitude to women and gays, has left the scene of a crime, and now he’s pushing teammates to the ground.

            1. Let’s just relax a minute on Culliver the guy has had one bad game in his career, it just happened to be in the SB. With that being said every 49ers corner had a bad game during that SB. With the pass rush we had Deion and Woodson could have being covering and they would have gotten torched. Culliver will be fine.

  2. I was waiting for Dontae Johnson to get smoked on a deep route by one of the faster WRs. Had to happen at some point. He’s a long strider, and those guys that have an extra gear like Ellington will give him problems deep. He’s going to have to learn how to cope with guys like that, which will involve being more physical, particularly in the first 5 yards to disrupt them.

    From the sounds of Fangio’s interview, looks like Ward definitely is being eyed to take over the starting nickel job by the time pre-season wraps up, and has impressed the coaches.

    1. Dontae Johnson getting burned deep showed up a lot on tape as well, which is why I wasn’t a big fan of us picking him. Sounds like hes been good in camp but I can’t see him playing a massive role in the defense if we always have to commit a safety to help him over the top.

      1. That’s what coaching is for. He played a lot of off-coverage in college, so he’ll need time to get used to playing a more physical type of coverage. From all reports he is a smart kid, so I’m not too worried about him learning from his mistakes, and he needs to have these moments in camp to learn how to defend fast and shifty WRs better, especially on deep balls.

        As for not being able to play a massive role on D if he needs safety help over the top, plenty of D’s get by doing just that. Keep in mind it would only be providing help over the top when he is matched up against a very fast WR. That happens a lot anyway.

        1. I didn’t really think his technique was poor on tape, he was just slow and there isn’t that much coaching can do to help that. I only watched 2-3 games or so but from what I remember it wasn’t just the speedy receivers who’d give him trouble, guy was getting burned by everybody.

          1. Hmmm, ok, that wasn’t my impression when I watched film. He’s got enough straight line speed, just not the acceleration and agility to mirror really fast and elusive guys. You have to expect that with guys his size.

            He struggled some against Clemson’s speedy duo, but handled Jordan Matthews pretty well. His struggles against Clemson were largely due to the off-technique he was being asked to employ, in my opinion.

            1. Anticipation is the answer for him, but that requires recognition, which comes in time. I’m thinking this dude’s a baller before long.

    1. I’ve wondered if Anthony Dixon’s upright style is better suited for running behind zone blocking. He could do OK for the Bills.

  3. I think my head is going to explode if Culliver is opposite of Brock on Opening Day.
    Good to see that the team finally released the underachieving Baldwin.

  4. Good to hear CK choking in crunch time still. And in practice???? Oh boy I’m sure Seattle is dreading having to face him if he has the ball in the final couple of minutes. I HOPE he’s not one of those 3 quarter qb’s. His turnovers in clutch times have killed any Super Bowl wins.

    1. Amen to this comment! If this season ended turns out to be exact like the last 2 yrs. with the ball in Kaepernick’s hand forcing a throw to make a play and getting INT. That’s it…I don’t think he’ll get pass that hump. It is what it is.

  5. LOL. No such thing as crunch time in practice. I guess Grant had to write something like this to placate the Kaep haters.

    1. An end of game drill is used to imitate crunch time Will. And the fans ones that are placated by the practice info on Kaep are the morons that don’t know (or choose to ignore) that Kaep is up and down in practice.

          1. I’m sure defense plays a part in kap’s performances too..give them some credit people..defenses are not designed to make it easy in practice or game time.. I mean..our defense is the bread and butter of this team..our defensive staff are better than our offensive staff..To quote Run Dmc..”Because it’s like that and that’s the way it is”…

            1. Deezy,
              Another factor is that our defense may have a good beat as to the offensive schemes in practice.
              For now I’ll stick to the old adage that practice makes perfect.

              We can only hope that mistakes in TC don’t come back to bite us during the season.

      1. Awful, which is why they are practicing such situations in camp to help him improve in that area. Actually, to help Kaep and the offense improve in that area.

      2. Ninermd,
        He’s been good and he’s been bad.
        Good against Green Bay and Carolina and not so good against the Ravens (SB) and Seattle (championship game).

        He’s got to get over the hump on the games biggest stage. Because of Kap’ somewhat meteoric rise over the last two years, winning the big one (SB) will be how he will be measured and eventually remembered.

              1. The team doesn’t throw last minute int’s or incompletes. What you think this window will be open forever?
                He’s not going to get a much better team than he’s had for two years. Y’all new comers make me laugh.

              2. I ain’t no newcomer..im just saying everybody has to play better..Kap doesn’t have to win the game by himself for us to win. Alot happens leading up to the fourth quarter.to say it’s all his fault is crazy..

              3. Nobody is saying it’s ALL his fault. What I am stating is the late turnovers and missed throws is…. Where’s the argument dude?

              4. No argument..im trying to figure out where you’re coming from..u said Kap has to win..I brought up the team has to win..you said the team doesn’t throw last min interceptions…So in essence you were saying its all kap fault the last two years..as if .Defense, special teams..our offensive players..coaches..played no part in any of the losses. he’s gotten more experience.goin into full yr #2 as a starter…so I do expect kap to play better this year….But Im not expecting him to be the savior..Not at this point in his career..

              5. The title of this subject says what I’m posting about. If it read defense hasn’t stepped up on 3rd downs id probably have some comments on that subject. Make sense now?
                Look dude. You seem new here I’ve never seen your name before, I’m sure you’ve got the other regulars down.
                I’m a realist. If the team or players are good or bad at something I’m going to call it out. I’m not a big stats guy, and refuse to take it personal if someone disagrees. I’m not a “nothing’s ever wrong” fan. I am a VERY passionate fan. Who’s day or sometimes week can be ruined from a loss. It might sound crazy to some, but it’s one of my loves. So now that you know me, maybe you can refrain from the judgment. Mmm kay?

              6. Okay..ninermd..u can flip it anyway u want. Ive posted on here many times..and im a passionate fan as well..so who’s judging now? But as one fellow fan to another.. im just gonna have to agree to disagree with you..you’re impatient and if it was up to u..we’d be switching qb’s every other yr they don’t win the sb..But I think you’re gettin mad at the wrong guy..U shouldn’t be so down on Kap..I mean who put him in? which im glad and fully supported..But When I look at these past three years..a similar theme keeps emerging..we keep coming up short?.can’t put the opponent away..let em hang around..That falls on coaching “dude”..Harbaugh haven’t won any championship as a player or coach..if we gonna go the route u took with Kap..whatta bout Harbaugh?

              7. Who said I wanted another qb? There you go again assuming. You can’t disagree when you don’t understand the subject. Kick back dude I am a ck fan, I just want him to get better in crunch time.

        1. He does. There is no more excuses for him. Getting acclimated with being a pocket qb or the system. This will be my personal make or break year as a fan of his. I’m glad to hear he got the “guru” to help and I’m sure he will have his bad days in practice, but it’s practice and I keep hearing he hasn’t looked that great. Grants take the other day was refreshing on how he was looking for more than one target. So I’m hoping he makes huge strides this season.

  6. Wow it looks like everyone that received praise on your camp progress report made it on the “not-so-good” list today.

    Good job jinxing them all Grant.

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