Granted, the receiver was Lance Long, who has yet to fully establish his credentials as an NFL wideout.
And, yes, it’s possible Long was slightly off-balance as he made his turn on a short out route.
Still, it was telling that Long reached up to catch rookie Colin Kaepernick’s pass at today’s players-only offensive minicamp and … catapulted backwards to the turf at Spartan Stadium as if he’d just attempted to grab a flying boulder.
The impression: Kaepernick has mucho mustard on his throws.
“I had a few receivers come tell me that I’ve been throwing it pretty good,” Kaepernick said, smiling. “I think you just get used to seeing the different flights of different quarterback’s balls. So some of those guys haven’t caught my balls yet so it’s just something they’re getting used to.”
Said left tackle Joe Staley, “He was slinging it out there today. The ball comes off his arm pretty fast.”
The bad news for Niners receivers is they might need to place their hands in an ice bath tonight. But the good news for Kaepernick is that he was able to participate fully in the first day of the four-day camp at San Jose State. Kaepernick was limited at the first camp – only tossing warm-up throws — in early June after undergoing a minor surgical procedure on his lower left leg following the NFL draft.
Kaepernick said he’s yet to receive full medical clearance, but he expects to get that “soon” — when he has his next doctor’s appointment.
“It feels great to be back out here and being able to fully participate in it,” Kaepernick said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to just get in there and start showing my teammates what I’m capable of and start trying work in that leadership role.”
To that end, Kaepernick said his teammates have instructed him to take charge and not hesitate to correct any mistakes – even if those errors are being committed by a 10-year veteran.
Staley offered positive early reviews.
“We’re excited about him,” he said. “He’s a rookie coming in and he’s been telling everybody else what to do. He doesn’t have that deer-in-the-headlights mentality. I think he’s going to be a good quarterback.”
• The Michael Crabtree Chronicles added a few more interesting pages today.
After missing the final three days of practice at the first minicamp with what fellow wide receiver Josh Morgan termed “sore feet,” Crabtree was limited at today’s practice. He ran a few warm-up routes and then became an observer. At the end of practice, Crabtree was in a quarterback group with Kaepernick, Alex Smith and David Carr and was monitoring the action on the field. He was holding sheets of paper, which, presumably, had play calls.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, citing one of Crabtree’s teammates, said the third-year wideout was being cautious due to a problem with his left foot. Crabtree had a stress fracture in the foot prior to the 2009 NFL draft.
Crabtree left the stadium today on a golf cart with several teammates and did not speak with reporters.
Morgan abruptly ended a lengthy interview session with a group of reporters when asked about Crabtree.
The question: How did Crabtree look today?
“How did Crabtree look?” Morgan said. “I don’t know. You can’t just put me on the spot with a Crabtree question. I’m going to go. It was nice talking to y’all. Crabtree looked good. It looked like he was in shape.”
• Staley, who termed Crabtree a “great teammate” during a recent radio interview, was asked about his assessment today.
“I think he’s a professional. I don’t have to like the guy – I’m not saying I don’t like the guy. Shoot, that probably came out bad,” Staley said, laughing. “I’m trying to say that I don’t have to like any of my co-workers. I feel like a good teammate is someone who takes care of business as a professional.”
• T Alex Boone, who missed the first minicamp due to his honeymoon in Jamaica, has maintained last season’s weight of about 310 pounds. Boone, who lost about 30 pounds prior to the 2010 season, has been joined by fellow weight watchers Staley, Adam Snyder and Anthony Davis. The trio has all dropped weight and declared themselves in better shape this offseason.
“I’ve started a revolution,” Boone said.
Boone has spent the offseason working out in Ohio under the guidance of former All-Pro NFL offensive linemen LeCharles Bentley, who now coaches offensive linemen.
• The first minicamp only featured X’s and O’s during the classroom sessions led by Alex Smith.
Today, though, Smith’s presentation consisted of game film. Kaepernick said the cut-ups were of pro and college West Coast offenses.
“It definitely (helps) because you get to see it from a birdseye view as far as what exactly you’re trying to get done on each play and what the quarterback is looking at,” Kaepernick said. “… It prepares you a little bit better than just looking at it on paper.”
• Today’s participants, by position group:
Quarterbacks: Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, David Carr
Running backs/fullbacks: Anthony Dixon, Moran Norris
Wide receivers: Michael Crabtree, Josh Morgan, Ted Ginn, Kyle Williams, Ronald Johnson, Kevin Jurovich, Lance Long
Tight ends: Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Colin Cloherty
Offensive linemen: Joe Staley, Adam Snyder, Mike Iupati, Alex Boone, Mike Person,
• Notable offensive names not in attendance: RB Frank Gore, G Chilo Rachal, C David Baas, T Anthony Davis.