Notes and observations from Day 4 of Niners’ OTAs

Enough with machinations of the guys in suits! Here, finally, are some random notes, observations, little hairlines and drops-and-rolls from the fourth and final day of OTAs this week:

• Rookie RB Anthony Dixon did not participate in practice. Coach Mike Singletary: “Some of these young guys, we’ve pushed them pretty hard so far. Anthony is a guy where everything he does, he does full speed, whether it’s running in the morning, running after practice, running the plays during the drills. I just think that he ran out of gas a little bit.”


• LB Diyral Briggs was excused for personal reasons, and CB Will James, acquired recently as a free agent, sat out again. James had said Wednesday that he was simply getting accustomed to the 49ers’ defensive system, but Singletary acknowledged today that James has “a little hairline here or there” and likely won’t practice for a couple weeks. The coach wasn’t sure where the injury was.
• WR Kyle Williams, one of the 49ers’ three sixth-round draft picks, signed a four-year contract today. Williams is competing for time at slot receiver as well as punt returns. Williams joins CB Phillip Adams, a seventh-rounder, as the two rookies to have signed so far.
• Alex Smith’s first pass went right to OLB Parys Haralson, but the QB generally looked efficient today. Smith beat unabated pressure a couple times by getting the ball out quickly.
• LeRoy Vann broke up two passes during the morning, and fellow undrafted free-agent CB Patrick Stoudamire knocked one down.
• Nice blitz pickup by Gore on one play. He got a piece of Matt Wilhelm and held him up long enough for Smith to complete a pass to WR Michael Crabtree.
• DE Justin Smith made the style move of the day, rolling to his left and popping back up into his stance instead of merely side-stepping. The creative maneuver drew ‘oooohhs’ from a cluster of defensive teammates.
• Singletary would love to have a big-play punt returner with the ability to break touchdowns, but that isn’t his top priority. “Ball security is the No. 1 thing,” Singletary said. “I don’t care how fast he is. I don’t care how many guys he can make miss. If he can catch the ball, that’s step No. 1. Whatever comes after that, if we can get five yards, that’s fine, but just don’t drop the ball.” For what it’s worth, the Niners’ four potential punt returners all fared better fielding the ball today.
• Singletary acknowledged his personal relationship with Rams S Oshiomogho Atogwe, who is dating the coach’s daughter Jill, but distanced himself from any pursuit of the potential free agent: “I think right now we are just leaving those things where they are. Yes, I do know O.J., but it’s not one of those things where we talk about it, no. We’re developing our team and he has his team. If that changes then we’ll look at that at the appropriate time. Right now it’s just not something that we’re thinking about.”
• And yes, one more piece of off-field news. Asked whether he thought a successful Super Bowl bid by New York would be a good omen for the Bay Area, 49ers president Jed York said: “I don’t think they necessarily correlate. I think the San Francisco Bay Area will host a new Super Bowl when we have a stadium, regardless of any of the other venues that are out there.”

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