Notes and observations from the offseason’s final practice

Notes and observations from this afternoon’s minicamp practice, the 49ers’ final offseason work of the year…

• The team released CB Keith Smith and waived LB Brandon Long. Smith had played three games with the Niners in 2009. Letting him go could be seen as a vote of confidence for players like Will James and Phillip Adams.
• Practice was open to a small horde of suite holders, who packed bleachers and stood along one sideline, cheering on Alex Smith and Michael Crabtree.


• The 49ers began team period by working on third-and-short plays, then moved to goal line. That meant a lot of handoffs, which aren’t all that fun to watch in non-contact drills. In case you’re interested, the first-team goal-line defense consisted of Isaac Sopoaga, Ray McDonald, Khalif Mitchell, Ricky Jean Francois and Justin Smith across the line; Manny Lawson, Patrick Willis, Takeo Spikes and Parys Haralson at linebacker; and Shawntae Spencer and Michael Lewis in coverage.
• RG Chilo Rachal lay facedown on the grass for perhaps half a minute after a running play, and left the field gingerly. Tony Wragge stood in for him, and Rachal returned to action after a trainer stretched out his back.
• LB Martail Burnett, who was limping a bit at the end of the first practice, went 100 percent in the second. In fact, he may have gone 110. Burnett beat rookie T Anthony Davis on a pass rush, and later hurried Smith into an incompletion.
• ILB Scott McKillop may have been the star of the afternoon, getting airborne to break up consecutive passes down the middle. He tipped and intercepted the first, from Smith to Crabtree, while the second (David Carr to Bakari Grant) fell incomplete. Rookie ILB Navorro Bowman tried to one-up his teammate a little later, jumping Smith’s slant pass to TE Delanie Walker and speeding off for a certain touchdown.
• Didn’t take long for OLB Manny Lawson to get back in the flow. He was all over a pitchout to Glen Coffee early in practice, and beat LT Joe Staley on a pass rush later.
• Notable plays by Crabtree (acrobatic catch on Smith’s pass into the end zone, though he looked to be out of bounds) and Walker (leaping grab of Nate Davis’ throw).
• The 49ers finished their offseason with a 2-minute drill, and the first offense looked sluggish against the backup defense. Alex Smith converted third-and-3 and fourth-and-3 plays with short passes (to Coffee and TE Joe Jon Finley), but eventually gave up the ball when CB Karl Paymah broke up a pass to Ted Ginn on fourth down. Rookie WR Kyle Williams may have sabotaged the drive earlier, stutter-stepping a few too many times before laying out unsuccessfully for Smith’s deep throw.

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