Training camp report: Harbaugh breaks up fight

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers practiced in shorts and shells Tuesday evening in preparation for Friday night’s preseason game against the Chiefs. Here’s what stood out to me during the evening practice.

THE GOOD

1. MarQueis Gray – He made two jaw-dropping catches during 11-on-11 team drills. First, he ran a seam route down the middle of the field. Tolzien threw it up for Gray. Gray jumped, twisted and caught the ball between Darcel McBath, Michael Thomas and Nick Moody. Later, Gray ran another seam route. This time, McCoy threw it up and Gray jumped, twisted and casually reached back in front of Whitner’s face to catch the ball. Gray has improved by leaps and bounds since OTAs, when he seemed to drop passes every practice.

2. Kyle Williams – He made the catch of the day. He ran deep against Marcus Cooper, B.J. Daniels threw it up but not quite far enough, so Williams slowed down, jumped and caught the pass over Cooper, who never turned his head to find the ball.

3. Marlon Moore – During a one-on-one drill, Moore blew by Marcus Cooper on a go route and caught a deep touchdown pass. During team drills, Moore beat Tarell Brown on a quick out route.

4. Austin Collie – Today was his best practice as a 49er. He caught four passes for 35 yards.

5. A.J. Jenkins – He caught two passes. Lined up at flanker, Jenkins beat Carlos Rogers for a 15-yard completion on a corner route. Later in team drills, Jenkins lined up at split end across from Darryl Morris. Jenkins ran a square in, Kaepernick threw a rocket and Jenkins caught it even though Morris was all over him. Jenkins received one more target. Lined up at split end across from Tarell Brown, Jenkins ran an out route. Kaepernick threw a strike to Jenkins but Jenkins caught it out of bounds. At the end of practice, Jenkins ran a fly sweep against the scout team defense.

6. Quinton Patton – During one-on-one drills, Patton faced Eric Reid once. Patton completely fooled the rookie free safety with a double move, a slant-and-go. Patton caught the deep touchdown pass with his right hand only.

7. Colt McCoy – He did a good job mimicking Alex Smith for the 49ers’ scout team offense. There was a stretch when McCoy completed eight-straight short passes against the 49ers’ first-team defense.

THE NOT-SO-GOOD

1. C.J. Spillman – After a play during 11-on-11 drills, Spillman got into a fight with fellow defensive back Michael Thomas. Ricardo Lockette tried to break it up but couldn’t, so Jim Harbaugh jumped in. He literally jumped. After the fight, Spillman walked to the locker room with a ripped pant leg and did not return. Thomas finished practice.

2. Wayne Tribue – He committed a false start and offensive line coach Mike Solari immediately shouted at him and subbed him out and replaced him with Patrick Omameh for a few plays.

3. Joe Staley and Vance McDonald – Neither guy suited up for practice.

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  1. Good job reporting Grant. Where was Collie lined up when he had his four catches? Also how did Ian Williams and Glenn Dorsey look?

      1. Keeping Jenkins doesn’t make it any easier to keep other players in future seasons. It will make it slightly harder this season as about he will count about $1 million extra this year if he is cut(his 2014 guaranteed salary). If he is kept, that $1 million is against the cap next year.

      2. This is from a link on 49erswebzone:

        If cut right now, the team takes a cap hit of $2,599,891 for just 2013, that seems fine, since we have just over $7.2 million in cap space by my numbers.

        In 2014 gets worse, because we have, by my numbers, $5.3 million in cap space. And in 2014 we would eat $1.745 million in dead money. That all takes away from the cap room.

      3. I read that too MidWest. What it doesn’t mention is that if the 49ers keep Jenkins this season they still need to pay him his 2014 guaranteed salary (about $1 million) but it would count next year instead – regardless of whether he makes the 2014 roster. Plus at least one year’s worth of signing bonus ($about $850K) if he is on the roster or cut after June 1 2014, or 2 years of signing bonus if he is cut pre June 1. So the 49ers are worse off against the cap next year if they keep him this season.

        The problem is that it is “dead money”. But if AJ isn’t good enough to see the field, its basically dead money anyway whether he is on the roster or not.

      4. That dead money could cost the team to lose one of their crucial pieces to another team Scooter. It makes more sense to try to get Jenkins to restructure his contract so that the cap hit won’t be as bad.

      5. They can’t until after his 3rd season under the new collective bargaining agreement. That is why Kaep and Aldon Smith haven’t been able to renegotiate for bigger deals. Even if they were able to, what incentive would Jenkins have to renegotiate?

      6. All hypothetical since it can’t happen, but to me renegotiating now for not playing up to his rookie contract proves he agrees he is and will always be a bust. He should be of the mindset that he will show he deserves that contract, not that he should take less money because he isn’t worth it.

        I can’t imagine any player after just their rookie year would accept a pay cut to prove they are not a bust.

      7. It doesn’t make any sense cutting a first round player before the start or conclusion of his second season either Scooter, even if he is buried on the depth chart. The only way that it makes sense is if he is a continuous violator of team rules.

      8. On that I would usually agree MidWest. It doesn’t make much sense cutting a first rounder until he’s been given sufficient time to prove he’s a bust, because obviously they believe the talent is there. And I would usually say a player needs at least two years, maybe three.

        However, the 49ers need at least 3 WRs they are confident in this year. To this point, they have Boldin. I’d say Williams is the most likely to start at split end until Manningham is fit again, but Williams is still something of an unknown, and who knows when Manningham will be 100%. Collie for mine is the guy to take the slot role, but his health also makes him a question mark. Patton has shown enough as a rookie that he needs to be kept, but too soon to know whether he can contribute much this year. That’s five receivers there already. Is Jenkins worth keeping ahead of Moore or other guys that can also play STs if he doesn’t prove he can step in and contribute this season?

        It may be the 49ers don’t have the luxury this year of playing a wait and see game due to the uncertainty at the position.

      9. This is how u know The NFL is a business..jacobs,gray,osgood,hall,lockette and hawkins can contribute Now…but they are undrafted and jenkins is a first rounder bein paid..So he’ll get more chances and more reps with first team..Theyll get cut..go onto another team..Instead of building our young group of wr’s..Were gonna be stuck tryin to make it work with jenkins…lol…but nah..if theyre gonna cut jenkins..thats next yr..he’ll probably be deactivated a few games or more..He’ll get paid to sit basically..

    1. I was thinking the same thing. We have one WR who wants to play so bad he is learning how to be a one handed receiver.

      It sure seems like we have some class – act new rookies this year. Work ethics, smarts, professionalism (just got finished reading Reid interview); you have to be impressed with these guys and what goes on upstairs. Talent yet to be determined, one thing that is clear to me is that the staff is building to that “team first” thing as promised.

  2. As per Maiocco’s report, it sounds like Moore was the starting split end again and didn’t get many reps in team drills today. So good chance Moore will get the start again against KC over Williams. Could it now be his spot to lose?

    1. They’ve been treating him like it’s his spot to lose. He only takes first-team reps, he started at split end in the preseason game and he sat when the rest of the starters sat.

    1. That’s pretty much how I see it too razor. I’d prefer Moore over Jenkins though. If Jenkins is kept, then Moore will likely be gone once Manningham is cleared.

    2. And when Crabs returns…Collie out? We have to keep Jenkins, if he performs, for young receiving core for the future; Collie/Bolden/Moore all could be 1-2 year players

  3. Another way to look at the Jenkins thing from Mike Sando:

    Think of it another way. If every current 49ers wide receiver beyond Boldin were suddenly available to sign at low cost, which ones would the other 31 teams scramble to sign first? I have to think Jenkins would rank at or near the top of the list as a young player with potential who hasn’t played enough for analysts to judge accurately.

    1. That is absolutely how the front office has to think about it. Teams get 53 players on the roster, 8 players on the practice squad. The 53 you control, the 8 are part of your organization, but not totally under your control. You can only start 46 on game day. So of the non active players in your organization, you have 7 on the team and 8 on the practice squad. None of those guys is getting into the game, so really they are not all that different. So of the 15, put the 7 on your team that have the greatest chance of being signed away and put on another team’s 53. So really the cut you should make mentally is who do you want on your 46. After that it is gamemanship.

      1. I think the X-factord here is that the FO, coaching staff, players, and fans believe that THIS year we will win the Super Bowl. Dollars for dollars the Org benefits more (financially and in stature in the longterm) by winning the Super Bowl NOW with the best players, even if that includes paying out an extra $2.5-5MIL, rather than keeping him and losing another talented player who can contribute NOW. I think it’s this thinking that puts AJ on the bubble. Certainly he has potential, he could flop just as much as te next, just as he could succeed. So this precarious scenario of us having a realistic shot at the Super Bowl will trump the cap issues.

      2. I didn’t realize that you know what the front office and the players believe. With access like that, you should be writing an NFL Insider’s column. And well run teams don’t make personnel decisions based upon what the fans think. They let competent NFL professionals do their jobs.

        I also can’t share your conclusion that the team would be better off ignoring cap consequences when making decisions at the bottom of the roster. I find it hard to believe that the 53rd or 52nd guy on the roster, someone who doesn’t even dress on game day, is going to be the reason the 49ers do or do not win the Super Bowl.

        By contrast, not having enough cap room to extend both Kaepernick and Aldon Smith and address other needs that arise could very well be the difference between extended dominance (winning multiple Super Bowls) and being just another one of the very good teams.

    2. does jenkins offer anything on special teams…one of the beat writers said he did….if so, that could be a factor in his being kept on the roster

  4. Should we understand that Spillman & Thomas (and the rest of the team) has not been taught to freeze frame upon simply hearing Coach Harbaw’s whistle?
    Umm, umm, umm.

  5. Watching the WR scenario…still a lot of gray, but I’m starting to believe two things: 1) Patton is going to bad A$$ when he gets going; and 2) Marlon Moore might actually be a viable contributing player.

    Only time will tell!

  6. Will never understand how teammates physically fight each other in practice. Had a similar incident today in our scrimmage. LB didn’t enjoy being held and decided to on the next play fire 3-4 upper cuts to our guards jaw. It’s just stupid. Creates unneeded tension and pots finally divides the team.

    1. When I was in college, we had some annoying punk on our team that almost everyone couldn’t stand. One practice he tried a cheap shot after the whistle on two consecutive plays. Standing right next to him when it happened the second time, I grabbed him by the facemask and threw a hook right at his jaw, knocking him on his ass.

      It was a humbling experience for the kid and actually brought the team closer together, him included. That being said, we were a tiny college team, obviously far from NFL professionals.

  7. Grant,
    Can you ask the 49ers why they don’t have scrimmages with AFC teams (e.g. Raiders) like the Patriots have been doing?

  8. Patton’s getting a lot of practice in one-handed catches, which should help his concentration. Baalke may have made amends for his AJ mistake. Even if AJ ends up being a competent NFL receiver (which I think he yet may), he’s still be a first-round bust.

  9. I’ve been supportive of Jenkins because he needs time to develop, but he seems to lack the mindset that is necessary to thrive in the NFL. He either isn’t self motivated or he is intimidated by the environment. There is no excuse for him not being more productive, he has an excellent natural physical skill set. I just don’t think he is a natural football player. I liked hitting players and blowing guys up. I liked to see snot strewn all over a guys face after I crushed him on a kickoff. I also liked being depended on to make plays, I wanted the ball on every play. I was a football player. There are guys on every team that aren’t football players. They don’t really love the game or have a passion for it. I respected the guys that realized that a day into spring ball because they were honest with themselves. Football wasn’t for them. It isn’t for many people. At this point Jenkins needs to be honest with himself as to whether he is a football player or a man content to have made it to the NFL on unrefined natural talent alone. Potential is worthless without desire, and I have yet to meet a coach that could teach desire.

  10. Strikes me that there is a challenge in giving Asomugha Dixon’s number. Can’t have two 24′s, somethings got to give…

  11. RIGHT SIDE, LEFT SIDE …

    MidWestNiner (setting it up – see above)
    Alex Smith for President: … at least I have a brain.
    Just watch me “manage the game” on Friday, baby.
    Kaep and I will each be assessed a quarterback rating…
    My money says he gets touched/sacked more often than I do.

  12. So is the Cheifs game wine or beer? Seeing as Kay Cee’s colors are red and something that leaves the Zinfnadel out. Probably will be Bootling Ale and a pizza, that’s what I’m thinking…

    1. Road Whites: perhaps a Sauvignon Blanc to start and then a Zin with the pizza? To keep with red & gold: Killion’s Red and Poleeko Gold.

      1. OK then, Throwdown! Slow cooked baby back ribs, red beans & rice with cornbread. Start cooking ’bout Noon.
        Plenty of beer, no not for basting, for supervision.

      2. How about BBQ pizza as a compromise? I love doing that on the grill with my pizza stone. Works great.

        For beers, I just scored a bunch of Red Hook 22 ounce bottles of ESB (red label), Long Hammer, Audible Ale, Wisecracker and Pilsner (gold labels) for a $1.84 a bottle. Filled a grocery cart at that price.

      3. Rib

        Why go with mail order? Shouldn’t you just have your butler jump the chopper to JFK, get into the G6, and make a house call at Jack Stack’s?

      4. E, maybe you could pull up in your outrigger canoe and pick up a few slabs of ribs for me.

        Oh, and while you’re there scout out some Chiefs’ players we might use off the waiver wire. We know you won’t be able to make judgement on any of the WRs due to the stiff that’s pitching the ball to them, but do your best, OK?

    2. Geez, gotta check my speling beter before I post…

      Problem witht he red wine and Barbecue is that would support the Chiefs. I’m thinking Anchor Steam Beer anda crab feast would be better. Then again, what food do they eat in Santa Clara? McDonald’s??? Olive Garden???

      1. OK, I got you GoM. You could go with the SF-centric menu against any team!

        Santa Clara is the land of McFood. Having lived in the vicinity for many years, it’s difficult to come up with anything indigenous there. I always thought Yuki Sushi was damned good. Toro for home games, albacore for away?

    3. Ghost they nothing about tri tip out there. It is the California cut.
      Gotta go stuffed tri or bacon wrapped. Or an old fashioned dry rub and smoke, but that they’ve had before. They won’t know what hit them.

  13. I read that after the fight, Chad Hall took Thomas’ place as the nickel back on defense because Thomas took Spillman’s place at safety. Maybe he could play both ways: Slot receiver, slot corner?

    1. Also read from MM that Celek had four catches so it would have been nice to see him listed in The Good. Sounds like these young TE’s are doing well.

  14. I love that Patton is adding more confidence each day by making some one handed catches.

    Patton could be the last horse that suddenly passes all the others, in this case winning the sweepstakes for the coveted #2 WR spot.

  15. Hey Grant,all the beat writers are saying that Jenkins shined in practice AGAIN yesterday ! And it was also reported that Boldin was held without a catch in that last practice yesterday !!! Should Boldin be cut ? LOL !!!

    1. Boldin caught a 10-yard pass from Colt McCoy yesterday. The coaches have limited Boldin, V. Davis and Moore’s reps the past two days because they are the starters.

      Catching two passes in a non-padded practice is shining? Oh.

  16. And I read on a reliable site that Boldin was held witout a catch in the last practice Yesterday. According to PFT and guys like you that is grounds for getting cut :) . And how is VD doing in his new position of WR ? (Another silly rumor you started).

    1. That reliable site was incorrect. Boldin caught a pass.

      Davis takes at least a couple of reps at receiver every practice. Eric Reid talked about it yesterday. You can read it on this reliable site.

  17. Anybody remember the last time a 1st round pick was cut after one season?

    Answer: 1996

    Player: Andre Johnson, OT, 30th overall pick, Washington Redskins. Played in three regular season career games.

  18. …daily reports on Patton catching the ball with one hand…….everything about Patton since he was drafted has been great…..

    I don’t think crabtree would be trying this hard if he had a broken finger……Patton and Kwill are moving up my fav niner player list…..

  19. I think most would agree that Wes Welker is a top 15 WR in the league today. First TWO seasons in the league … Wes Welker caught …. 29 passes, 0 touchdowns.

    Relax and let it play out…he’s not getting cut.

    1. Yea,but Brady had 100% to do with that. You guys noticed welker wasn’t stupid he went to another HOF QB. its the phil jackson effect

    2. Difference is Welker came into the league as a UDFA. Unfortunately for AJ, his draft status (perceived as a reach) is going to be a weight on his shoulders until he proves the pick wasn’t wasted on him.

      I’m thinking a couple of 30+ receptions in the same game (too much to hope for in the same half?) would do it.

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