Training camp report: Jenkins has a good day

SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out to me at Monday afternoon’s padded practice.


1. A.J. Jenkins – Today was his best practice as a 49er. He caught seven passes, and he caught two more in half-speed drills against the scout defense. His best catch of the day came against Tarell Brown in team drills. Lined up at split end, Jenkins beat Brown on a square in for a 15-yard gain. Jenkins also beat Lowell Rose, Perrish Cox, C.J. Spillman, Marcus Cooper and Daryl Morris on short hitch routes, and Jenkins beat Cooper once and Morris twice on square-ins during half-tempo drills. Jenkins also dropped a pass on a wide receiver screen, and he was 0-for-2 on Go routes. The first time, he ran deep against Nnamdi Asomugha. When Jenkins turned his head over his right shoulder to find the ball, he tripped over his own feet. Later, Jenkins ran deep against Tramaine Brock. Jenkins could not separate from Brock, and the pass fell harmlessly to the grass.

2. NaVorro Bowman – Covering Chad Hall in the slot, Bowman intercepted a short pass from Colin Kaepernick. Later, Bowman batted away a pass at the line of scrimmage. He may be the 49ers’ most dominant defender this training camp.

3. Joe Staley – He returned to practice after taking yesterday off. In one-on-one drills, he held his own every time he faced Aldon Smith.

4. Vernon Davis – He sat out the second half of practice yesterday, but he participated in the entire practice today, although he and Anquan Boldin received just a few reps. The 49ers seem to be protecting them. Wise. The last thing the 49ers need is Davis or Boldin to get injured.

5. Demarcus Dobbs – He filled in for Justin Smith both in the base defense and the Nickel defense. On one play, Dobbs collapsed the pocket, stuck out his arm and batted down a pass.

6. B.J. Daniels – Today he beat Eric Reid on a Texas Route out of the backfield to score a TD in a seven-on-seven red zone drill. Daniels has drastically improved as a receiver.


1. Vance McDonald – He caught four passes for 25 yards, but he also fumbled once and committed a false start penalty.

2. MarQueis Gray – He seemed to take a shot to the head on a LaMichael James run play at the very end of practice. Gray was the lead blocker. After the play, he crouched on the ground for a minute, and when he walked to the sideline, the trainers checked his head.

3. Justin Smith – He missed another practice with an injured right ring finger.

4. Jonathan Goodwin – He missed another practice with an undisclosed injury.

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  1. Grant, would you say Jenkins looked more determined/confident today? Or was it just a function of poorer defensive play today?

    Would you also agree it is unsurprising that Jenkins was 0/2 on the deep passes (low percentage play) or was it clearly his fault and he should have been open?

    1. He did look more determined/confident, and his good day partially was a function of the defensive play. He didn’t get a hand on either deep pass, and both were well-thrown.

      1. This bodes well for my prediction that He’d throw 17 Ints to 20 TDs this season. It however doesn’t bode well for his continued progression and being able to get through his reads.

  2. Good to hear. Hopefully he just had a slow start and the real Jenkins is finally starting to reveal himself.

    Grant- were his targets mainly from kaep? Do they seem to be clicking, him and kaep?

  3. i dont think justin smith missing practice is such a bad thing. he really has nothing to prove and this just gives the coaches a chance to look at other players more before preseason games. smith will be just fine come game time.

  4. I don’t see ANY negative comments on the other guys who shined today. Grant what’s your beef with Jenkins? It’s obvious and it’s getting old

    1. I have no beef with Jenkins. People want to know everything he’s doing, so I’m describing in as much detail as possible.

      1. Grant

        Here’s a fun idea. Write daily parallel updates on Jenkins and Fleener. That would be the most honest way for you to display your objectivity about Jenkins. Don’t you think?

      2. Thanks Grant, you SHOULD write about AJ, it’s only fair
        He was a big surprise 1st round pick, and we all want to know if he’s ready this year. We all hope that he is going to prove the naysayer wrong one day, just like Alex did, but we don’t want to wait that long again……..

      3. Agreed, no reason to sugarcoat. give us all facts! Thank you Grant! even as good as he looked yesterday, he still tripped over his own feet on a GO route. we might just have to accept we wiffed on this kid.

    2. It’s not getting old. We’ve seen so little of Jenkins in practice, much less real games, that we have no idea whether he will, or even should start. Please keep the AJ watch going and ignore the homers!

      1. Chewie…. My reputation on here would highly suggest I am not a homer. It’s well known on here grant wasn’t happy with the Jenkins pick. With that being said. I was wondering why Jenkins got good an bad remarks and nobody else on the good topic did.

        1. I always describe everything Jenkins does because there’s popular demand for that information. I don’t do that for the other players unless someone requests it.

      2. It appears Jenkins has taken over the Alex Smith role as the most polarizing player on the team.

      3. Lol….. I’m sure you lose hair and sleep. When are you goin to come out to pole M and get you some of the best BBQ in the northern hemisphere?

  5. Nice to see the Good list is much longer then the Not-so-good list. The absence of major injuries to key players makes it one of the best practice reports so far.

    Vance McDonald oozes talent, but also had alot on his plate trying to learn inside blocking and the complex TE roles. I’m expecting some ooo-ahh plays along with flubs for a while.

    Thanks for the Dobbs info. I thought he disappeared. This introduces a “good problem.” Who gets cut? Dobbs? Okoye? Tukuafu? Jerod-Eddie? I think Okoye would get grabbed on waivers of they try to hide him on the PS.

    1. Okoye seems like way too much of a project for most teams. Yes he’s a physical monster but he’s never played a snap in his life, this isnt high school. It would take at least 2-3 yrs for him to contribute. I could see him being cut after training camp

      1. You are probably right. A likely cut or PS attempt. The field seems too crowded with good players. I’m guessing 5-10 players from this camp will land with other teams.

        Still, reports like today’s from Maiocco peak my interest. “Okoye and Purcell had one particularly nice showing in 11-on-11 drills against the first-team offense. Purcell got some push against C Daniel Kilgore, while Okoye more than held his own against LG Mike Iupati. . .”

        Of course he is no match for Iupati overall, but its nice to see a glimmer.

  6. Grant,
    Thanks for the report.
    Nice to see AJ make the GOOD category for a change.

    Was AJ’ good day a matter of him stepping it up, or was his good day more of an indictment on the DB’ having a bad day?

    9 catches in one practice puts him back in thick of the competition to emerge as the #2 WR going forward. But obviously, he will need to follow up this GOOD day with many more to secure the position.

    Did Collie and Hawkins get in some quality reps?

    1. Both. But it was good to see him dominate undrafted cornerbacks for a change. Daryl Morris couldn’t touch him.

      Collie and Hawkins did get quality reps at the end of practice. They’re currently on the third team.

  7. From Maiocco:

    “Offensive play of the day: [Jenkins] went up with cornerback Perrish Cox and wrestled a Colin Kaepernick pass away from Cox along the right side late in practice. It had to be an encouraging sign for the 49ers to see Jenkins fight for the football — and win.”

    Definitely encouraging. Need to see it happen more consistently now.

    1. That was a five yard completion, and it was on the offense’s left side. Jenkins motioned to the slot, then ran a quick out. Cox read the play and almost batted the ball away, but Jenkins snatched it first. It was a good catch.

      1. You must have got to him Grant, and he seems to be responding. Finally…..Let’s see what he can do Thursday evening.

      2. Thanks for the info Grant.

        As has been mentioned by a few people – yourself and Jack included – one of the key areas AJ needs to improve is making contested catches. While it was obviously a good play by AJ, the fact that Matt Maiocco saw fit to name this his ‘offensive play of the day’ goes to highlight how unusual it is to see him make contested catches. Hopefully this is the first step to rectifying this short-coming of his game.

      3. That’s good to hear because the continued reports painting Jenkins in a passive light were starting to give me Rashon Woods flashbacks. He needs to wake up and starting getting more aggressive and the past two days are a positive sign, but he has to keep that mindset going all the time.

  8. What you know, T.Brock had another solid day according to all reports. That’s all this guy does, competes, plays tough and is versatile.

    1. I like Brock as well. I believe he makes the team again. Not convinced he’s starter yet, but he could be a quality and valuable backup.
      If Brock can emerge as the starter this year, he has certainly earned and deserves it.

      1. I don’t think he is a starter just yet but he can be a good nickel and maybe eventually spell Rodgers if he struggles.
        The CB position involves the player to have a tremendous amount of confidence and play with that confidence each game. Its looking like each day Brock is going out and holding his own and each day getting some props for his play. From all reports he is playomg consistent football.
        I like the fact that guys like Brock are getting an opportunity as it shows that the 49ers are drafting and developing their young talent.
        We will need a ton of depth in the secondary this yearbas our division will be pass happy.
        On the flip side of Brock’s play, how sad will it be to see a good corner for so many years in Nnamdi go out like that. When in Oakland he was dominating. Now he might be just another old guy on his way out. Looking forward to Thursday to see how both guys look.

  9. I feel if Okoye shows improvement in this TC (even if marginal), the team will find a place for him on the squad.

    The Org knew going in that Okoye was a major project that had no inkling of professional football. Playing Rugby only proved that he could handle the physical side of the game, but obviously, there’s much more.
    At 6′ 6″ 300 lbs and covering the 40 in about 4.8 Okoye could be an unstoppable force in two years.

    I’m just not sure that the Org can afford to wait two years unless he shows a semblance of improvement.

    1. i’m hopeful here too, but it seems from the various reporters that he gets pushed around a lot – i’d guess that as strong as he is, he knows little about, and has little experience with, football leverage. for kids who grow up with the game, we learn this thru experience…hope he has time to do so as well

      1. That’s funny,all the reports I read (except here) say Okoye is doing quite well and is even getting a push towards the QB. He has a long way to go but let’s not sell him short.

    2. AES,

      I can’t see anyway that Okoye makes the 53 man roster. He was signed as a project which led me to believe they would try him out and see if he was worth keeping on the PS as a development player. At best he is a practice squad guy this year imo. He is just way too raw to consider giving a roster spot to.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about some other team claiming him either. To do so, they would have to give him a roster spot and face the same issues the Niners do with him right now. Hopefully he shows enough for them to put him on the PS and let him learn the game for year and maybe next year he gets into the discussion for a roster spot.

      1. Thank f’ng.
        I was thinking that if Okoye made the team it would on the PS.
        His measurables are off the chart, but doesn’t always translate from one sport to another.

        I believe he stays on board for one year (PS) for more development. I don’t believe that the Org was under any notion that he would be an instant terror the moment he put on pads.

      2. AES,

        I figured that is what you meant but saw your post as an opportunity to talk about Okoye’s future as some are of the belief he can make the active roster this year which to me is crazy. He is a physical marvel who doesn’t have even a rudimentary understanding of the game at this point. He is a project that they’ll put on the PS if he shows enough promise imo.

  10. Grant,
    Thank you for the injury update on Vernon Davis. You’ve done a heck of a job keeping us informed and getting us inside the “working through something” default injury status.

  11. Always love to see who emerges as top WRs during training camp. Too bad Patton is hurt, feel he has most potential. I see Patton as the next Jerry Rice (work ethic) and Lockette/Jenkins as the next John Taylor (smooth speed). Guess that leaves Jacobs as the next Owens.

  12. When they drafted Bowman, looking at his size and weight, I figured him to play weak side. When they called him an ILB, I figured he’d be a Nickel LB.
    So you see why I’m blogging from my kitchen island!

      1. In 60 I was a kid living in Connecticut and a Yankees fan. Mickey Mantle was my man, and the battle with Maris was epic.
        I’ve been deprogrammed since then; a Giants fan for years, right up to to The Strike That Stole The World Series From The Fans. F baseball since then.

      2. I actually wasn’t a big fan until after the strike. When Jeter, Rivera and Pettitte came up is when I became a true fan. Jeter is one of my favorite Yankees player but I have to say that Mariano Rivera is perhaps one of the greatest Yankees of all time and a guy I would love to one day meet.

  13. Quote of the day:

    “I don’t have an excuse. I played like (expletive).”
    –49ers tackle Anthony Davis, recalling his first exhibition game, on why rookies should not ask him for advice

    This is called honesty, as professed by the foil.

    1. Accountability. Wasn’t that the Saints Blitzageddon Game? Even at the time Hrabs said (of the whole team and experience): No excuses. No quarter given or expected.
      Hella learning experience. AD seems to have internalized that lesson.

    2. AD is quietly one of the better re-signings. He’s still years from his prime. Reports are he’s in better shape and more focused then ever.

    1. Not yet. They’re trying him at stand up rusher – Aldon Smith’s position. He seems better at rushing the passer when he doesn’t have to do it from a three-point stance.

  14. I asked this earlier but had no response so I will rephrase my question. Is Jenkins gaining any yards after the catch or is he still looking like a run-and-catch type of receiver?

    1. Good for Mathieu. I was hoping for him over Lemonier, but if he can show us why Auburn values him so high it will be a solid pick.

      1. I agree with you Pete. I was high on Mathieu in college. Unfortunately, he was more high and a lot more often. I was hoping SF would take a chance on him. I really hope he has success in the NFL.
        I like Lemonier, but I liked Lacy more. I felt like Lacy was the next Frank Gore with more explosive speed.
        That hard part is that we’ll be seeing a lot of both of them going forward.

    1. It will be interesting watching how Austin works in the slot. We all saw the success the Rams had last year going there against the 49ers with Amendola, and by all accounts this guy is lightning quick in comparison.

  15. Grant: That headline should have read “Jenkins has TWO great practices in a row”. (how is Fleener doing again ? ;) )
    And I wouldn’t worry about Kap or any QB throwing picks in preseason practices. The coaches encourage them to try to force throws into tight coverage and to be bold, so they can gauge what their receivers are capable of and can also gauge their own limitations or lack thereof.

    1. (how is Fleener doing again ? ;) )

      According to the Washington Herald link that I posted Coby Fleener is off to a great start in training camp.

      1. I am just giving Grant a good natured poke in the ribs because he was in love with Fleener and holds a grudge against Jenkins because we drafted Jenkins instead of his love.
        Last year(and this) Grant was ruthless in attacking Jenkins over and over again but never said a word about Fleener being only the 2nd best rookie TE on his own team last season. (which meant he would have never seen the field last year if we had drafted him,just like Jenkins).

      2. I know Tim but there are some on this blog that will keep asking about Fleener whenever Grant posts something bad about Jenkins.

      3. Well considering the Niners took a TE in the second round this year, Fleener would have been a pretty good pick last year imo. Fleener is going to have a big year I think. Having Pep Hamilton running the offense will get him a lot more involved than he was last season.

    2. “… coaches encourage them to try to force throws into tight coverage and to be bold…”

      In nearly 20 years as a player and coach I never once heard a coach or told a QB myself that it was ok to do either of those things.

      1. Jack: That’s just TIM’s way of reminding everyone that he does not know what he is talking about.

        I think TIM got that from the reports of Andy Reid wanting Alex Smith to stay aggressive in practice because he was learning a new offense. Reid saw value in Smith taking consequence-free chances in camp to learn what he could and couldn’t get away with so that he would know what he could do once the real games started. Of course, TIM missed the part where Reid talked about it being what you do when learning a new offense and took it out of context.

        I think TIM misses Alex Smith more than he lets on.

  16. AJ will be fine if he overcomes his distaste or fear of contact at LoS and develops and sustains the desire to fight for the ball in the air. He has to develop what Harbaugh calls “contact courage”. He can do it. He has the tools, he’s hard worker, and a steady learner.

    I was reading Dave Robinson HoF acceptance speech and some parts just stood out to me:
    “..It’s a game of hitting and getting hit. You have to like to hit, and you have to like to get hit, because if you don’t, you won’t last long in this league…………when you play football, you have to like the taste of blood, and you have to remember that 50 percent of the time, it’s your blood,..”

    I was reading an interview that David Shaw gave to ESPN describing the qualities he seeks in Stanford recruits. One of the first qualities he said he and his staff looks in the tape is how the player hits and reacts to hits.

  17. Thanks for being so responsive to comments!
    Does it seem like the defensive coaching staff has little to no faith in Nnamdi?

    I’m confused by the reports that he’s playing well because of his current location as the 4th corner.. in addition to Fangios latest comments.

  18. Grant, I keep seeing growth in your reporting, and yes you’re allowed to criticize AJ, just don’t grind. I wonder, are you getting some coaching? Is the feedback from the people who post here helpful or hurtful? This blog business appears tricky.
    A common sense note on Okoye. He must demonstrate an ability on special teams to get a chance to learn this game,or its PS at best. If he doesn’t have the responsibility of making a read, he may have the pure explosion necessary to overpower a blocker. Blocking field goals comes to mind.

  19. Based on Harbaugh’s comments this morning on KNBR I think it is safe to assume that Jenkins will see a lot of action come Thursday.

      1. Just messing with you Grant.

        I do have a question though. From what you’ve seen so far, are FA signings like Skuta and Dahl in jeopardy? From what I’m reading from you and others, Cam Johnson has really stepped up and Dahl hasn’t looked that good in his time at FS. I know it’s early but do you see this being a possibility?

        1. I think Skuta has more security than Dahl. Skuta has been surprisingly effective as an outside pass rusher, he can play inside linebacker where the 49ers are thin, and he can play special teams. At free safety, it seems Fangio is more enthusiastic about Reid and Robinson and Spillman.

      2. Thanks for the response Grant. I hadn’t read much about Skuta and CJ was getting a lot of praise so I was beginning to wonder if they might go with the young guy over the more expensive FA. The versatility of Skuta obviously makes him valuable.

        I got the same impression from Fangio about his Safety group. Doesn’t seem like Dahl is a focal point at all and he is really trying to see the young guys step up.

        Personally I’d love to see the young guys win the jobs both for monetary and long term depth reasons.

      3. Grant:

        Ha! I said the offensive line is good enough to not break their season. It is a weakness.

        Well, to be accurate, you said Cowboys’ o-line was a very good run blocking line and better at pass protection than the 49ers’ o-line. This is the first time I have seen you acknowledge that it is a weakness.

        To your credit, PFF seems to agree that Bill Callahan will bring more balance to the offense and that doing so will be an improvement. They also appear to think as highly of Dez Bryant as you do.

        1. I said they’re a good run-blocking unit (PFF gave them a +31.7 run blocking grade in 2012, 7th-best in the NFL) and a better pass-protecting unit than the 2011 49ers (PFF gave the 49ers a -34.7 pass blocking grade in 2011 and the Cowboys a -15.0 pass blocking grade in 2012).

          So, I think the Cowboys can win the Super Bowl with that O-line.

      4. Grant:

        Skuta has been surprisingly effective as an outside pass rusher …

        That’s encouraging. Any chance you could rank the pass rushers based upon what they’ve shown thus far? Thanks in advance.

        1. Skuta and Cam Johnson seem like the best outside pass rushers on the team right now behind Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks. Other outside pass rushers to watch in preseason are Lemonier and Okoye.

      5. The guys on ESPN were gushing over the fact that Dallas ran the ball 34 times on Sunday night. They recognized that it was only the 1st of 5 preseason games, but basically said the same things that Grant and the others who think the Cowboys could be a factor this season have been saying on here.

      6. Romo is a gunslinger,his buddy Whitten is a pass catcher and Bryant is big time WR. How long into the season do all three of these guys stay patient.
        The reason it won’t work in Dallas is because you cannot suddenly become a better running team especially when you are built for the pass.
        It all starts up front with their oline and I don’t think they have the horses up front to become something they don’t have or are built for.
        As 49er fans how much more Dallas hype do we have to endure until they crumble like they always do?

      7. Prime – Nice post…..We hear the ridiculous Dallas hype every year. “They’re so talented”… blah blah blah.
        Without Rob Ryan I think their defense will be worse. Their safeties suck and they have no D-line depth. Injuries are contagious in Dallas. Monte Kiffen is no savior.
        Romo is and always will be inconsistent and pchoker in big games. New O-line is unproven, Whitten is starting his 11th season and is in decline, Miles Austin’s injury prone and Dez is a headcase. The Cowgirls are an 8-8 team.

      8. The thing is, before last season Garrett was always over 400 in running plays called. Last season he had nobody who stepped up and had to rely on Romo more than I’m guessing he would have liked.

        I have no doubt the Cowboys will attempt to run the ball more this season but whether they stick with it is another story especially if Murray can’t stay healthy.

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