Training camp report: Justin Smith and Tarell Brown sidelined, Mike Iupati dodges bullet

SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out to me at Friday evening’s padded practice.

THE GOOD

1. Vernon Davis – Today was his best practice of the offseason. He was a dominant pass catcher at tight end, in the slot, at split end and at flanker. As an outside receiver, he beat cornerbacks on single and double moves with efficient footwork three or four times. He also blew past Perrish Cox down the left sideline, but Kaepernick didn’t throw the ball far enough, allowing Cox to get back in the play and knock the ball away. Davis looked like he had been playing wide receiver his whole life.

2. Nnamdi Asomugha – Asomugha was the starting right cornerback in team drills, and he didn’t give up any catches when he was playing man coverage. On one play, Asomugha read Kaepernick’s eyes and broke on a quick pass to the sideline before Marlon Moore, the intended receiver, could turn his head. But Asomugha dropped the interception.

3. Tramaine Brock – He took over for Chris Culliver as the 49ers’ left cornerback in their Nickel defense. On the sixth play of 11-on-11 drills, Brock dropped into a zone and picked off a deep pass from Colt McCoy intended for Anthony Dixon.

4. Marlon Moore – Once again, he was the starting split end once again and he played well. In one-on-one drills, he easily beat Cox deep for a touchdown. He also caught a 20-yard pass in front of Cox on a deep square-in route.

5. Austin Collie – He observed the first half of team drills, but he jumped into the action during the last half hour. He lined up in the slot and at split end, and even caught a short pass.

6. Lavelle Hawkins – Like Collie, Hawkins didn’t join the team drills until the final half hour. Hawkins received one target, a deep pass from B.J. Daniels. Hawkins made the catch, but Daniels led him a few inches too far out of bounds, and Hawkins couldn’t get his second foot in.

7. D.J. Harper – He is an excellent blocker. I haven’t seen him miss a block in pass protection all offseason. Today, he also caught a touchdown pass in a red zone drill, and gained ten yards on an inside run between Ian Williams and Glenn Dorsey.

8. B.J. Daniels – Except for his deep pass to Hawkins, Daniels’ passes were accurate. The first week of practice, he was hitting receivers, but not in stride. Today, he hit almost every target in stride. And he’s drastically improving his hands as a receiver every day.

9. Corey Lemonier – He blasted Jewel Hampton on a run play. The run was designed to go the offense’s left. Hampton decided in the backfield to cut it back to the right. Lemonier dove into the hole and knocked Hampton on his back.

10. Mike Iupati – Someone rolled up onto his left knee during a running play. Iupati was down on ground in pain for about a minute, but he walked it off and finished practice.

THE NOT-SO-GOOD

1. Justin Smith – He did not practice. His right middle finger was wrapped in a brace.

2. Tarell Brown – He participated in individual drills, but not team drills. He watched those from the sideline. It is not currently known what he is “working through.”

3. LaMichael James – He’s improved his hands, but he struggled in pass protection today. On one play, he completely whiffed on Parys Haralson, didn’t get a finger on the linebacker. So, Haralson sacked McCoy. James needs to become a better blocker for the Nines to use him on third down the way the Saints use Darren Sproles on third down.

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