Training camp report: Kaepernick improves in the red zone

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


1. Colin Kaepernick – He was on fire today. He couldn’t miss the deep passes, he had touch on his shorter throws and he scored twice in the red zone. First, he threw a touchdown pass to Chad Hall in the back of the end zone. Next, Kaepernick threw a TD pass to Frank Gore.

2. Frank Gore – He made a diving touchdown catch in a red zone drill. It was one of the best catches of the offseason by any player.

3. Vernon Davis – He had another monster practice. Today, he caught six passes for 185 yards and a touchdown.

4. Daryl Morris – He had a terrific practice, his best practice of the offseason. Playing right cornerback, he broke up a deep pass intended for Marlon Moore, then Morris knocked away a pass intended for Ricardo Lockette in the back right corner of the end zone, and then Morris intercepted a B.J. Daniels pass down the left sideline.

5. Austin Collie – He beat Carlos Rogers twice in a red-zone drill, once for a five-yard gain at the goal line, and once for a touchdown.

6. Colt McCoy – He did not wear the blue non-contact jersey today. He was a full participant. His neck stinger must not be serious.

7. Michael Wilhoite – During one-on-one drills, he covered Anthony Dixon once. Dixon ran a deep wheel route down the left sideline. Wilhoite recognized the route, outran Dixon and picked off the pass.


1. Vance McDonald – He did not suit up for practice. He’s working through something.

2. Joe Staley – See McDonald.

3. Tarell Brown – See McDonald and Staley.

4. Tramaine Brock – He suited up, but did not participate in team drills for the second day in a row. Perrish Cox took his place as the left cornerback in the Nickel package.

5. A.J. Jenkins – He received one target in team drills. He caught it for a five-yard gain on a quick out route. He got one rep during one-on-one drills. He faced Marcus Cooper. Jenkins ran a fade, Colt McCoy threw a back shoulder pass and Cooper knocked it away.

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    1. Moore didn’t play well. He’s been struggling to separate the past few practices.

      Davis reps at both split end and flanker today but no targets.

  1. Are we to read into the one target, one rep as punishment for last weeks performance? What type of route did Frank run on the diving TD?

    1. I am reading Jenkins’ one target as a sign that he has plummeted on the depth chart and must work to redeem himself.

  2. CK is going to be impossible to stop. I have a feeling Austin Collie will end up being the #2 receiver if he stays healthy. Once everyone on D is healthy this D will be better than 2011.

    1. I like hearing that CK’s touch is improving on the short routes. That was a bit of a weakness last year.

      The 49ers are thin at WR, don’t want any more dislocated fingers ;)

    2. Agree coach,I wanted us to draft him when he came into the league.His injuries were unfortunate ,but he is a talent.

  3. Which offense did Collie line up with primarily? Also are you seeing any of the WRs starting to separate from the others in the race for the #2 WR on the depth chart? Great reporting as usual Grant. Keep it up.

    1. Collie primarily lined up with the scout team offense.

      I think the top four receivers right now are Boldin, Williams, Moore and Collie.

  4. 7 – 85 strikes again! Grant, is the defense giving Davis any extra attention in coverage like what he’ll receive once the season starts?

      1. I figured that would be the case. It will be interesting to see how much Kaep feeds him the ball once defenses start looking to take him away.

      2. Any time a defense has to double team a player, the qb should have a field day and make the most average player a star. Doubling VD would help the passing game tremendously I believe.

  5. The whole Davis at wide out is a match up, once on awhile thing. People should not expect much with this situation. We need a true #2 WR plus someone who can stretch the field quickly…double move stuff… In a sense to accelerate out of that second move and separate. I don’t think VD can make cuts that quick on short or long routes. I hope I’m wrong but if he could be would of years ago. The dude is 250 lbs. he is a straight line runner that can get on top of the lbs and DBS after 25 yards.

    We need WRs to step up!!!

    Go Niners!

  6. Despite Crab’s injury, I think our passing game is going to shake out just fine. I think our WRs will do just enough to let CK go berserk on opposing defenses. This will be the case because Vernon Davis will finally break 1k yards this year, and VMac will have a productive year.

    an evolving tab: Boldin, K.Williams, A.Collie, Q.Patton, Osgood, Lockette, Jenkins.

    I don’t think Moore will make the team. I think he’s more flash than substance and that there’s a reason he has never been productive in the past. And as much as I think he should be cut, we won’t cut Jenkins. Unless he has a complete meltdown or slides into obscurity during practice he’ll have a chance to prove his mettle during this season and next offseason.

    1. I disagree about Moore. I think regarding him not showing up in the past there are other factors such as injuries, coaching, scheme, QB…

      I think this may be an instance where opportunity meets preparation. He obviously has the intangibles you need (Speed, hands, awareness) at least in practice. IMO he is a good complement to Boldin and can take the top off a D and will go in the middle. And I like a combo of Boldin/Moore, with AJ, KW, Collie rotating at slot and 4th receiver.

      Of course I would take an elite receiving duo (like a Julio/White) any day but with G-RO schemes and creative complex playcalling he knows how to utilize his personnel.

      And though we are all nervous there is one thing to keep in mind, we have never had any where near an elite receiving corp since Harbs arrival, and they always make due. And this is arguably the deepest corp we’ve had.

      1. The 49ers have not had an elite quarterback in years. They now have arguably the most talented quarterback in the league. That alone will make this offense and these receivers dangerous.

      2. Yes that too.

        Would have loved to see what he could have done with a Crabs/Boldin combo though.

        But another factor is if we have another great season and 1 or 2 of these younger receivers steps up in a big way. Then this may help us in the long run and save us the hassle and cap space of re-signing crabs.

  7. We have had receiver issues going on all 3 years now under JH. Our lack of a real playmaker in the reciving corps. We ar in trouble on offense without a bonafide threat at wideout. This is driving me crazy.

    1. Sure, it’s not optimal, but I think we’re looking pretty good with Q, VD, McDonald, Williams and Collie… adding a somewhat surprising Moore and a rookie who seems to have “it” in Patton is encouraging, too.

      Thank God for Kaep. Strong qb play, not to mention a very strong and diverse running/play action game, can really help a struggling receiver corps, imo.

  8. Going into the 3rd week of TC and some pieces are starting to come together.

    CK is finding his groove, VD is becoming a vital part of the offense again passes are being thrown to the RB’. Add Boldin to the mix and our offense will be stronger than last season.
    Note; I didn’t even add a #2 WR in the equation. When that WR emerges we be dynamic.

    At this point my attention is beginning to turn the defense. Will Ian Williams take the NGuard position and where will Glenn Dorsey eventually play?
    Is D.Whitner capable of sustaining his job for the entire season and can Justin Smith recapture his 2010-11 level of play?
    Eric Reid looks like a great pick but will he be ready for the start of the season?

    I expect some very good things from our ST’ unit this year and almost any positive in that area will be huge.

      1. Would love to see the team develop a screen game to go with the pistol and read/option. Hunter and LMJ seem like the perfect out-in-space runners, don’t they?

    1. Williams was looking good in the first preseason game. I like how he seems to penetrate at will as opposed to just holding the line like Sopoaga last year.

      Reid looked solid (in position, good hitting, sure tackling) against the 2′s. Something’s wrong if he doesn’t start the first regular season game.

      STeams looked a little scary though. You’d think with all the ST stars they brought in that the running lanes would’ve been better covered. :-/

      1. It’s a preaseason game. Would be great to see Smith “prove everyone wrong” like he said in that article you posted yesterday. It would also help prepare the D for the regular season.

      2. I agree Jack. It’s just that Mr. Chief is asking for a team with a OLB that was a few sacks away from breaking the season record and with arguably the best starting defense in the league to bring it ergo I am telling him to be careful what he wishes for.

      3. I think that he will have a TD leading drive on our defense but I don’t believe that he will carve them up. The one more likely to do that is Jamaal Charles.

      4. Those who are still not over the Alex departure, maybe is the blog for you.
        A Jim Jones clone is passing out the Kool Aid over there……..Go Niners!

      5. Hammer says:
        August 11, 2013 at 8:40 pm

        I think Smith will carve them up on Friday night.

        Ha! With what? A butter knife?…..

    1. Press wr’s and bring pressure on Smith and its not even close. The good thing for KC is that they won’t run that kind of defense in the ore season. KC would have NO shot in a regular season game. I would bet that smith wouldn’t even get 120 yards passing.

    2. Should be interesting to see what Alex’s preread adjustments do to our scheme that’s more working off a script than attempting to adjust to the offensive personnel and formations. If any QB knows how to play against our defense, it’s gotta be him.

  9. AJ Jenkins is a bust…no ifs or butts about it…I hope they move on and learn from there mistake…and stop babying him so much

    1. I agree, could have had Danny Coale wr Virginia Tech in the 5th rd, and Jarrett Boykin wr Virginia Tech in the 6th rd. Niners took Darius Fleming LB Notre Dame, Jason Slowey Ol in the 6th. Boykin caught on with the Packers, he’s there 4th Receiver I think. Boykin went undrafted, Slowey could not even make it pass the first round of cuts. Coale caught on with the Cowboys. Fleming is been nothing but injured, can even make it out of camp, he’s another bust.

      1. Last years draft class was not a good one based on producing…only lamichael james showed up to play…once again let me just put it out there that AJ Jenkins sucks!!!

  10. Jenkins is done. Not a matter of if just when. Niners should extend Bolden, Williams, Collie now. They have 5 draft picks in the first 3 rds of next years draft. Use those picks to rebuild the secondary. Niners can contend for years to come.

    1. Williams and Collie currently have trouble staying healthy plus the Niners need to extend Iupati, Kaep and the Condor while still trying to keep Crabtree with the team after his current contract expires.

  11. I read elsewhere that Tolzien got picked off by Bowman during practice. Is Tolzien firmly entrenched in the #3 QB spot, and McCoy #2 at this point?

      1. Jack:

        That’s comforting, as long as it’s not a lis franc injury. The Chiefs are going to need Charles to get to 8-8.

  12. I was reading on SFGate that Lockette struggled again with drops yesterday. I guess bunking with Kaepernick can’t help that situation.

  13. Just read the draft profile on AJ Jenkins because I remembered when he was drafted I thought scouts said he had great hands which is what was said about him but his weakness which I didn’t hear until now was that he can get separation but has trouble getting off the line he makes a presnap move and corners see it and jam him at the line. So they were right about his weakness but unfortunately so far they are wrong about his strengths saying he has good hands.

    1. As I recall, he also was known for dropping passes and immaturity. I don’t know what it is with him. You would think they could coach him up and a year later (this year) he would be ready. By now they must know they drafted him way too high. I don’t begrudge them that. Everyone makes mistakes. Even Bill Walsh had his share. Unless Jenkins suddenly elevates his game, I don’t see how they can justify keeping him to themselves. I think they’ll cut him and take the cap it, and if they think he might still work out, sign him to the PS, assuming he clears waivers.

      1. i hope it finally catches here but the scouts said he was a late 2nd early 3rd and yes they did say he was immature and also doesn’t play every down takes plays off. Really like to know what they saw in him.

  14. One of the skeleton in the closet of the 49ers is not only their averages in the red zone, bur their weakness on third downs. Manny argue that the ol is built ala the hogs to overwhelm you and that pass protection is not their forte. I agree as when the ol doesn’t dominate, see ny giants, Vikings, Seattle and rams, they get beat pretty soundly. But how did Gibbs and the redskins, airman and the coboys do it? They had frat third down te and wr. Hated aj Jenkins pick, but McDonald , Patton bolden and vd should change all that this year. That with a deep dl that can rush the qb in the 4 th quarter makes me think we win the NFC west, which even the east coast media is saying could be the toughest. Go 49ers!

      1. He got pushed back on one play and created pressure allowing his teammate to get the sack, whereupon he congratulated him…

  15. FYI, LaMichael James played 15 snaps against the Broncos Thursday night, gained 27 yards on eight carries and PFF gave him a -1.3 rushing grade. That’s very low, 12th-lowest in the NFL this preseason so far. On the other hand, PFF gave Anthony Dixon a +2.3 rushing grade. That’s the highest rushing grade they’ve given in the preseason so far by a full point.

    Also, PFF gave A.J. Jenkins a -2.4 grade. That’s the worst of all receivers in the NFL so far.

    1. LMJ played against 1′s and Dixon played against scrubs. Admittedly, I don’t understand how LMJ rated so low. Looked to me like the time or two he didn’t get positive yardage was due to blocking, not his vision. Of course, Boobie should’ve had another 30+ yards if not for penalties bringing his two big runs back…

      As for AJ, well, he played against guys in pads. Oops.

      1. Dixon had the same amount of yards (27) on one less cary and he was playing against the 2s. I dont know how they do their rankings but according to them the difference between the best RB grade and the 12th worst is one rep

    1. Good thing Celek has been solid. Nothing spectacular, just goes out and blocks and catches the balls that come his way.

  16. I felt that LMJ had a sub-par performance as well.

    He did not have the quick twitch and burst that I saw last year, but then again, its only preseason.

    Alex will have a good QBR on Friday but fail to score a RD.

    16 – 13 49ers

  17. Speaking of sub-par outings Cody Fleener is getting smeared by the team owner for being so lousy agains the Bills. I saw him fumble the ball but I guess he really stunk it out on a couple other plays…

  18. Here’s why PFF gave LaMichael James such a low grade against the Broncos.

    1. He fumbled.
    2. He averaged 0.5 yards after contact per carry.

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