Training camp report: The return of Jenkins, Bowman, Aldon Smith and more

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


1. Aldon Smith – He practiced for the first time in a few days. Joe Staley didn’t practice, so Aldon Smith dominated. He got three sacks, and was in the backfield so often he started slowing down when he got to the quarterback so the offense could finish practicing their play.

2. NaVorro Bowman – He returned from his groin strain and didn’t seem bothered by the injury. On one play, he blitzed up the middle, chased down Colin Kaepernick and tagged him for the sack. Later, Bowman ran down B.J. Daniels for a sack.

3. Tarell Brown – He didn’t practice on Friday, but he practiced today and did not give up any catches during team drills.

4. Tramaine Brock – He gave up three catches, but he redeemed himself at the end of practice by intercepting a Colt McCoy pass intended for Marlon Moore and returning it for a touchdown.

5. Nnamdi Asomugha – He was the second-team right cornerback behind Brown, and like Brown, Asomugha didn’t give up any catches today.

6. Vernon Davis – He made the catch of the morning during one-on-one drills. He ran a fade against Brock, Kaepernick threw it high over Davis’ back shoulder and Davis spun and caught the pass with just his right hand.

7. Marlon Moore – He was the starting split end and made three catches for 30 yards. His best catch was a 15-yard completion in front of Brock.

8. A.J. Jenkins – He practiced for the first time in a week and made three catches for 20 yards in team drills. At the end of practice during a half-tempo drill, Jenkins ran by Lowell Rose and caught a deep pass from McCoy.

9. Kyle Williams – He practiced for the first time in a week and a half, and right off the bat he beat Brock and C.J. Spillman on a post route for a 20-yard touchdown catch. Williams also beat second-team nickelback Michael Thomas for a 20-yard catch on a corner route.

10. Michael Wilhoite – He intercepted Colin Kaepernick at the beginning of 11-on-11 team drills. Wilhoite was covering Vance McDonald who was running a corner route. Wilhoite had underneath trail coverage. He read Kaepernick’s eyes, undercut the pass and easily picked it off.

11. Nick Moody – He broke up a touch pass from Kaepernick to Garrett Celek in the back right corner of the end zone. You can tell Moody and Wilhoite used to be safeties because they’ve excelled in pass coverage during training camp.


1. Joe Staley – He did not suit up or participate in practice. It is unknown whether he was working through an injury or simply taking a day off.

2. Justin Smith – He missed his second-straight practice.

3. Colin Kaepernick – He was intercepted once and he failed to score a touchdown in three chances from the eight-yard line in an end-of-game drill. On first down, Kaepernick threw a pass behind Celek in the middle of the end zone. On second down, Kaepernick threw the ball away. And on third down, Kaepernick fired a pass to Celek again, but Celek was tightly covered and the pass was broken up.

4. Carlos Rogers – He gave up a 15-yard catch to Charly Martin with 10 seconds left in an end-of-game drill to set up a 40-yard game-tying field goal for Phil Dawson.

5. Adam Snyder – Staley didn’t practice, so Snyder was the first-team left tackle, he gave up way too much pressure. He could not keep Aldon Smith out of the backfield, and Snyder also gave up a sack to Cam Johnson.

6. Vance McDonald – Today was not his best practice. He dropped three passes and committed a false start penalty.

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  1. can Kaepernick add lib in practice? Can he scramble or audible? Or it simply a single play execution type of practice?

      1. how does Kaep look reading his progressions? one of the criticisms of his play last year was that he tended to lock onto certain receivers on some plays.

      2. I feel like Smith locked onto receivers a lot before last season. I’m willing to bet Kaep will improve in this area too (sooner rather than later).

      3. LSX,

        Why does prime spend every moment trying to antagonize someone. This guy doesn’t even realize you were a big Smith supporter. He needs a life. He’s too young and thats got to be the reason hes so dense.

      4. Why you ask 23 clown? I will you tell you. Because people still making the comparison have nothing better to add to the conversation. The entire fan base has moved on except for a select few.
        I’m not antagonizing anyone, just stating a fact that anyone still making comparisons with CK and Alex are stuck in one dimensional thinking.

        As for you 23 dummy, you think I keep count of who supported Smith and who didn’t? Like I told you yesterday, go back into your hole, no one needs you here except Bay hate. I’m pretty sure you guys already have your arrangement settled!

  2. Good to hear that Jenkins had 3 catches today, but as usual his YPC are really low. What kind of routes is he running?

    Regarding Brown/Asomugha, are they not being targeted because their coverage is so good, or is it a case of the offense being too right handed?

    Moody and Wilhoite are two names that we keep hearing as having good showings. Both are young guys and will contribute on special teams. Good to see them grabbing hold of the backup ILB spots.

    1. Jenkins was running drag routes and short hitches. Brown knocked a pass away intended for Jenkins on a hitch, and Cox knocked a pass away intended for Jenkins on a drag route.

      Regarding Brown and Asomugha, I’d say it’s more about the offense being right-handed than those two covering well.

      1. Thanks for the updates Grant.
        I’m really concerned about AJ’s low YPC training camp stats to this point.

        My expectations of AJ may have been too high. I thought that the team envisioned AJ as a possible deep threat when they drafted him. Now, he seems to be anything but a deep threat.
        I find AJ’ low TC output confusing and disappointing.

        Grant, I don’t want to put you in an awkward or tenuous position, so I will understand if you chose not to answer this question, but I need to ask since you’ve witnessed AJ first hand.
        Is AJ afraid to get hit?

        If he’s timid about contact it would certainly explain his low YPC in TC. I hope that there is some other issue that is causing his low TC output, but so far he hasn’t done anything to prove otherwise.
        If he is a fact afraid of the physical contact of the NFL, his career will be very short-lived.

        1. He does seem to shy away from contact in practice, and he doesn’t handle contact very well, which is part of the reason he often loses his feet.

    2. What do you mean Jenkins average was low ???
      He caught 3 passes for 20+ yards and then caught the pass of the day for 70 yards ! Doesn’t sound low to me .
      I just hope he can do anywhere near that in games and we will really have something. He has a lot to prove.

      1. Depends on how you read that Tim – 3 catches for 20 yards all up, or 3 catches for 20 yards each. Grant, can you confirm which?

        From Grant’s previous entries Jenkins has struggled to make plays deep all camp until that 50/ 70 yarder (the distance seems to vary depending on which report you read).

      2. It was a 70 yard play, caught around 50 with 20 yards of YAC, and it came against the scout team going less than full speed.

        That is something to look for come Thursday night if Jenkins is on the field with McCoy.

  3. 1. How did Vernon Davis and Eric Reid look?
    2. Did Collie and Hawkins participate in practice? How did they look?
    3. What kind of coverage has the secondary been in?

    1. Davis and Reid played well but they didn’t get a ton of action. Neither Collie nor Hawkins received a target until the very end of practice. They played with the third-team offense.

      The cornerbacks are playing well, but they’re not facing elite receivers. It’s hard to judge them. They play zone about half of the time.

  4. Good to hear Aldon was able to get to the QB today without J. Smith, albeit against Snyder. Grant, was Aldon getting into the backfield by beating his man or was it through execution of stunts, etc.?

    Interesting that Jenkins, Williams, Osgood and Lockette were all practicing again today. 49ers would have known they’d all be back, so makes you wonder why they were so desperate to sign Collie and Hawkins – two slot WRs. Can’t simply be about making sure they had enough numbers to be running routes – they must have been unimpressed with the guys they had working in the slot.

      1. At this stage I’m thinking 5 WRs and 4 TEs. But given how often these WRs get hurt they might stick with 6 again.

      2. What makes you think they’d keep 4 TE’s?

        Agree with you that they will probably go with 5 WR’s. James handling the return duties makes that additional WR less necessary.

      3. I’m thinking with no standout WRs outside of Boldin, we could see more 3 TE sets this season, with 1or 2 of them split wide or in the backfield. Grant mentioned the other day they have used 2 TEs in the backfield with the pistol formation on occasion this camp.

        End of the day, I think the TEs on the roster (Davis, McDonald, Celek and Gray) are going to be better than any 6th WR they could keep (probably better than any 4th or 5th WR for that matter).

  5. “Wilhoite had underneath trail coverage. He read Kaepernick’s eyes, undercut the pass and easily picked it off.”

    One of Colin’s weaknesses is seeing underneath coverage. I remember most the first throw against Green Bay, but the issue goes back as the 2011 preseason.

      1. I’m really curious to see how Lockette develops this camp given Harbaugh’s affinity for him, his friendship with Kaep, and most importantly his raw talent (6-2, 4.35).

  6. Everyone seems to be sleeping on T.Brock. Like Fangio said if it was it not for a training camp injury last year, he might have been the 3rd corner instead of Cully.

    1. Prime,

      Many remember Brock for giving up a TD in the Giants NFC Championship game after Brown was knocked out thus the poor impression of him.

      1. Wow Jack! Nothing like expecting a guy to come on cold in the most pressure packed situation and expect to do something, meanwhile Eli had been leadin a surge before that.
        The kid is young and plays like he cares. Lets let training camp play out and see if he can earn a spot.
        It seems like a lot of your dialogue always relates to last year or the year before. T.Brock is a classic case of are the Niners developing their young talent.

      2. Prime,

        You mentioned folks sleeping on Brock and I simply gave you 1 possible reason. Maybe he will be the DB version of Ian Williams this year. I would rather see the young guy step up than go with the old vet Asomugha.

      3. Jack,

        Brock gave up completions to the guy he was covering whenever he was used in games these past couple of seasons. He has to prove that he can actually defend the pass as opposed to making the tackle after the catch.

      4. Shhh!!! When you don’t know what you are talking about it just sounds like static! Watch him the 3rd corner spot. You said he was terrible, just watch me feed it to you all season 23, just like your boy JJ whose where again? Cleveland? Buwhahaha!!!!!!!!

  7. Football returns tonight. I have said goodbye to my wife and children. I hope they do well over the next four months.

    Booooooo YAH!

    1. It’s been a long wait, Clemons. Speaking of children, we have 17 day old twins that were getting some pictures done today and my wife thought it would be nice to get them a pic with my Gore jersey. Was adorable until my girl threw up on the 2. She might be the first 17 day old to ever get grounded.

      1. My wife has a very good friend that has triplets so we can’t even complain about how difficult having two is.

  8. Not disputing Grant’s discription of Jenkin’s 70-yard TD catch, but on the three other articles, nobody else has described it as a “half-tempo” drill. Well, at least he was in the “good” section.

      1. Grant, that was also not mentioned. Barrow’s just described it as a 50 yard catch with 20 YAC during 11 on 11′s for a TD. Go give his bald head a nuggie tomorrow.

      2. I highly doubt that the defense was just going through the motions Grant. That is a good way of not making the team.

      3. RT @MaioccoCSN 49ers spent a lot of time toward end of practice working vs. scout team. Those plays only offered token defense at far less than full speed.

  9. What about the 3 passes for 20+ yards Jenkins had before that 70 yard catch ?
    Were all those just half speed too Grant ?
    You simply need to let it go Grant ,it makes you look worse than you are trying to make Jenkins look.
    Jenkins has a lot to prove and he has this preseason to show what he has to offer.
    And by the way,how is Fleener doing ,LOL .

  10. How is what Brock did in the good category. You reek of bias.
    For those of us who want objective and non bias reporting on the camp check out sando’s piece..From espn of all places pretty good considering he used to cover our little brother seahawks.
    Grant go cover the cowboys, this is Niner country.

  11. If T. Brock is the best the Niners have we’re done! we can pack it in right now. I’d rather take a chance on E. Wright than him. For every pass Brock deflects three more will get by him. This will not do. As far as Kaep, it’s better to make his mistakes now than during the real thing IF he learns from this.

  12. Great to hear we got a lot of people back this practice.

    Sounds like Jenkins is slightly improving. I think I’m more excited about KW making an impact this season.

    Grant – what’s your prediction on williams. You think he stays healthy and holds on to that #2 spot?

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