Tramaine Brock breaks up three, Chris Cooks gives up nine

SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out to me at the 49ers’ first padded practice of training camp.

THE GOOD

1. Tramaine Brock. Broke up three passes today. First, he intercepted Kory Faulkner who was trying to throw to Stevie Johnson. Then, Brock broke up a pass intended for Carlos Hyde. And then, Brock broke up a pass intended for Kassim Osgood.

2. Michael Crabtree. Dropped one pass in the end zone, but he made the catch of the day – a left-handed grab over the middle for a 20-yard gain. He also beat Brock once for a short gain.

3. Stevie Johnson. Dropped one pass near the sideline, but he caught four others, beating Jimmie Ward once, Chris Cook once and Chris Culliver twice.

4. Quinton Patton. Caught five passes during team drills, including a 20-yard touchdown between Eric Reid and Antoine Bethea in a red zone drill. Patton also caught an intermediate passes in front of Tramaine Brock and Chris Cook.

5. Frank Gore. Took a handoff for an outside run, cut it back inside and burst through the hole. Jim Harbaugh was fired up. “That’s the Frank Gore I know!” Harbaugh shouted.

6. Colin Kaepernick. Like yesterday, he missed a couple of deep passes early in practice. He overthrew Michael Crabtree in the corner of the end zone and he overthrew Vernon Davis near the sideline. But Kaepernick threw accurate short passes and accurate check-down passes, although he did not throw them with touch.

7. Tank Carradine. Unblockable during one-on-one drills. Carradine also recorded the only sack of team drills, meaning he was the only person who tagged a quarterback and forced the coaches to blow the whistle and end the play.

8. Bruce Ellington. Caught about 20 punts on a side field while the rest of the team practiced. I didn’t see Ellington drop a single punt. He looks like a natural punt returner.

9. Jimmie Ward. Took some reps with the first team defense for the first time. But he gave up two catches during team drills – one to Stevie Johnson and one to David Reed.

10. David Reed. Caught four passes during team drills. He beat Tramaine Brock on back-to-back plays and, later, Reed beat Ward.

THE NOT-SO-GOOD

1. Chris Cook. Gave up nine catches during team drills. Nine. Didn’t break up one pass. Cook was passive, as opposed to Brock, Ward and Chris Culliver who were physical and competitive. Keep in mind that Marcus Cooper was passive during training camp last year. He played well during the preseason games.

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  1. “But Kaepernick threw accurate short passes and accurate check-down passes, although he did not throw them with touch.”

    Grant, you are such a perfectionist.

  2. Tank rolling over offensive lineman and into their quarterbacks will be a gratifying thing to watch.
    Almost forgot about Reed, and maybe his performance signals he’s given up weed…..
    Patton is competing and I’m looking forward to seeing him with the ball in his hands, because I believe he has great vision as a runner…
    I never had faith in Cook until I heard the positive reports. Sounds like it was premature and he’s still the same guy….

    1. Razor: It looks like Donatell knew what he was doing! A new coach and a new system that plays to his strength, may be what he needed to blossom! And the 9ers can use a big DB
      that can play press!!

    2. Ditto on that, Raz. I, too, had ascending expectations on Cook. Guess we were wrong. But then, maybe we still might be right …

  3. Sounds like it was a much better day for the offense/ passing game than yesterday. Sounds like Johnson has been impressive every day so far, working mainly from the slot. Grant, after seeing Johnson in action, do you still feel he’s an average receiver, or has he impressed you at all? I still think he should be a big upgrade as the slot WR this year.

    1. Haven’t changed my opinion of him yet. He gets open sometimes in the short and intermediate areas of the field. That’s good. But he drops about one pass per practice, he hasn’t gotten open deep yet, he doesn’t fight for the ball if he’s covered and targeting him led to interceptions today and yesterday.

      1. Cheers, sounds exactly like the player I described a few days ago. Good at getting open in the short and intermediate areas of the field, but more of a finesse guy that won’t fight particularly hard for a contested ball.

  4. Isn’t there a theory around that the 49ers are interested in Cook as a bump and run corner? And that the Vikings used him mostly in zone coverage?

    It doesn’t sound like the niners were working on deep routes today. Maybe Cook wasn’t doing any bumping because of the schedule.

    The tendency to draw season long conclusions from anything in the preseason provides a lot of entertainment.

    1. That is correct htwaits. But the knock on him at the Vikings was that he can be too passive, and one of the key questions about him that needs to be answered is whether it was due to scheme or the player. That is probably the most concerning part about this report for me. We don’t know what these guys are being asked to do in terms of physicality, but it sounds like Cook was playing more passively than other DBs which doesn’t bode well for him.

      1. From blogs that provide more detailed and unbiased information, today’s practice was restrained from an aggression point of view. The only exception was the one on one pass rush drills.

        It’s too early to tell — about anything except Hunter being out for a season.

      2. Scooter
        Scout.com had a report on the 3rd day of camp and the guy noted

        “It’s clear the coaching staff is making a point to avoid contact, and often times Saturday the defense was where it was supposed to be coverage-wise on passing plays. Defenders weren’t allowed to play the ball like they would in a game situation, allowing the offense to complete their passes at a high clip.”

        I dont know how other DBs were able to stand out while apparently allowing the wr to catch the ball but im hoping that CC’s lack of agression was more directive than his true nature.

        Here is the link to the whole article.
        http://sfo.scout.com/2/1426637.html

  5. This is exactly what I want to hear after a lot of bad news yesterday. Good to hear Colin more accurate. I love the Tank news. He may be the one I’m looking most forward to seeing this year. Patton also good. And of course Ward playing with the 1st team is a good sign.

    Which ILB was the best beside Willis? Also how did Culliver look in total? Does he look healthy?

  6. Other than K. Hunters horrible luck it sounds like a great camp so far. M. Barrows said that Looney looked very good today. WR’s all sound like they are looking good. CK always takes awhile to find his rhythm and it sounds like he was a lot closer today. A little something those of you who constantly complain about hold outs can learn. Take a look at K. Hunter and see the reason these players need to make as much as they can as fast as they can and far as veteran players like V. Davis “gouging” the team he better make as much as he can because his family may need it for long term care for early onset dementia.

  7. Grant: Will give you props for recognizing that Ellington would make an excellent returner. He has excellent hands and seldom drops balls. There is something else about returners that perhaps should be drilled into special teams coaches. A good returner needs the ability to multi-task. In their case to be able to not only focus on the ball but also be able to keep track of the positions of the defenders who are bearing down on them. This was something that Williams never had any inherent ability in what so ever. Ellington played the point in college. One skill necessary for a point is to have great court awareness while under pressure from defenders. That is a similar skill that would appear to cross over between the two sports. While it is one thing to catch punts in practice, it is another to do so in games with defenders coming at you. I think that Ellingtons skill set as a point guard should translate well in that respect.

  8. Keep in mind that Marcus Cooper was passive during training camp last year.
    ——————
    He was also a rookie, Cook doesn’t have that excuse.

  9. I love to hear Tank and dial looking good in pass rush situations that could be a great addition to our D. When you think about it we got a fraction of production out of Aldon last year and none from QD and Tank so thats 3 extra pieces on top of a healthy cowboy that should bolster out front 4 which at times struggled to control the LOS.
    JWard constnatly being around the ball excites me as well as those type of guys tend to cash in on their opportunities.

  10. It’s funny how Grant’s take is so different from other beat writers or analysts watching practices. He didn’t even mention Dontae Johnson and he was mentioned in several other articles. Grant has such an eye for talent and never seems to be wrong about a player, play calling, coaches, schemes, contracts, drafting and development I really can’t believe he’s not been offered a front office job yet with an NFL franchise. I’m sure an offer is imminent. Thanks Grant for all you do every time I read an article of yours I learn something new. Your like a writer/coach/teacher for us as readers. I can honestly say I don’t even need to watch football after your predictions what’s the point? Your right about everything!

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