SANTA CLARA – The 49ers had a light, leisurely practice in shorts and shells for about an hour and 45 minutes Tuesday morning. Here’s what stood out to me.
1. Colin Kaepernick. Attempted just 13 passes during team drills, but completed 10 including three touchdown passes: one to Anquan Boldin, one Stevie Johnson and one to Vance McDonald. Kaepernick’s first incomplete pass was intended for Bruce Ellington in the back right corner of the end zone during a red zone drill and Dontae Johnson broke up that pass easily. Kaepernick’s second incompletion was a miscommunication with Stevie Johnson – Johnson broke off his route, but Kaepernick threw deep because he expected Johnson to keep running. Kaepernick’s third incomplete pass was intended for Vance McDonald. He dropped it.
2. Vance McDonald. The tight ends spent ten minutes at the beginning of practice catching footballs spun out of a JUGS machine. McDonald stood ten yards away from it and didn’t drop a single ball. And during team drills he dropped only one – an improvement for him. McDonald also made the catch of the day, a one-handed over-the-shoulder touchdown catch on a pass thrown by Kaepernick.
3. Stevie Johnson. Anquan Boldin and Quinton Patton took just a handful of reps in team drills, so Johnson got four targets instead of the two or three he typically gets. He caught three passes at the beginning of practice: he beat Darryl Morris for a 10-yard touchdown catch, and he also beat Kenneth Acker and Dontae Johnson for short gains. Johnson didn’t drop any passes, but he ran the wrong route once and Kaepernick ended up throwing a deep pass to no one.
4. David Reed. Caught three passes when he was playing against the first-team defense as a member of the scout-team offense. Reed beat Chris Culliver down the left sideline for a 25-yard catch, and later beat Chris Cook for a 15-yard gain. Reed spun Cook around on that play. Reed is brothers with Redskins’ tight end Jordan Reed.
5. George Whitfield. The four quarterbacks practiced faking handoffs, rolling back to their right and throwing on the run into a hoop propped up in the back-right corner of the end zone. Geep Chryst ran the drill. Each quarterback tried this pass dozens of times and each quarterback completed just one into the hoop. George Whitfield completed two into the hoop. Greg Roman tried twice and missed 10 yards short both times.
1. Jimmie Ward. The starting nickel back for the first-team defense. Gave up a 20-yard catch on third-and-seven to the scout-team slot receiver, Devon Wylie.