Mike Singletary told his captains, and the captains passed the directive down the chain of command this morning: When the ball’s in the air, let the offensive player catch it. No reason to get tangled up and risk an injury this early in the campaign.
“Obviously, it did not sink in deep enough,” Singletary said after practice.
There weren’t any violent collisions on the field during the first day of OTAs, but there were a couple of fender benders. At one point cornerback Tarell Brown went after a deep pass from Alex Smith to Michael Crabtree and landed on his side; he wound up favoring his right shoulder as he left the field.
Brown was back in the mix the next time the first unit took the field. Afterward, he reflected on trying to undo 12 years of training and rein in his aggressiveness.
“It’s a little difficult,” Brown said. “I thought I was in front of the guy and end up seeing somebody come from the other end. End of the day, just going out there to make a play. Nobody’s out there trying to get hurt. Just going out there to compete.”
But not at 100-percent intensity. Singletary remained adamant about a prohibition that was sort of the passing-game equivalent of the no-tackling rule on run plays.
“You’re in position to make the play, great. But let the guy catch the ball,” the coach said. “That’s something we don’t want to do. It’s nice to see that guys are trying to make plays, but I don’t want that right now.”