49ers training camp report, Day 5: Colin Kaepernick bounces back

SANTA CLARA – Here’s who stood out to me during the fifth day of training camp.


1. CB Tramaine Brock. Played like a shutdown corner. Intercepted a deep pass intended for DeAndre Smelter. Pinned Smelter against the sideline and dove to the ground to pick off the throw. This was the only throw that came Brock’s way.

2. CB Kenneth Acker. Returned punts, which will increase his chances of making the final roster. Also intercepted a Thad-Lewis pass intended for Devon Cajuste during 11 on 11s. The defense was playing Cover 2 and Acker was playing a shallow zone. Cajuste ran a go route. Acker passed him off to the safety and Lewis thought Acker was out of the play. But Acker read Lewis’ eyes, quickly back-pedaled and snatched the ball out of the air.

3. WR DeAndre Smelter. Started at flanker in place of Torrey Smith who sat out team drills with an injured left knee. Caught a deep pass down the sideline after beating Jimmie Ward with a double move curl route.

4. TE Garrett Celek. Clearly the team’s go-to target in the red zone. Scored the offense’s only red-zone touchdown after running a wheel route to the front left corner of the end zone.

5. QB Jeff Driskel. Completed 5 of 8 passes during team drills (one pass was dropped). Also made the best throw of practice – a 20-yard strike over the head of cornerback Prince Charles Iworah and into the hands of Dres Anderson while rolling left.

6. QB Colin Kaepernick. Completed 11 of 17 throws and tossed two touchdown passes and no picks during team drills. The first TD pass was the throw to Celek I described above. The second TD pass went to DiAndre Campbell on third-and-goal from the 5-yard line. During that play, Kaepernick avoided the rush while keeping his eyes downfield, stepped up in the pocket and lofted a touch pass over the head of a cornerback. Beautiful.


1. CB Jimmie Ward. Overaggressive. Tried to jump routes and got burned by play action and double moves. Gave up four catches total – one to Smelter, one to Bruce Ellington and two to Quinton Patton.

2. CB Rashard Robinson. Unfocused. Gave up a catch to DiAndre Campbell because Robinson wasn’t paying attention when the center snapped the ball. Also gave up one catch to Bruce Ellington and two to Quinton Patton.

3. QB Blaine Gabbert. Threw the two worst passes of practice. The first one he forced to Campbell on third-and-10 when Campbell was triple-covered, and the pass bounced off the facemask of safety Jered Bell. The second awful pass was the deep one Brock picked off. The idea was to throw the pass toward the sideline where only the receiver, DeAndre Smelter, could catch it. But Gabbert threw the ball toward the middle of the field where only Brock could catch it. Smelter tried his best to knock it down, but never actually touched it.

This article has 174 Comments

    1. That’s easy. If your “boy” is Gabbert, you don’t trust Grant’s report, but if your money is on Kaepernick, Grant’s report is rubbish….

      1. I think Grant might be wired to be a play by play announcer instead of a reporter. He seems to be able to call it as he sees it but with no context. It’s very early in TC, the QBs and everyone else are learning a new system, a totally new group of coaches and more than a few new players are learning to work together and the truth is that the defense is generally always ahead of the offense out of the blocks. That’s context. It’s nice to hear the play by play from Grant, but we have to use our minds to provide the proper context.

          1. I didn’t say that you don’t know the context. I only meant that your forte is calling it like you see it and I agree with Rocket that most of us appreciate that quality. For you current position as a reporter I enjoy your work very much but continue my belief that you have very good perception in real time, very good knowledge of the game and the “players”, and would make an excellent color man.

            1. Neither of us needs to remind the other of the context. My point is that some who read here take your lack of including it as evidence of bias which is unfortunate and I believe untrue.

            2. WC, sorry to disagree, but I find the others are pretty rote, just compiling statistics, but Grant finds the salient points, and is very descriptive.

              “He practices like he plays” – That is succinct and witty.

        1. Without being able to see it ourselves you have to rely on what’s reported. It’s a good idea to read all the reports from everybody to see what parts are consistent across the board, but there are always going to be outliers due to people seeing different things at different times. Everything that is said happened. What you don’t alwasy know is in what context they happened. Grant does the best job imo of giving all the details without sugar coating. That’s what I want. A true description of what happened without un objective bias.

  1. Like the QB updates Grant.

    No separation between the QB’s is occurring. I’ve mentioned Driskel has a puncher’s chance to start if Gab and Kap continue their wayward ways.

    However, Keep in mind, thought one knows where to go with the football, may even post good stats, you still need to study NFL defenses, ascertaining where your offense fits in.
    Unless Driskel is superior during preseason games vs. when anger is real, I would let the vetrans guide the team during the learning curve.

    1. Quinton Patton is the guy who prays with the most faith. He once again saves his roster spot by some freak injury that shouldn’t have happened. He is cut on any other NFL team and most CFL teams.

        1. More synonyms

          When there’s less chess pieces, it’s easier to see the board.

          absence makes the heart grow stronger

          When Seb posts, less is more.

            1. Glad you weighed in Razor.ll

              Perhaps you and Seb will view Ryan Sakamoto and Kevin Lynch (on Sakamoto link below) view of QB battle.

              1. It’s all noise until August 14, but don’t let that stop you from calling your next witness….

      1. It seems like most of his completions are in 7 on 7. We all know why, because with 11 on 11 its just means more people on the field, means more to read, and better decision making and accuracy become prevalent. All things he has not improved in.

        1. Grant would know for sure, but from what I’ve read, it seems like Kap has done better in 11 on 11 than he has with the other two (not that he’s been overly impressive in any of them). He feels more comfortable when he has the play action element involved.

          1. That’s basically what killed the Bears many moons ago. Since then, the league really has keyed in on the play action with him and forced him to stand in and deliver throws from the pocket .
            From what Ive read between this site and Maiaocco, the most completions have come in 7 on 7. Not to my surprise because of the skills he lacks.

      2. Baalke is still in charge, admitted this when he stated he was behind the Tom Gamble promotion–unless Jed asked him to state this.

        Baalke will fight like a wildcat to save his job, so I wouldn’t put it past Baalke, even when Gabbert demonstrates in preseason he’s superior to Kap, to anoint Kap as the starter to avoid explaining to his boss why a 12 million dollar man is riding the bench…

        Everyone says it’s a fair competition, but the bottom line is what matters to the York’s, as evidenced when they tried to cheat the Girl Scouts of America during Superbowl week…IF Kap sits, Jed Fires Baalke on the spot for losing the York’s 12 mil.

    1. The reports on the O&D lines have been good, therefore it stands to reason that the RB’s and LB’s should also be looking good, right?

  2. Man, that’s kind of funny..guy wrote he was suppose to throw the ball where only the receiver could get it but threw it where only the defense could get it. Lol. just the way it’s phrased.

  3. sebnynah
    August 5, 2016 at 8:07 am

    There was a reason why Driskel was passed over by 32 teams 5 times. His days in Florida were pretty regrettable. 13 other QBs were rated better than him

    Was there a reason Tom Brady was drafted in the 6th Rd an 192 teams passed on him, or Joe Montana was Drafted in the 3rd Rd and 96 teams passed on him?

    Look for Driskel, as Grant pointed out _EB, to start at some point this season…Do you feel like the Fool on the Hill now?

    1. TrollD, speaking of a fool on a hill, you were the one pronouncing that the Broncos would trade Vonn Miller for Kaep. The Broncos would have to be be brain dead to give up the player that won them the SB for a question mark. Anyone who proposes such an outlandish wild rumor must also belong to that category. TrollD, you bring nothing to this site, except for being such a noisome troll who hates the Niners with a passion and loves and cheers for the Raiders.

      1. Now your hero is a question mark? From taking the league by storm to a question mark? Your confidence seems to be shattering Seb. Oh no, time to regroup, show fortitude, read more General Ziu or whatever his name is!

        1. Prime, Kaep is competing for the starting position. There is a question whether he will win or nor. To me, that is a question mark, not an exclamation point.

    2. Tom, you may be on to something here with Driskel. Thats twice ive read Grant saying he put the ball in between d-backs and threw it before the rcvr was done with his route-implying good touch, accuracy and timing.

      Wouldn’t it be something if he took it away from the other qb’s? Its too early, tho……

      1. Brodie,

        Am I actually talking with an unemotional, detached, Bill Walsh here when observing talent.

        The drama of the Kap fans is too much.

        Yes, it would be nice if the 49ers were not dysfunctional and would start whose best. This is a dysfunctional franchise–they cheated the Girl Scouts of America–so it’s all about the bottom line or Baalke’s fired for benching a 12 million dollar man.

  4. Grant,
    Keep up the good work, I find your camp reports very entertaining. In reality camp performance doesn’t mean too much, preseason games are where roster spots are won or lost. Anyone who has played and or coached the game knows there are players who practice well but play poorly and players who practice terribly but are gamers. So I will continue to enjoy the daily reports but I can’t wait for the preseason games to start.

  5. What would happen if Torrey Smith, far-and-away the 49ers’ top receiver, got hurt this season?

    The 49ers got a glimpse Friday when Smith sat out practice with some lower body tightness
    At 6-foot-2, 227 pounds, Smelter is perhaps the team’s most physically imposing wideout. Lining up at right receiver, which is Smith’s usual spot, he burned cornerback Jimmie Ward early in practice with a stop-and-go move down the sideline on a pass delivered by quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers/article93983812.html#storylink=cpy

    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers/article93983812.html#storylink=cpy

  6. Grant,
    Thanks for the report. For a while this week your reports seemed slanted against CK and favorable towards BG. But after todays report it’s becoming clear that you are calling it like you see it.

    Do you have any ‘take’ on the Kelvin Taylor, Mike Davis competition?

            1. Point being ladies and gentlemen, anyone of us can look something up to agree with our points of view. But my point is, i dont care who wins, i just want us to win as a team. And that’s the bottom line. So whoever wins, goodluck ballin out.

          1. I know what we can do. Lets play a football math game before the 1st preseason game.

            Math Question: Which person, statistically has a better completion chance.

            the person who goes through all reads, or the one, not using all his players, and goes through one read?…Ryan Sakamoto and Kevin Lynch, (Above Post) answer the question…. UNLESS KAP FANS ARE AFRAID TO LOOK.

  7. How did Patton look to you Grant? I saw one of the other writers said it was his best practice of camp so far.

      1. Wow… not really sure what to make of that… good to hear Patton finally looking good in practice, but not good to hear its at Ward’s expense.

        Good day by Patton???? or Bad day by Ward???

            1. One thing I like about Ward is it sounds like he is constantly seeking advice and working hard to get better.

      2. Thanks Grant. I am still hoping someone surpasses Patton as the starter, but as I have said before, he can be a valuable guy to keep around as he can start if needed and not be terrible, and play he plays STs.

        Is Simpson the main competition for Patton on the left atm? Has Smelter only been practicing on the right in camp?

        1. Smelter practiced on the right today. He has been practicing on both sides, though. He probably is the main competition for Patton. Patton seems clearly better than Simpson to me.

          1. Cool, hadn’t realised Smelter had been practicing both sides. Good to hear.

            Really not a fan of Simpson, so kinda glad to hear Patton is looking clearly better than him.

  8. Is Driskel with the 2nd or 3rd team and do you think Lewis would be favored a roster spot over him? Good to hear about Driskel though been keeping an eye on him and interested to see how he progresses. Whether he can be a starter in the future we’ll see.

        1. Goes through progressions efficiently. Surprisingly accurate, even when rolling out. Throws with anticipation. Protects the football. Faster and more elusive than Kaepernick.

          1. After Driskel replaces the ineffective Gabbert/ Kaep, do you think he does enough to go into next season as the starter?

              1. Razor – I think Falk will be available in the second round, so grabbing McCaffrey first and Falk second would be a great draft haul.

                RAW – Garrett is expected to go within the top three, so he probably would not be an available option. Besides, the 49ers do not really need another starting DE or OLB.

              2. Razor, if you pair up Garrett with Lynch it would be nasty. I wouldn’t mind Mcaffrey. Him and Falk would be a great haul.. Although I think Driskel could be very good.

              3. McCaffrey + Falk would be a superb draft based on what we know of those two players right now.

                Falk is a guy I am currently expecting to move up in the eyes of evaluators though. My current thinking is he goes round 1.

              4. If one of the three QBs works out, the 49ers might be able to go after Myles Garrett. The D would be complete! Of if they are picking later, McCaffrey.

  9. You’re going to have to create a macro on your lap top that types the line “…beat Jimmie Ward” given how many times you’ve had to type it so far this Summer.

  10. This must be the very first time I’ve ever seen ” touch pass” and “Kaepernick” together in the same sentence, let alone the same article.

  11. I try not to take too much from what transpires during training camp, but I find it interesting that Smelter was bumped up to ones instead of Simpson. It makes me wonder how tenuous Simpon’s position on the team is on the team even with the loss of Rogers. My guess at the WR corps would be: Smith, Patton, Ellington, Smelter, White, and Cajusté.

  12. This seems to be an up-and-down quarterback competition however Drexel seems to be the most consistent correct? Also I think Kap & Gabbert being able to run the ball in the system is going to be a huge benefit to them and to Kelly. So maybe the incompletion’s they throw on certain place may not be attempted during the regular season when they decide to run.

    Also is there any real way to see how these running backs look prior to preseason games?

    1. Driskel is going against the third string. That is like playing a La Tech. When he was in the big leagues at Florida, he got rattled.

      1. Seb, I believe this Driskel kid is a real threat to your guy Sack-or-pick. Its way too early, i know-but he has shown real touch and timing already.

        Big trouble for Kap….and Gabbert!

  13. Its way too early to evaluate Driskel. I think the starting job is going to Kaep. Reason, Gabbert should be ahead of Kaep by all the repetitions he has had prior to TC and it seems that they are pretty much neck in neck. I see Kaep, with more repetitions will overcome the advantage Gabbert had. I have no favorite in this battle just looking for one of them to emerge and be a solid QB.

    1. If we’re correct about Kaepernick winning the starting job, I know two on here that will need to be put on suicide watch. TomD and Prime Time!

        1. And between you, Seb, Rocket and Razor what will you fellas do if he loses the job? Cry and moan and make more excuses?

          1. All I’ll have to do is change my avatar to that of a clown for 4 weeks. I’ll back the winner. I last cried and moaned during Super Bowl 48 and again after the Iupati and then Bowman injury, during the 2014 NFC Conference Championship game….

          2. Gosh, Prime, I was going to let you put up an avatar by my name if Gabbert wins, for 4 weeks, but you must be getting cold feet. guess you must think Kaep is a lock. I must admit that you did say that Kaep took the league by storm……

        2. Rebuild,

          Why? Because I point out that one was better than the other last year?

          I’m sorry if that upsets you.

          To be completely honest, I don’t care one bit who the QB is. I watch the games for distraction only. Whether the team wins or loses means very little to me because it has no effect on my life. I passed that stage long ago.

          1. Since we’re being honest, winning is a hell of a lot more fun than losing. I don’t care what stage I’m on….

            1. Mondays are when we check the whether-
              -whether we’re happy after a win or gloomy after a loss. I tend to dwell on it for 20 or 30 minutes each Monday, formulating my wisecracks for the week,…….and then…you know…the planet continues to hurtle through space….

          2. Hammer, I’m just kidding man. I know you have been backing Gabbert more so I was just giving you a hard time. Everyone knows I’m pulling for Kaep. Truth be known is that if Gabbert wins the job that’s where my loyalty will be. Just want to enjoy this year and feel like the franchise is heading in the right direction again. I know me and you were pretty stoked when Kelly got hired. I think he is going to be really good. May the best man win and go Niners!!!!!! August 14th Christmas comes early.

  14. Anyone know of there will be transcripts or a podcast of yesterday’s SiriusXM NFL Radio interview of Baalke and various players?

  15. All I have to say is the reports continue to be far better than what we saw coming out of camp last year and this should make everyone happier. I seem to remember one or two positives with six to eight negatives. That bodes well for the team.

    That one quarterback doesn’t yet distinguish themselves is not surprising and also a bit dismaying. It’s interesting to read the transcript form Chip Kelly. He highlighted the RBs and the LBs as well as the DBs. He also had high praise for Driskel and Smelter.

    It’s good to read all the camp reports as they all give differing perspectives and hopefully with the bulk of them give a better sense of what’s going on rather than just merely snapshots.

    1. I don’t care which QB wins the job this year. I just hope one of them actually wins the job, rather than have none of the QBs deserve it and just hand one of them the job because someone has to do it.

        1. I hope one clearly stands out as a clear winner that the team can rally around. Don’t care who either though I have misgivings for both.

      1. Neither guy is the future, let’s be clear on that. The guy that does win the job at least has to be a leader of the boys in front of him and make them better players.
        An attitude of fight together is really the only thing that needs to be established with this rebuilding team. Teach the young guys that competing like a unified squad is what matters! Keep in mind, this is year one of a 3 year rebuild.
        Year 1: attitude
        Year 2: talent acquisition and developing
        Year 3: confidence and winning

            1. You cheap b-s—ds wouldn’t pay!
              Hahaha I am, of course, just kidding around Prime.
              BTW, the Mexicans won’t either, and they’ll make up 70% of the construction workforce.

    2. He also talked about the QB needing to be accurate, precise,quick decision making.
      That’s really neither guy!

      1. You caught that too! I think he may have meant Driskel though he did say he was still very much a rookie. It was an interesting comment though.

    3. East, I hope you realize that Chip will never say a bad word about any player. Just following the Bill Walsh mantra- speak no evil, only positives. Chip was in full Coach-speech mode.

      1. Generally it’s what they don’t say which is important. When they speak generally one should listen because they are giving more than one realizes. They may not criticize directly but they do so obliquely.

        1. True. One needs to read between the lines.

          Saw Chip’s presser. He was honest and forthright, and said many things. Thought it was like a breath of fresh air, compared to JH . His seemed like he was being tortured in an inquisition, and JT stumbled through his like he was juggling, dropped the balls, and had to scramble to retrieve them.

          One tiny critique for Chip is he needs to slow down, and not sound like the disclaimer guy at the end of an ad.

          1. I don’t always watch them. Prefer to read the transcript. JH’s I always watched. They were hilarious. His philosophy was to give the press as little as possible and so the dance was hilarious to watch. I had no problem with Harbaugh. Great coach! Chip K. still unsure about him. Got lots of friends from Philadelphia who think we got a dud. I hold out judgement until I see the production on the field.

            1. I am sad that JH was driven away, but he landed well.

              Chip will do just fine. He finally got the right QBs to run his system. I expect a storm is coming, and all the detractors and naysayers will have egg on their faces.

              1. Hope this is true. How great would that be? I foresee no more than 6 wins, more likely 4 but would dearly love to be dead wrong

              2. !981, Niners went from 6-10 to a SB.

                In 2011 they went from 6-10 to 13-3 and an NFCC Game.

                Niners do have a daunting schedule, but the Seahawks have a brand new untested line, CP at the Cards is one year older, and Keenum will start for the Rams.

      1. Razor, you Italian? I was born in Italy. Came here when I was 3…. Been in love with the Niners ever since..

  16. “Gabbert padded his stats in garbage time, that’s why his numbers were better than Kaepernick’s”

    This as been a common statement by many. Since I was bored I decided to check on this for the heck of it.

    Garbage Time (GT) Criteria: Down by 2 or more scores in the second half.

    Colin Kaepernick: 5 Games

    Overall: 144-244, 1615yds, 6TD, 5INT – 78.5 Rating
    Non GT: 101-163, 1045yds, 4TD, 4INT – 78.3 Rating
    GT: 43-81, 570yds, 2TD, 1INT – 78.7 Rating

    Blaine Gabbert: 4 Games

    Overall: 178-282, 2031yds, 10TD, 7INT – 86.2 Rating
    Non GT: 131-207, 1437yds, 8TD, 6INT – 84.6 Rating
    GT: 47-75, 594yds, 2TD, 1INT – 90.6 Rating

    Conclusion: Gabbert did get a bump in his overall QB Rating based on GT stats, however his QB Rating was still higher.


    During non-GT play Gabbert averaged 6.9 yards per attempt compared to 6.4 yards per attempt for Kaepernick.

    During non-GT play Gabbert averaged a TD every 3.9% of his attempts compared to 2.5% for Kaepernick.

    During non-GT play Kaepernick averaged an interception every 2.5% of his attempts compared to 2.9% for Gabbert.

  17. When the read option is fully implemented, this qb race will be over. Our d will be a major force again, so might not matter who the qb is.

  18. Way back in this post comment was “Driskel throws with surprising accuracy and is faster and more elusive” than Kaep! Wait a minute that’s kind of a big deal..so besides experience (which is huge) where does Kaep beat Driskel?

    1. Oooooh , a QB controversy! The rook third stringer who was benched from his first college team will supplant the SB QB!

      Stop the presses!

          1. As do I, my fellow Niner fan. As such, I want all 49er players to do well. Aren’t you even a little intrigued by his athleticism and the positive remarks so far? Also, rooting for him does not mean I expect him to start or take the team to the playoffs this year. But maybe next year? Maybe the year after? Who knows. We should all be rooting for him while he’s being developed.

            1. All my intrigue is consumed by what Kaepernick can do in this offense with Dr. Jekyll’s alter ego, and Staley/Beadles/Kilgore/Garnett/Davis….

              1. No argument here. I’ll be even more intrigued when I get to watch them against live opposition. I’d be thrilled to see Kaep become deadly again.

  19. Cant wait. Eddie gets inducted into Canton today. An honor richly deserved and way past due.

    Eddie changed the game.

      1. Baalke is still in charge, admitted this when he stated he was behind the Tom Gamble promotion–unless Jed asked him to state this.

        Baalke will fight like a wildcat to save his job, so I wouldn’t put it past Baalke, even when Gabbert demonstrates in preseason he’s superior to Kap, to anoint Kap as the starter to avoid explaining to his boss why a 12 million dollar man is riding the bench…

        Everyone says it’s a fair competition, but the bottom line is what matters to the York’s, as evidenced when they tried to cheat the Girl Scouts of America during Superbowl week…IF Kap sits, Jed Fires Baalke on the spot for losing the York’s 12 mil.

        1. Also,

          It’s clear that Driskel currently is more fundamentally sound than Kap. Can you Imagine Baalke explaining to York that Driskel passed him on the depth chart.

          There are those who ridiculed me for suggesting the 49ers trade Kap for Tebow + draft picks when kap was hot. I’d recognized both had similar skill sets. Now, Baalke has to justify why a man (Kap), whose been with the 49ers for years stops at his first read in a progression and lacks this fundamental to this day.

  20. What has to be truly scary for Kap fans, is that Gabbert’s passing stats don’t matter. Having been in the industry I recognize Gab’s just practicing going through his progressions with new receivers to be ready for the reg. season.

    Conversely, Kap is making this a completion by forcing the ball to his first option and telegraphing by staring down receivers (his long wind up) and panicing when his 1st option is covered, then firing his rocket ball to the 2nd read and breaking his fingers.

  21. 49ers denied Chip Kelly on adding Bill Davis to staff, ex-Eagles coordinator says
    updated: August 1, 2016 — 1:00 PM EDT

    Baalke and owner Jed York nixed the idea.

    Ron Jaworski: Being Chip Kelly’s defensive coordinator is ‘worst job in NFL’

    With Kelly running a fast paced offense, the Eagles’ defense was on the field for 1,216 snaps, the most in the NFL.

    The Eagles’ offense held the ball for an average of just 25 minutes and 51 seconds last season, meaning their defense also spent more time on the field than any other defense.


  22. Camp reporter tweets
    – Shells and shorts today. (Was this planned or a response to recent injuries?)
    – Tartt back at practice
    – Torrey Smith at practice
    – Shortest training day so far 1h11m
    – Better day for QBs. DBs played more hands off, which might be the reason.

      1. MWNiner – Thanks. I just re-packaged what other 49er beat reporters tweeted. I’m looking forward to Grant’s original content.

    1. I find Chip Kelly’s approach of no live hitting very interesting. Now, I’ve heard Eagles players complaining about the running, etc., but not the lack of live hitting. Welp, looks as though the new sheriff in Philly demands live hitting in his training camp. Peters and company should be getting some good contact highs. Oh, what’s that? They’ve left camp with injuries? Tsk, tsk….

      1. I take everything out of Philly re: Chip as sour grapes or as reflecting his adjusting to coaching pro ball. Let’s see how he does here

  23. To Seb, Rocket, Razor and Kap Nation
    From: Tim Kawakami

    I (Kawakami) went in (1st practice) assuming Gabbert would be the starter, opening day.

    I asked Kelly how he evaluates QB’s and from everything told, barring injury, I still believe Gabbert will be the openingday starter…Tim Kawakami.

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