Borland beats Hyde again

SANTA CLARA — Here is what stood out to me at the 49ers’ non-padded practice Thursday afternoon.


1. Patrick Willis. Forced a fumble. Will Tukuafu caught a pass over the middle, turned and took two steps upfield when Willis punched the ball out of his hands.

2. Michael Wilhoite. Punched a ball out of Quinton Patton’s hands during a red zone drill. Patton hadn’t taken a step with the ball yet, so it was an incomplete pass, not a fumble.

3. Chris Borland. Slapped a pass out of Vance McDonald’s hands. Borland also “sacked” Colin Kaepernick during an 11-on-11 drill. Borland blitzed up the middle, spun past Carlos Hyde and tagged Kaepernick. Borland, 2. Hyde,  0.

4. Anquan Boldin. Made seven catches. He beat Daryl Morris twice, once deep down the left sideline. Boldin also beat Jimmie Ward twice from the slot.

5. Vance McDonald. Made nine catches. Vernon Davis seemed to get the day off — he didn’t participate in team drills — so Vance McDonald got more targets than usual and, as a result, had his best practice of training camp. But he still dropped four passes.

6. Stevie Johnson. Made one catch — a beautiful 25-yard catch near the right sideline. He tapped both feet in bounds while he fell to the ground. He also dropped a pass.

7. Quinton Patton.  Made seven catches. One was a touchdown catch during a red zone drill. He lined up across from Perrish Cox, who intercepted Kaepernick twice yesterday. Patton used a double move and Cox bit on the first one. Patton broke deep and he was wide open. Kaepernick hit him for an easy touchdown.

8. Bruce Ellington. Made a beautiful catch during a third-down drill. It was third and four. Josh Johnson took the snap, rolled out of the pocket to his right and threw to Ellington, who was running the same direction. Johnson led Ellington a bit too far, but Ellington reached out, caught the ball with his fingertips and picked up the first down.

9. Dontae Johnson. Gave up no catches. Was tested once and he broke up the pass.


1. Aldon Smith. Jumped offside once.

2. Carlos Hyde. Whiffed in blitz pickup during 11 on 11s. Chris Borland blitzed up the middle and Hyde hardly touched him. Hyde also dropped a check-down pass from Kaepernick. In Hyde’s defense, the pass was bullet and it was over his head.

This article has 77 Comments

    1. Pass protection techniques and blitz or dog pick-up are the biggest adjustments for a college RB entering the pros. These guys, for the most part, never have had to worry about such elements of their game.

    2. There’s news afoot, Grant. But no mention of it on this blog. York and
      Harbaugh have agreed to put off contract negotiations until after
      the season. Don’t find any mention here, so off to Google I go.

  1. This may be the first year that I actually nail a quality draft pick. Keep it up Dontae!

      1. Good call Mid and Scooter! There were not a lot of enthusiasm around here when the Dontae’s picked came around.

  2. Grant,
    Thanks for the report.

    Does VD look out of shape? I find it unusual that he’s been a limited target.
    I don’t want to read into anything that may not be a story, but this is strange (as you said yesterday).

    1. I don’t think it’s strange AES. My guess is that he’s earned the right in choosing whether to practice or not given his elderly veteran status and seamless chemistry with Kaep.

      1. Mid,
        That makes sense. The coaching staff is very careful with how much workload the vets get, I understand that.

        My take is that when VD is in the lineup the majority of the passes seem to go away from him. That was my reason in asking Grant if he has noticed if VD was not in shape hence the limited catches.
        Don’t know, just wondering?

  3. Grant, from what you have seen so far, does Patton appear to be getting many reps with the first team or is he strictly 2nd team?

  4. Borland also stuffed Hyde on a couple short-yardage runs in college. Boy’s in Carlos’ head.

  5. it’s still early, AES … lets not hit the panic button
    just yet …

    Vernon will still be someone opposing defenses have
    to game for.. (I think) even more so.. due to the
    number of other weapons now at Kaeps

    1. MWN,
      Nah, I’m not the panicking type (except when purchasing gas, lol). Just was hoping that someone who has been at TC could give me their perspective.
      Grant’ only said he thought it “strange” (VD’ limited action).

      I personally thought it was interesting that VD had a day off today given his minimal action.

  6. That inconsistent blitz pickup is one of the things that worries me about Hyde. I’d rather not see Kaep taking a hit that leaves him imbedded to the ground because of a Hyde whiff.

    1. I don’t like that the NFL says that officials are going to emphasize certain rules. All rules should be enforced as they are written and should not have to undergo a phase of emphasis. A rule is a rule, why should it have to be emphasized more than another rule? If it is a penalty, call it.

      1. But that’s not reality is it?

        The common wisdom, from Pete Carol, is that the refs won’t call holding more than a certain amount so hold on every play. His point is that, given human nature, the defender will come out ahead in the long run.

        Another bit of wisdom is that in big playoff games, the refs will “Let them play”. Again, that means the defense can come out ahead by ruffing up the receivers like they were allowed to do in the “good old days”.

        You might call this a Pete Carol emphasis that the NFL is looking for, since the rule already is what the NFL wants.

  7. Bleacher Reports is reporting that Harbaugh and Jed York have agreed to table any contract talks until next year.

    Way to set the example coach. Maybe Harbaugh’ lead will influence Boone.
    Nah, doubt it.

    1. Smart move by Harbaugh. There’s no need for it to keep coming up during a Super Bowl run.

  8. I’ve seen others make similar comments but seriously, if going off sides is the only thing you can list I think you can skip mentioning it.

    1. It may seem insignificant, but the defensive line jumping offside was a key component of the Seahawks going to the Super Bowl.

      1. True, but players are taught to keep playing until the whistle in blown. The entire defense relaxed on the play because they thought the ref’s were going to throw a flag for being off-sides.
        No whistle, no flags, boom, TD pass from Russell to Kearse, arrrrgh!

          1. Bay,
            If a flag was thrown, why did the defense relax since there is a continuation of the play if the defense is off-sides?

            My issue with that particular play was our defense did play until the whistle. Their laxed body language caused a TD.
            We should have been better then that. But it is what it is.

            1. Half the defensive linemen were unable to rush because they were jumping back at the snap.

              1. I have avoided replays of that game, but caught those two plays (3rd and 22 plus the 4th down) when NFLN showed the game recently. One thing I think Fangio and other D Coordinators around the league have to really think about is that Offenses are starting to go for it more often on 4th down in their opponents territory. Just stopping the offense a few yards short of the first down isn’t going to get them to punt as much as it used to. Defenses are going to have to think about how they can address this change in strategy.

                I agree completely with your concern regarding jumping offsides, and also agree that the place to address these issues is camp. However, I am very confident that Mr. Tomsula is doing his very best regarding this issue.

                We’ve also read that Donatell has been working with the CBs on turning and finding the ball in the air. The play (on he ball) that Rodgers did not make was no where near as difficult as the play on the ball that Sherman did make.

            2. If a flag was thrown, why did the defense relax since there is a continuation of the play if the defense is off-sides?

              Wasn’t the flag thrown before the ball was snapped and the officials just chose not to blow the play dead like they they should have?

              1. No offensive player was touched and no one was un-abated to the QB so no whistle. The refs handled the play correctly.

      2. Not sure I agree with the connection. It’s like reporting that Curry traveled during practice.

        1. Was a Curry traveling call a key part of the Warriors losing the Clippers series?

          1. Jack, sometimes you’re better than that.

            To maintain that every instance of off sides in training camp indicates what a player will do in a pressure situation is weak. The very traits that make an outstanding pass rusher will also contribute to a higher likely hood that said pass rusher will jump off sides.

            In almost every game, there are long lists of small mistakes that in hind sight might have turned the game around. That’s especially true in one and out situations.

            “Watch the damned ball!” seems simple if you’re not playing Seattle in the NFC Championship game.

            The tendency to count small mistakes this early in training camp reminds me of Jed York’s dad keeping track of bottled water.


            1. While playing and coaching in often found those “little mistakes” made in practice often had a way of coming out during games.

              Your point about the traits that lead to a good pass rusher sometimes leading to a higher likelihood of jumping offsides is on the money as well.

              Last season the 49ers and Seahawks tied for the 4th most defensive offsides penalties in the league.

              1. I agree. I just don’t see the point for listing such things as off sides as the “not so good” items for a day of training camp.

      3. I thought the same think. In NFL replay Russell Wilson said ” I can draw Aldon off sides”

    1. Leo,

      According to Maiocco, Kaepernick was 14 of 17 during 11-on-11 drills. By all accounts he looked pretty good.

      1. Thanks Jack. I saw that actually. I was just hoping for a bit more detail from Grant. Maiocco always seems to disappoint when It comes to practice details.

        1. Kaepernick had some wild misses, but for the most part he was extremely accurate. His best pass was the 25-yarder to Johnson. It was against two-deep zone coverage and Kaepernick threw it before Johnson made his break. Kaepernick anticipated the opening, which is critical against zone coverage.

          1. From various reports it sounded like he ripped a nice one to McDonald over the middle. Was that on a seam route?

          2. Thanks Grant. I know if your giving Kaepernick any praise its well deserved. Sounds like he’s having a very good camp overall and clicking with his new weapons.

            Jack – From what I’ve heard it was a seam route.

          3. Hey Grant – Here’s a follow-up question. From your observation does Kaepernick seem to be reading the whole field a bit more than last year?

  9. Kap ran a nice two minute drill where he didn’t miss once but of course Grant doesn’t mention that. Aldon Smith may have jumped offside twice but by most accounts he looks like the most improved player. I don’t know how that’s possible he was already a beast but to stay out of trouble he had spent almost everyday at the facility and it’s showing.

  10. The offsides thing is big, I understand that if you’re trying to get a jump, you’re on a hair trigger. But talk about causation, jumping offsides doesn’t mean necessarily mean you’re getting more pressure on the QB, it means you’re giving the offense free plays. As a coach, you would give up sacks for hurries and pressures, if your players stopped giving up free plays, yards, and downs. The BIG problem is the Aldon and Brooks consistently jump offsides and stop, thereby giving teams free shots down the field with no QB pressure.
    A good coach wants good practice habits, “practice like you play”. If jumping offsides at practice isn’t a big deal, then don’t worry about MacDonald dropping passes or Snyder holding all session, they will clean it up come game time, right?
    As an aside, Harbaugh overworked his vets a bit in the past, which led to Willis’s groin pull and a lot of muscle problems. I think that’s why players returning from injury and vets aren’t that active in training camp

    1. I understand it happened at the worst possible time last year but it’s not like it was an issue up to that point so what are you saying??? Are you saying your worried it’s going to become a habit? All teams use refs during practice to simulate game situations and all teams have penalties in camp. If they are jumping offsides week 1 then you can worry about it. Of course every team does get called offsides at some point during the season. So again what’s your point?

      1. I’m not worried it will be a problem, it’s a consistent problem already. It’s like the delay of game penalties on offense. I think it shows a lack of discipline.

    2. And I’m sorry how do you know Harbaugh has overworked his vets during camp? Is it the fact they have had courtesy days off during the week for vets?? Stop talking out of your you know what.


        Read the last section. And, before you start flexing your internet muscles, make sure you are either correct, or that you’re not making a comment out your “you-know-what” to someone with a better memory about a specific item. I remember this because Singletary got players hurt and there were some reports that players felt Harbaugh was too intense during practice.

        1. A reporter who goes around to all the training camps and watches a few days of practices at each had this to say about the 49ers practices. “Much more laid back than other teams, not very physical and very little hitting”. He was comparing us to Seattle. Your the kind of moron that reads one article and thinks your an expert. Lol smh!

  11. OK, Barrows had a funny comment today. In a little piece about how the Refs will be cracking down on language during games, a Ref was saying the NFL wants to create an appropriate work environment. Matt quips: “…..obviously he’s never worked alongside NFL beat writers. The 49ers media workroom is like the cantina scene fro Star Wars.”

    1. haha that is good. Now I’m picturing Grant, Barrows, and MM in that scene. My 3 yr old loves that movie.

        1. I can’t picture Grant in a Han Solo outfit. An Indiana Jones outfit maybe, but definitely not Han Solo.

        1. True dat.
          I changed my mind on Chewbacca. Now I’m going with Tom Steinstra. He was a hunting-fishing-hiking columnist for the SF Chronicle/Examiner. Big ol’ bearded guy.

          1. haha… I can see Grant as a young spry, yet naïve Skywalker….especially with that hair.

    1. May be wrong, but I see little chance of Lloyd making the team unless Ellington is the punt returner. I think it’s clear LMJ is of little use in the backfield and that punt returner is Ellington’s job to take.

      1. That’s where I see Ellington for this season George. I can’t see the team cutting loose a savvy route runner who has quickly developed a solid chemistry with Kaep.

  12. Here’s an off-the-wall opinion (What? From me?):
    I think it’s a healthy sign for our society when The Commissioner of the NFL has to answer to criticism from Jon Stewart. Limits of power. ; >)

  13. I won’t be surprised if Alex Boone reported to camp this weekend. I heard on a Niners Webzone podcast that he will become a restricted free agent (as opposed to a unrestricted one) after 2015 if he does not report to camp by August 5. Does anyone know if it’s true?

  14. Sounds like both Crabtree and Lloyd might be out for a week or two as they work through something.

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