Minicamp notes: Alex Smith shines in Wednesday’s afternoon practice

SANTA CLARA – Here are some unofficial stats from today’s minicamp.

Alex Smith completed 27 of 32 passes. In red zone drills he completed two touchdowns. For about an hour he didn’t miss a single pass.

Most of his throws were short and intermediate ones to open receivers. Smith is clearly the most confident Niners QB when it comes to making decisions in the pocket. He was throwing the ball quickly all day. He even hit Randy Moss in the face one time because Moss didn’t get his head around quick enough.

Both TDs Smith threw came in red zone drills. The first one he threw a dart to Crabtree between two defenders. The second he threw a high touch pass to Moss in the back of the end zone, which Moss caught easily.

Colin Kaepernick completed 12 of 20 passes, and he threw one interception. He struggled throwing accurately from the pocket, missing high and behind receivers, but he made some accurate throws on the run. Three times he hit receivers with lasers on the sideline as he rolled to his right and threw off one foot.

Kaepernick tried to roll out later on in practice, but Larry Grant saw it coming. As Kaepernick called the signals from under center, Grant shouted, “Sprint out! Sprint out!” Sure enough, Kaepernick got the ball and sprinted to his right. The defense swarmed to that side of the field, Kaepernick threw high over Brett Swain’s head, and if the pass had been on target Perrish Cox probably would have picked it off. “Told you guys!” Grant yelled after the play.

Josh Johnson completed just 11 of 23 passes. He struggled early in practice, missing some short throws high and some intermediate ones low. He threw one interception as well. But he also threw two of the best passes all day – one was a 25-yard strike to Randy Moss, the other was a beautiful deep pass to Joe Hastings down the sideline.

Scott Tolzien completed 11 of 20 passes and had two throws picked off and a couple more batted down at the line of scrimmage.


  • Michael Crabtree got big-time separation all day. In one-on-one drills, he turned Tramaine Brock around on a very good cut. He also caught a TD from Alex Smith.
  • Tarell Brown stuck with Kyle Williams on a good double move and picked off the pass from Tolzien. He had tight coverage the rest of practice, not allowing any long gains. On one play he ran stride for stride with A.J. Jenkins on a deep pass. His coverage was so tight, Jenkins couldn’t even get his hands up to make the catch. Chris Culliver didn’t give up any long gains, either, and the quarterbacks didn’t throw his way often. Both Brown and Culliver were lights-out today.
  • Tramaine Brock got off to a slow start, getting beaten badly by Crabtree and Hastings in one-on-ones. But he quickly redeemed himself, picking off Tolzien in that same one-on-one drill and picking off Colin Kaepernick later.
  • The coaches have made it clear that they do not want the team to jump offside in minicamp. The starting offensive line managed to go the entire afternoon practice without false starting once.


  • A.J. Jenkins didn’t catch a single pass as far as I could tell. He dove and missed a Tolzien pass over the middle, he let a Johnson TD pass glance off his finger tips in the back of the end zone, and he didn’t contest a Johnson interception when the cornerback jumped the route. He caught one along the sideline, but he couldn’t keep both his feet inbounds.

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