The San Francisco 49ers held a morning practice this morning at approximately 10:00 am and while all eyes continued to be on the rookies, it was some veterans that garnered the majority of the headlines.
Niners DC Vic Fangio took time out of his busy schedule to discuss the defensive side of the ball after the conclusion of practice. And while he was asked a number of questions in regards to first-round pick (No. 30) DB Jimmie Ward’s development he also spoke highly of some of his other young defensive backs namely fourth-round pick CB Dontae Johnson. Fangio had this to say about Johnson, “He’s got good size, he’s got good enough speed, you keep waiting for him to feel the urgency and turn it up. And I don’t think he’s quite there yet.”
As for the practice itself, it was filled with plenty of highlights starting with former Minnesota Vikings CB Chris Cook. The fifth-year veteran out of Virginia made a nice play on the ball as he recorded an interception off QB Josh Johnson. It was a simply fly-route where the intended receiver was WR Brandon Lloyd and Cook high-pointed the ball to come down with the easy pick. Fangio said, “That was a nice play by him today. The receiver did not go up and compete with him. I don’t think the receiver knew the ball was thrown to him. So it ended up being a little bit easier play than normal. But the fact remains that he did go up and get it, caught it and that’s a good thing.”
Another player that continues to shine is rookie third-round pick (No. 77) ILB Chris Borland. The tackling machine recorded yet another interception in practice as he benefited from a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage. Fangio however seems to be a little frustrated with Borland as he sometimes relies too much on his instincts to make a play leaving his teammates out to dry. Fangio spoke about that earlier this morning as he said, “He’s kind of being over, not sure what he’s seeing all the time. He’s got really good instincts and sometimes he thinks his instincts is taking him to a play and aborting his own assignment that he’s gotten burned on that a few times.”
QB Colin Kaepernick was the story of the day as his accuracy continues to show. Can this be directly correlated to the upgrade at the wide receiver position? Possibly, but Kap is showing his maturation as a quarterback as he continues to get better every day. A play that involved teammate WR Michael Crabtree, Kaepernick connected with Crab on a 50-plus yard touchdown as Ward blitzed from the nickel position. The two were in-sync all day as Kap connected with Crab early on in red-zone drills as CB Perrish Cox fell victim to a nice over-the head catch by Crab in the back of the endzone.
T Anthony Davis continues to be held out of practice (shoulder)
C Marcus Martin (ankle)
CB Chris Culliver (ankle/leg injuries)
CB Tramaine Brock (ankle/leg injuries)
DE Ray McDonald (ankle/leg injuries)