Jim Harbaugh ended this afternoon’s practice about 45 minutes early, followed by the San Francisco 49ers huddling in the middle of one of the fields at their Santa Clara facility for a while. Harbaugh didn’t specify what they talked about (maybe he was handing out perfect attendance awards), but mentioned that Patrick Willis spoke to the team and “did a great job.”
The offense started out a little shaky today, but finished with a flurry of passes completed by Colin Kaepernick. A few of the most noteworthy grabs this afternoon were made by Vance McDonald, whom I had just finished a post on before heading out to watch the last practice of June minicamp. Over the last three days there was no question who the best tight end on the team (non-Vernon Davis category) happens to be, and Harbaugh gave him a shout-out at the beginning of his media session.
“Saw Vance McDonald on his birthday making some spectacular grabs. We’ll have to have more Vance McDonald birthdays. But yeah, he was outstanding,” Harbaugh said.
McDonald made a catch early in practice on a Kaepernick bullet that was slightly behind him as he streaked across the middle about 20 yards downfield, and the rookie plucked it out of the air with ease. But McDonald’s best catch came after Kaepernick completed four passes in a row in his last series of the day and was replaced by Colt McCoy, who threw a long pass (25-30 yards) that was hauled in near the left sideline with ease by the big tight end.
Harbaugh spoke about Kaepernick, McDonald and the rest of the offensive stars of today here in this 33-second clip:
— Meanwhile, Eric Reid watched team drills from the sideline. Harbaugh said it was due to a “minor thing he’s working through.” Craig Dahl and Donte Whitner were the first team safeties today, with C.J. Spillman and Trenton Robinson getting most of the rest of the reps. Michael Thomas also saw action and almost intercepted a pass by McCoy.
— Scott Tolzien threw three interceptions on Tuesday, none yesterday, and then two on consecutive plays today. One Tolzien pass was tipped and secured at the line of scrimmage by Navorro Bowman, and the other was picked off by Nnamdi Asomugha, who looked solid all week in coverage.
— A.J. Jenkins made an outstanding diving grab going across the middle on a pass from Kaepernick. I asked Harbaugh whether he thought Jenkins had built on his outstanding performance last week, and he proceeded to compliment almost every receiver on the roster.
“I thought [Jenkins] did another really good job. There’s quite a jump with Quinton Patton where he came in very strong. He elevated himself. Marlon Moore as we’ve said, had a great, great camp. Kassim Osgood really has been a real pleasant surprise at the receiver position. And Chad Hall has done a remarkable job. Ricardo Lockette, another perfect attendance guy, along with A.J. and Chad. Doing a really fine job. So, it’s fierce competition in there. They understand what’s at stake, and what the team needs from them. And they are rising to the occasion, and that’s something that bodes very well for our team.”
Harbaugh didn’t mention Anquan Boldin, who sat out team drills today but took part in warmups earlier in the afternoon. Here’s proof:
If we’re going off the order in which Harbaugh gives compliments, and once again I think we can because I would agree with how he ranked the receivers, Patton has asserted himself as a guy who’ll get some playing time this season. I liked the way Moore played, as well. I thought Chuck Jacobs deserved a mention, but maybe Harbaugh simply forgot. The 49ers are carrying 90 players, after all.
— While the young receivers showed flashes this week, the question still remains: can the 49ers move the ball with this group of wideouts? At around noon they worked out Austin Collie, who tore his patella over seven months ago and has a history of concussions.
— Lots of carries for Jewel Hampton today. It’s impossible to know what exactly he’d do with those in live situations, but he’ll get a shot to make the roster … possibly at the expense of Anthony Dixon.
— This offseason has been different without Randy Moss and Brandon Jacobs around. Both guys are tall and have huge personalities. Glenn Dorsey is a very large individual, however. No word on his personality, yet.
— During position group warmups, the quarterbacks were asked to roll out to both sides and touch passes to the corner of the end zone from about five yards out. Every time Colt McCoy would get ready to throw, Kaepernick (walking back after his throw) would jump up in a mock attempt to block McCoy’s pass.
— I’ll probably have more to add about the 49ers’ offseason workouts in the coming days, but I have to get out of this media trailer (at least I’m not the last one in here for the third straight day) and make the drive back up to San Francisco. If you have any questions on players I didn’t mention, let me know in the comments. One caveat — it’s pretty hard to judge defensive players since there was very little contact. The easiest players to analyze were quarterbacks and receivers, and for the most part they looked pretty good this week.
Ended early. Did you like the pace or what?
“Yeah, really liked the practice today, and the entire offseason. It was great effort by our team. And like our team. Like where we’re at right now. And it was a good camp.”
How did you like QB Colin Kaepernick and the first team offense? At the end really ended with a flourish.
“It sure did. They were really sharp there. Colin, he’s been on it all offseason. And that period especially was outstanding. Saw [TE] Vance McDonald on his birthday making some spectacular grabs. We’ll have to have more Vance McDonald birthdays. But, yeah he was outstanding. [WR] Marlon Moore had a terrific day. And there were others. But, yeah it was highlighted by some really good throws and catches there at the end.”
Can you talk about WR Austin Collie’s workout earlier?
“Yeah, it was good.”
Anything more you can add?
“Good, it was good. He was good. He had a patella tear seven and a half months ago, and he’s very far along. So, it was pretty impressive.”
Does his concussion history scare you at all, three concussions?
“That’s for the doctors to look at and analyze.”
Do you have an update on WR Brandon Carswell, what happened to his knee yesterday?
“Yeah, unfortunately he tore his ACL. Yeah, that was a real kick in the gut.”
How’s Colin different through this mini-camp than last year?
“I don’t know that I would compare the two. He’s doing a fantastic job in all regards.”
What about S Craig Dahl’s assertion that you guys were tipping passes last year?
“That we were tipping passes last year?”
Well, you were telling—?
“Yeah, after the first game we played the Rams we saw that we were doing that.”
So, did you change them?
“Yes, yes, adjusted.”
So you don’t think that was an issue the second time against St. Louis?
“Not as much.”
Were you surprised when he came in then and immediately said it? I mean, you already knew it. But, he talked about it?
“Yeah, of course we asked him.”
“It confirmed what we knew.”
How often does that happen in the NFL?
“Probably a lot. Yeah, a lot.”
How many of your guys ended up getting perfect attendance?
“Thirty-one of the players, and then there was the staff. I didn’t count those. I counted the players. It’s a neat thing. You think back to when you were in school and the last day of school you get a perfect attendance certificate. And that’s what this is. It says something nice about you. You go put it up at home, put it in a little frame. Put it on the wall. It says something nice about you. Kids look at it and it’ll be extra motivation for them to attend all their classes. And it’s a high criteria. It’s a very cruel, very relentless criteria. It’s perfection. It’s every practice, every meeting, every weight workout with no excuse. You could have a great excuse. But, if you weren’t there perfect then you don’t get a sticker—certificate, and a T-shirt.”
No sticker though?
“No, it’s not a sticker. I misspoke. It’s a certificate and T-shirt.”
What was your last message with them on this last day before you see them again?
“There were a few. And [LB] Patrick Willis talked to the team too at the end there, and did a great job.”
Now, did the rookies stay around?
“Yeah, they have their seventh week coming up this week.”
Seven out of how many?
“Seven out of seven.”
So, afterward this place will turn into a ghost town?
“Ghost town? What is that? What is a ghost town?”
I mean, will a lot of guys stay around and work out here?
“I wouldn’t say a lot, or I don’t know how many will. I think some did last year.”
What are you allowed to do with the rookies next week, in the final week? What can the coaches do with them?
“The same thing that’s been going on. Yeah, rookie mini-camp.”
Why didn’t WR Anquan Boldin do team drills the last couple of days?
“Well, he did yesterday. Today he didn’t. I just felt like he had done enough and I wanted to see the younger receivers and get them more reps.”
And what about S Eric Reid today? Did he pull something?
“No, nothing like that. But, he’s got a little minor thing he’s working through.”
You said last week WR A.J. Jenkins had his best week of football as a 49er. Did he build off that this week, or is there a drop off?
“I thought so. I thought he did another really good job. There’s quite a jump with [WR] Quinton Patton where he came in very strong. He elevated himself. Marlon Moore as we’ve said, had a great, great camp. [WR] Kassim Osgood really has been a real pleasant surprise at the receiver position. And [WR] Chad Hall has done a remarkable job. [WR] Ricardo Lockette, another perfect attendance guy, along with A.J. and Chad. Doing a really fine job. So, it’s fierce competition in there. They understand what’s at stake, and what the team needs from them. And they are rising to the occasion, and that’s something that bodes very well for our team.”
How did you guys leave things with WR Austin Collie today, as far as your level of interest in him or what you told him about that?
“It’s still ongoing. There’s still a few more things we want to have checked out.”
Do you think you will have to bring in another receiver for your 90-man going into camp?
“Yeah, that’s a possibility”
Does he have to get a little healthier?
“We’ve plowed that ground pretty thoroughly. I don’t really have any more to say about it.”
You heading to Peru?
“I am, Saturday. Looking forward to it.”
You had a good time last time?
“Yes. I definitely draw the long straw when I go down there. Today was a really good day for us. Excited about looking at the film and then I’m going to get my mind on going down to Peru.”