Only three days until the 49ers take on the Broncos at Candlestick Park, which will mark the first preseason game for a lot of guys on the roster. One of those first-timers will be Eric Reid, the 49ers’ first round pick. For the second straight day Reid served as the No. 1 free safety alongside Donte Whitner, as the 49ers seem to be interested in making sure both players get used to working together.
Safeties have a lot of responsibilities — pass coverage, run support, directing traffic and what have you. But most safeties, the good ones anyway, like to hit. And after days of covering receivers and racing toward the line of scrimmage during rushing plays that don’t result in a satisfying collision for the defense, Reid seems like a guy who can’t wait for the games to start.
Reid was the only guy to tackle anyone today, and he did it twice. At the start of practice he dropped Lavelle Hawkins in a 7-on-7 red zone drill after Hawkins caught a pass from Colin Kaepernick. Then about an hour later, Reid brought down running back D.J. Harper at the line during a basic off-tackle handoff. It’ll be interesting to see how Reid handles his first opportunity to make contact with an opponent on Thursday.
Practice notes and numbers
— Kaepernick threw an interception and had a few passes tipped yesterday. Today was a different story. He completed 20-of-23 passes, mostly either short or intermediate range. With Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis ceding most of the reps to other receivers, there weren’t many opportunities for Kaepernick to air it out.
— Kaepernick ended up with another interception, but it came on a play where Chad Hall tipped a catchable ball to NaVorro Bowman.
— Hall also made a pretty outstanding catch on a Kaepernick pass about 15 yards down the right sideline, snatching the ball away from Marcus Cooper and Darryl Morris.
— All of these totals are unofficial (meaning they’re based on my notes), but Colt McCoy completed 16-of-22 passes with no interceptions, Scott Tolzien went 11-for-22 with an INT, and B.J. Daniels completed 6-of-10. Daniels also threw two other passes I didn’t count because they went to Quinton Patton, who’s wearing a cast on his hand to protect a “jammed” finger and isn’t allowed to catch passes thrown his way.
— The leading receiver by far was A.J. Jenkins, who had eight receptions on 12 targets. There were no long touchdown bombs like the one we saw yesterday; his best catch probably came on a 25-yard laser from Kaepernick during 11-on-11s.
— Both backup tight ends, Vance McDonald and Garrett Celek, caught four balls and were targeted five times each.
— Ricardo Lockette made a nice 20-yard grab of a pretty ball Daniels threw to the left sideline.
— LaMichael James and Harper caught three passes each, and Frank Gore had a couple receptions. Harper got the most carries today, and should probably see a lot of work on Thursday evening in the second half. James appears to be focusing on protecting the ball with both arms once he hits the second level. Anyone who watched the Super Bowl can probably figure out why.
— At one point Aldon Smith raised his arms before getting into his stance, as if trying to get the crowd to make more noise. The only problem was there were fewer than 100 fans in attendance over in the far corner about 80 yards away, and I’m not sure many of them were even paying attention.
— Aldon has been extremely difficult for any of the linemen to handle in the practices I’ve seen. I know this isn’t exactly going out on a limb … but he looks like he’s primed for another huge season. The same can be said for Bowman. Again, not exactly a risky prediction.
— Demarcus Dobbs played quite a bit with the first team, and came up with a sack/pressure and a pass deflection. Ahmad Brooks also tipped a pass at the line.
— Travis Johnson of San Jose State had a nice three-play sequence. First, he stopped James at the line of scrimmage right after receiving the handoff. Then Johnson stripped Vance McDonald after the tight end made a short catch over the middle. On the next play, Johnson was the first man to get to James again on an off-tackle run to the right side.
— Undrafted rookie Mike Purcell collapsed the pocket on one play, keeping Kaepernick bottled up until the whistle blew.
— Tolzien was sacked on a play where Dobbs and Lawrence Okoye got into the backfield. Okoye did a nice job on the play against Joe Staley, who was back in action after sitting out yesterday’s practice. Parys Haralson also came up with a sack.
— Adam Snyder played a lot at center today. Jonathan Goodwin was seen for the first time in a while, albeit wearing a blue non-contact jersey. And if you want to see Anthony Davis utter a naughty word during his pre-practice press conference, click here.
— Austin Collie made three catches and was targeted four times. The pass he didn’t catch was a long one from Tolzien that was broken up nicely by Carlos Rogers.
— Most of the regulars got to leave practice while the backups kept running plays, but not everyone took that as an opportunity to hit the showers immediately.
1. Marlon Moore worked on getting out of his break against Nnamdi Asomugha (who didn’t play all that much today)
2. Vernon Davis and Kassim Osgood spent some time in front of the jugs gun, and I mean RIGHT in front of the gun, like three or four yards away. While Osgood caught balls at close range, Vernon smacked his shoulder and back while yelling in an attempt to distract him.
3. Tarell Brown led Tramaine Brock (who got a lot more reps than Asomugha today) and Perrish Cox in some field-length sprints. Afterward Brown fist-bumped both teammates, who looked kind of tired. If Brown is upset about the contract technicality that led to him losing $2 million, he sure isn’t showing it.
— Since he was pretty outstanding today, here’s a photo of Kaepernick warming up before practice.