Levi’s Stadium wasn’t exactly packed on a gorgeous Friday evening, but there were enough fans discouraged with Blaine Gabbert’s performance that you could hear it from the field.
Gabbert’s performance in the 49ers’ first preseason game was pretty bad, but Jim Harbaugh said he was still the No. 2 quarterback before practice. Then he uncorked a bunch of off-target throws — mostly high, some nowhere near a receiver — and boos were heard. Not many, but there were a few loud hecklers whose displeasure could be heard over the uncomfortable murmuring.
The practice as a whole wasn’t all that exciting. There were a lot of dropped and tipped passes, but no interceptions. Chris Borland and Perrish Cox had a couple pass deflections each. There were some touchdown throws, but nearly all of them came on passes to the back of the end zone with no one in coverage. Contact was at a minimum. The most exciting play was a 30-yard McLeod Bethel-Thompson pass down the right sideline to David Reed, who made a nice grab despite decent coverage by Cox. Why did that play stand out? Because I had to step to the side to avoid getting run over by both players.
Patrick Willis and Vance McDonald didn’t practice, but Michael Crabtree, Brandon Lloyd and LaMichael James were out there. So was Ian Williams, although he didn’t appear to get that many reps. The 49ers kept things pretty vanilla, and my guess is they wanted to avoid injury heading into Sunday’s game. After Wednesday, when the media will no longer watch and take notes every day, the 49ers will probably really get down to business.
Ice Bucket Challenge
That’s me on the far left, three people over from Jim Harbaugh. Rookie cornerback Kenneth Acker was the one who dumped the Gatorade bucket full of ice water on my head. (Photo via @49ers)
I think Harbaugh wanted all of us to flash the “Victory” signs, but I was just concentrating on keeping myself from emitting a high-pitched shriek. Actually, it wasn’t that bad. Felt kind of good after the shock wore off, which only took a second or two.
Also, I guess this means I get to challenge three people. Hmmm …
Afterward, my t-shirt, shorts and underwear were soaked. Harbaugh’s fleece, on the other hand, looked almost completely dry. “It’s like a ShamWow,” he said, with a huge grin. Harbaugh was pretty happy about the challenge, except for one thing: Tim Kawkami and Lowell Cohn weren’t there to take it with him.
“Where’s your dad?” Harbaugh asked Grant Cohn.
“At the Raiders game,” Grant said.
Harbaugh said both TK and Cohn the Elder need to take the challenge next week … uh, good luck with that.
— With all this talk about Aaron Lynch gaining weight from eating steak, I had to check him out today. He really is large. He came into minicamp looking tall and not quite lean, but he’s filled out quite a bit over the last few months.
“He’s a very strong guy. He’s continuing to work on that, get really fit. Get in great shape. It’s coming, it’s coming along, he’s eating better. He’s doing the things that create really good habits and lead to being a young captain in the Marine Corps. He’s coming along,” said Harbaugh, who wouldn’t come out and say the 49ers asked Lynch to eat more and add some mass.
“Fat’s the enemy of speed. His body fat, we’re trying to bring it down.”
— Cox, Bruce Ellington and Quinton Patton all fielded punts. Patton had the only drop that I saw.
— We saw it in Baltimore, and it was easy to notice again today: Carlos Hyde — and he’s kind of similar to Colin Kaepernick in this way — looks really good running to his left.