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The second open practice of the 2006 San Francisco 49ers started early. It was a 9a.m. session and was not nearly as crowded early on. However, as the morning pushed on, the Niner fans showed up in force.
The following are some notes from this afternoons' practice.
Tackle Adam Snider and big ole' Larry Allen were among the first to hit the field. They are two absolutely massive players. Snyder because of his 6'6'' height and massive frame and Allen because of his size.
The four quarterbacks (Alex Smith, Trent Dilfer, Jesse Palmer and Shaun Hill) started with snapping drills.
Right before the actual practice started, the entire team was huddled together with rookie tight end Vernon Davis getting the squad fired up, a great thing to see in such a young player.
The entire offense was then gathered at the east side of the field while the defense was on the west side. The offense practiced snapping the ball in formation while the defense ran drills.
The offense then took the entire south field (the one closest to the fans) to practice the no huddle offense. With Smith at the helm, they drove down the field completing short quick passes and the running back into formation. Smith ran the no huddle well completing all of his passes and getting the offense back up to the line of scrimmage.
Early on, tight end Eric Johnson practiced with the first team which was led by Smith while Davis practiced with the second team, led by Dilfer.
Dilfer's unit was the only one practicing quarterback sneaks. The also practiced spiking the ball.
The kickers were off on the new practice field performing fake field goal plays. On one play, Nedney fell to the ground and rolled out of the way after faking the kick.
All the receivers practiced route running.
Wide receiver Arnaz Battle was on the field today. Any knee injury he may have had was not apparent. Safety Tony Parrish and defensive end Bryant Young both practiced as well. None of these players participated in drills during yesterday's open practice. Derrick Hamilton on the other hand, had his hamstring area all taped up and he just watched and stayed with the wide receivers group.
Davis looked impressive. He had some drops but made up for them with some nice solid catches and then beat corners after the catch.
Davis was able to keep his shorts on today.
Except for Hill, all the quarterbacks practiced passing high over defenders. They would roll out and pass to receivers, throwing over one of the coaches who would jump up and try to swat the ball down. All the quarterbacks completed their passes.
Hill looked erratic and would often overthrow receivers or just be off the mark. It is doubtful that he will beat out Palmer for the third quarterback spot.
Wide receiver Rasheed Marshall dropped an easy pass from Dilfer during passing drills. However, two plays later, he caught a big 30 yard floater that landed smoothly into his hands.
While he had a few drops, wide receiver Antonio Bryant looked very impressive and used his size to shake the smaller cornerbacks. If Battle stays healthy, that combo could be a pleasant surprise.
An interesting drill had wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan placing a hat down the field near the fans. The receivers would then run straight downfield and cut toward the hat. The quarterbacks would then pass toward the hat and the receivers would need to bring the ball in in front of it and cut around it.
The running backs practiced a fairly simple handoff drill. Fullbacks Chris Hetherington and Moran Norris are some big guys.
Cornerback Sammy Davis waved his hands up in the air to pump up the crowd after a great play to break up an Alex Smith pass.
Safety Keith Lewis got another interception. This time off a Dilfer pass that was intended for running back Frank Gore and tipped right into his arms.
Safety Mike Adams looked impressive getting to the ball with speed and disrupting receivers.
Cornerback B.J. Tucker had a decent outing and broke up a big play intended for receiver Marcus Maxwell.
Mike Singletary was really yelling at the defense when they made mistakes. He screamed at them for a while after they failed to break up a play. Norv Turner was doing the exact same thing, but with the offense when they made mistakes.
Rookie Brandon Williams caught a deep pass from Palmer. It was at least 40 yards.
Alex Smith and Antonio Bryant connected on a deep pass that got the crowd pumped. On another deep play, Bryant caught the ball but eventually lost control and dropped it. One of the very few disappointing moments from the team's new starting receiver.
Smith was interception free this afternoon. (CORRECTION: I received an email from ninerfan49 informing me that Alex Smith may have thrown an interception during the morning practice - unconfirmed - and that it may have occurred late during the day while I went over to watch the offensive line perform drills on the new field. I was not aware that the quarterbacks had come back on the field for more drills. Also, this line says "afternoon" when this was a report from the morning practice. I apologize for the confusion.)
Battle seemed to be getting great separation on the cornerbacks.
Cornerback Walt Harris did not look impressive at all today. He was constantly getting burned by the receivers. Mike Rumph also failed to impress after being unable to make a play for the ball. However, he did match up well against Bryant breaking up a few passes.
Palmer threw a nice pass to Otis Amey. B.J. Tucker failed to break up the play.
Linebacker Manny Lawson looked very impressive once again. He has so much speed and strength. He should have no problem transitioning to the NFL.
Head coach Mike Nolan got into a heated argument with Jonas Jennings. They went back and forth for a while before Jennings finally walked away.
An interesting matchup was defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga and guard Larry Allen. They were really going at in and while Allen had the edge most of the time, Sopoaga got low enough on some plays and pushed Allen back.
Guard Justin Smiley looked very impressive taking on the defensive line. The entire offensive line looked impressive. While tackle Jonas Jennings and Allen could not be misses, the entire unit looked impressive. Watching the offensive line practice with the defensive line was probably one of the more interesting drills today since things got really nasty at times.
Eric Heitmann looked really impressive beating up on any defensive lineman that went up against him.
Tackle Kwame Harris got beat on nearly every opportunity during this drill. he would constantly get beat by the defense.
Defensive tackle Anthony Adams had the speed and quickness off the line while Sopoaga had the strength. The 49ers rotated the two at the nose tackle spot last season.
As a side note, the whole autograph session after practice is very disorganized. The players stay out less than 20 minutes to sign when they stayed out much longer last year. There is very bad crowd control by team officials as a result of the poor planning. One little girl got injured being smashed up against the big metal fence. While team officials were quick to offer help, it should have never happened in the first place. While the team tried something different today by reorganizing the fences before the signings, it actually made things worse and created quite a mess.
Training Camp Day 2 Pictures