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One fan's observation

I posted quite a bit in the other official topic, but it was deleted right after I typed up this post...thankfully I was able to backtrack in my browser and copy and paste. I took a few notes but I can't find them right now (they're probably in my car).

This year's training camp was understandably different from the previous two years. There was a greater emphasis on conditioning under Singletary. Singletary's practices typically started with a few minutes of player-led stretching then sideline-to-sideline sprints, after which they broke into position drills. Special teams were off on their own little mini-field behind the bleachers.

Not so this year. The practice opened up with Brad Seely getting the special teams unit on the field. There was a variety of drills, including field goals from various ranges and locations (you could hear Brad Seely or an assistant special teams coach yell, "30 LEFT HASH!" or "35 RIGHT!!"), kick-offs and punts (returns as well), and a surprising amount of time on onside kick recovery and onside kick defense. Notably, Vernon Davis was on the field at a few points to scoop up onside kicks on the defensive side of the ball. Like I said in my previous updates, Ronald Johnson muffed his first kickoff return and Kendall Hunter looked like a promising returner. Ronald Johnson also didn't look too impressive as a gunner on punts - granted he was double teamed. He was thrown to the ground by two defenders though. That led to Kyle Williams' decent punt return.

Position based drills were pretty varied as well. Linemen were at one endzone, offensive players closer to the middle of the field, and defensive players across the way on the other side of the facility. The quarterbacks started with a drill that seemed to work on footwork and instincts with one QB hovering another's blindside. Wide receivers came in later and caught passes from coaches on short to medium distances and working out of side-to-side stutter steps or quick outs. Ted Ginn dropped a couple early on, but recovered. All our receivers aside from Morgan and Edwards are pretty small, so naturally they do pretty well on these agility and footwork based exercises. No one really stood out, but Morgan does move well for his size. Braylon Edwards isn't as quick on his feet, but that was to be expected. He's more of a long strider and was never known for his short to intermediate route running.

The quarterbacks and wide receivers then did a few pass route drills. Alex Smith hit more of the passes. Kap didn't look bad for a rookie, but this drill is just to ensure you can hit all the throws uncontested. Smith is a known camp warrior, so take it with a grain of salt. Overall, I like what I see from Kap physically, but he's not mentally ready just yet.

As for 11-on-11s and 7-on-7s, Masoli actually looked pretty good for a third team QB, but his passes still look like those of a college quarterback's. They stay in the air too long. As for Alex Smith versus Kap, Alex Smith looked unquestionably better. Some would criticize him for checking down to Gore, but most of these checkdowns went for 6-7 yard gains on first or second down. That is not a bad way to go when no one else is open (and no one was). You can't really fault Smith for that considering Ginn, Williams and Ronald Johnson were running with the first team for most of the day. Occasionally, they were even in while Morgan was out - not sure what the rationale for that was.

Brock was also a first team CB since Spencer was injured, but Carlos Rogers and the other safeties were on the field. Maragos was first team occasionally. I expect Smith to take more risks when his receivers actually get open. Smith scored a touchdown on his first offensive drive under 11 on 11, but he was sacked on the first play and didn't have his spot moved back. The o-line just broke down on that one. Also, I watched Aldon Smith drop in coverage once or twice. He does not backpedal very well. Hopefully he doesn't have to do it too much.

To be continued....
good read
Kap definitely throws a pretty ball, but he has a couple of tendencies that one would expect a rookie to have. First, he relies too much on his athleticism. He'll roll out and try to side step or throw a defender aside, then he realizes that this isn't college. Defenders are much faster, stronger, and play smarter than the competition he played against in Nevada. This is a habit he will have to unlearn or use selectively - it's actually surprisingly easy to fix. Once you get hit enough, you'll know not to hold run around in the backfield as much.

Secondly, he holds onto the ball too long. Alex Smith checks down quite a bit, but you do that because you don't want to take a sack. It's not sexy, but I'll take 4-8 yards over an incomplete or a sack. And notably, it's the *type* of checkdown that matters. Singletary had a lot more horizontal or line of scrimmage checkdowns, and often towards the sidelines (which are already tough throws to make). On the other hand, Harbaugh's checkdown option is usually at least 4 yards up the field underneath the linebacker in the MIDDLE of the field. They're faster, in the QB's line of sight, and get more yardage. I saw this checkdown route on multiple plays - I wouldn't be surprised if Harbaugh told Alex to look for this target and practice this checkdown since they're just working on the basics of the offense at this point.

Going back to Kap, he definitely throws a pretty spiral. I take that with a grain of salt. Every football player throws a pretty spiral. Hell, RayMac threw a couple good ones when they were messing around before special teams hit the field. But Kap's passes have a lot of velocity. His throwing motion looks very relaxed and a little slower than the other QBs. Then all of a sudden, the ball EXPLODES from his release. It's bizarre and interesting - almost like watching The Matrix. I won't go into specifics, but both QBs had great throws and bad throws. For what it's worth, Kap's 2 minute drill ended in a field goal, which isn't bad. Alex's first two minute drill got a beautiful touchdown, but the next few possessions were not as great. The defense really hunkered down and made the QBs their b***hes...

The defense looked impressive. I love the energy that Whitner brings. He plays way bigger than his size. Patrick Willis, as the beat writers pointed out, was himself. I wish I got to see more of Applewhite. I couldn't see too much in the trenches, so my O-Line and D-Line analysis is a little scant. Hard to get a good view from the sideline, even from the front row. They did get penetration a lot though. The only play that really stands out from the trenches was Soap being knocked down early on into the play. He still has some learning to do, but I think he did a pretty good job. I base this conclusion off of the fact that most of the runs up the middle never went anywhere.

To be continued...
You are awesome.
Keep em coming bro
wow thanks for this and all the updates in the other thread too! getting me hella excited
yeah great job new guy, i have to say the best thing u do is actually break down both sides without bias, and in regards to the good and the bad. Keep the posts comin brotha.

Damn i cant wait till our first pre-season game.
thanks...! just one question.

How do you know Kap is not mentally ready?? just curious
More about the defense. I've noticed that Parys Haralson is a rather polarizing figure on this board. Last season, he was criticized for not finishing tackles (a fair criticism at times) and not being starter material.

I kind of see him as the Josh Morgan of our defense. He's not going to make too many mistakes, but he's not too flashy on the field either. The nature of his position, though, means that the mistakes he makes have graver consequences. That being said, I can see why he started last year. First off, it's hard to just bench a guy who led the NFC West in sacks in 2008. He's a very hard worker who has arguably outperformed his draft position (Round 5 in 2006). Also, his age makes him a veteran by now, and a pretty smart one. I will say he's a camp warrior. He performs every drill very well. His fundamental technique is great, especially considering he was a converted DE to OLB. Should he start? Hard to say. I really see Aldon Smith starting on one side to rush the passer. You need a guy with good eyes on the other OLB side because he's going to be covering a little bit more, but that's in a traditional 3-4. I'm not sure what Fangio is going to do. Based off of today's play and Harbaugh's press conference, he seems to think of the SS and FS as interchangeable depending on your personnel. Maybe he'll have the same philosophy with his OLBs?

I wish Bowman was in there more with the first team. Larry Grant was often in there next to Willis, and I couldn't really see how well he did. But based off of Willis's play, he probably performed decently. Larry Grant is an interesting story - I hope to watch him more in the preseason. For those who don't know, he was a junior college standout from the City College of SF. He was drafted by the 49ers in 2008 and put on the practice squad and plucked by the Rams. He actually started for the Rams in 2010, but lost the spot later on. Now he's back in SF. Can't help but root for him. I do wish Bowman would get more snaps, but can't help health. One thing about the loss of Takeo Spikes is the resulting lack of ILB depth. You have McKillop and Bowman who are unquestionably going to be on the roster, and probably Kristick. If (knocks on wood) Patrick Willis goes down, I'm not sure who's going to fill his role? Bowman was bred to take on Spikes' position, and I think he can fill it quite well. Larry Grant, who hasn't made the team yet, would also backup that ILB position. But who backs up Willis? McKillop is a smart but undersized guy, and he might be the leading candidate...

Another polarizing figure: Moran Norris. I see Webzoners calling for him to be cut. I also see questions asking how FB is going to be utilized in this offense. I won't go into specifics, but he did catch a few passes out of the backfield. I don't know if this is because the plays were designed for him or if those reps were supposed to go to an early-injured Anthony Dixon. He did not take any handoffs from what I could see, although I left early. I couldn't see a lot of the redzone offense unfortunately - too far away. I saw a few fade/corner patterns that most of the QBs couldn't hit. In general, that's a tough route to throw, so it's understandable.

Brock looks like he'll be a very solid backup. As the beat writers pointed out, he jumped a route and intercepted a Smith pass. It was more than that though. It wasn't like he instantly recognized the route and got in front of it, he got there as the pass got to the receiver, collided with the receiver, then was able to make the interception. He's willing to be physical. It wasn't too badly thrown of a ball either. It wasn't in front of the receiver, which is where you ideally want to put it over the middle, but I wouldn't say it was behind the receiver either.

Edwards: again, a long strider. I don't know why he tried making so many one-handed catches. He dropped some, was overthrown on one particular one-handed attempt. Not sure if he's just trying to be fancy or what. But he's by far the biggest receiver in terms of height. He'll be a weapon. I don't think he looks as out of shape as the beat writers made him out to be, but I did notice he wasn't on the first team offense during many of the reps. He's still getting acclimated to the playbook, which plays a role as well.

I can't think of much else to write, plus it's late, but here are my final closing thoughts:

Who looks very promising: Kendall Hunter. A return threat and a running threat, he's fast and doesn't go down as easily as his height would indicate. I'm excited about this guy. I hope he gets at least 5-10 touches a game. On the defensive side of the ball, obviously Aldon Smith, but his coverage does need some refining. Otherwise, I like Donte Whitner. Plays fast, hits hard, he seems to get in on every play.

Finally, Jim Harbaugh and his entire coaching staff. It's a tight ship they run, and a very productive three hours. I love the emphasis on special teams, which was kind of a sore spot last year if you all recall.
Originally posted by fly15:
thanks...! just one question.

How do you know Kap is not mentally ready?? just curious

He's still playing at college speed at times. Alex Smith had the same issues as a rookie (and into his later years as well). Hesitance on choosing a receiver, staring receivers down, and relying on his ability to run when he can't outrun NFL caliber players as much as he could against college players.

That being said, I don't consider it a knock against him. No rookie quarterback, in any ideal situation, should start during their rookie year. Sam Bradford performed horribly by NFL standards, and that was considered a GOOD year for a rookie. Matt Ryan was kind of an outlier, and he wasn't even that statistically impressive. Even Peyton Manning, who is a certfiable God of quarterbacks, threw 28 interceptions his rookie year. I think Kap has the skills to be QB of the future. Let's give him a fair chance and sit on the bench for a while.
Originally posted by thuglife619:
good read

and

Originally posted by niner4life21:
You are awesome.
Originally posted by 12b6demurrer:
Originally posted by fly15:
thanks...! just one question.

How do you know Kap is not mentally ready?? just curious

He's still playing at college speed at times. Alex Smith had the same issues as a rookie (and into his later years as well). Hesitance on choosing a receiver, staring receivers down, and relying on his ability to run when he can't outrun NFL caliber players as much as he could against college players.

That being said, I don't consider it a knock against him. No rookie quarterback, in any ideal situation, should start during their rookie year. Sam Bradford performed horribly by NFL standards, and that was considered a GOOD year for a rookie. Matt Ryan was kind of an outlier, and he wasn't even that statistically impressive. Even Peyton Manning, who is a certfiable God of quarterbacks, threw 28 interceptions his rookie year. I think Kap has the skills to be QB of the future. Let's give him a fair chance and sit on the bench for a while.

spot on again, i have to say that some fans of the zone feel that he should be considered to really start now. I remember yesterday in the old thread Norcal9er said witout bias in regards to Smith and Kap, however, the bias is exactly what it was to see Kap sooner than later, regardless of what 99% of all beat writers/reporters were reporting that he's not ready to start just yet.

I think Kap can really be something special, only time will tell. And the biggest knock on kap is that he's undecisive and hesitant in the pocket, and he also rolls out a lot to try and throw off the defender. Now by no way is this a knock on him, because like another zoner said all those things can be fixed in time, i mean he is a rookie. and even he stated that he has to do a better job of reading defenses, and working through his progressions because a lot of that stuff he got away with in college, wont work here in the NFL.

And ive heard from most reporters talking about him, that the main thing his current issue is that he doesnt look to comfortable standing in the pocket just yet. But as far as the intangibles, arm strength, accuracy, etc, he's by far the better QB. i say just imagine him adding the pocket prescence to his craft, and we really have someone that teams better really watch out for in the future.
Sic mein, Thanks!
Thanks, good read. Too bad all new posters don't have that high of expectations for their threads.
good posts, keep up the good work