Blogging from 49ers training camp - Day 4

Aug 1, 2007 at 2:22 PM0


It's day four of 49ers training camp and the team's third "open to the public" practice is only a couple of hours away. This will be my final day of covering training camp. I got a great Bay Area perspective following the shocking death of legendary 49ers coach Bill Walsh prior to Monday's open practice. Yesterday was declared Bill Walsh Day and we all learned that John York, the 49ers' owner, will honor Walsh in at least three ways. The first will involve the team wearing "BW" decals on their helmets for the entire season. The second will be a moment of silence during the preseason game against the Denver Broncos. The third will be some sort of tribute coordinated with ESPN and the NFL during the team's home opener against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football. York also stated during an interview on KNBR that the team would do something to honor Walsh with their new stadium but stated that it was too early in the planning process to discuss details. York said that something involved with the stadium would have happened even if Walsh lived to be 100. As much as fans loved to bash York's methods of running the team in the past, I really think he has changed over the years. Since his hiring of Nolan, he has made all the right decisions and I find it tougher and tougher to dislike the guy. I still believe that there is a lot of hate for York among the fans but that his decisions and moves in recent years have been good ones for the team and its fans. Hopefully, the planned tribute for Walsh is something that fits the greatness of the man himself.

Unfortunately, I was not able view most of the defensive players on Monday since the defense spent the majority of the time on the far field. Hopefully today will not be the same. I will attempt to take a look at as many of the rookies as I can.

As most of you already know, Gore suffered a broken hand on Monday and will miss at least three preseason games. This will give Michael Robinson, Maurice Hicks and Thomas Clayton more practice time. All have looked good but Clayton seems to have more upside, despite constant lectures from his coaches.

Other solid performers include Marcus Maxwell, who is fighting for a roster spot. Jason Hill and Asley Lelie have looked solid at wide receiver as well. I have not been all that impressed with Taylor Jacobs. The most impressive by far has been the improvement of Arnaz Battle who looks to be developing into a real threat having caught a number of deep passes from Alex Smith.

On the offensive line, Joe Staley has been a fan favorite and been performing very well. He seems to have his blocking mechanics down.

At linebacker, Patrick Willis and Manny Lawson really impressed on Monday when the battled one on one with offensive blockers in an effort to get to the quarterback. At defensive back, either Nate Clements is not trying as hard or Arnaz Battle has improved that much. Battle beat Clements almost every time he lined up against him and Clements is considered one of the best shut down corners in the league. Terell Brown has looked solid as well.

Be sure to check back here throughout the day as I give you live updates from training camp which is scheduled to start at 4pm.
3:09 pm: We just stopped by the growing memorial remembering Bill Walsh that is out front of the headquarters. Flowers, pictures and more have been left by the fans. We've left a 49erswebzone.com sticker on some flowers that reads "Bill Walsh, you made us all feel like champions" signed by "The 49erswebzone family."
3:41 pm: Trent Dilfer is the first one out on the field. Again, he is just in his jersey, shorts and a cap. He did not bring out a helmet. He likely will not practice much giving Hill and Getsy plenty of snaps.
3:45 pm: The rest of the quarterbacks have come out and are stretching. All are wearing their typical black QB jersies.

They are now practicing dropping back and some light passes to each other. Smith to Getsy and Dilfer throws to Hill.
3:47 pm: More of the team comes out. Mostly offensive lineman. Tight end Zac Herold is now passing back and forth with Shaun Hill.
3:50 pm: Some of the defensive guys have come out including Michael Lewis, Isaac Sopoaga and Bryant Young.
3:59 pm: The rest of the team comes out onto the field to the cheers of the smaller Wednesday crowd. They start again with sprints across the field.
4:00 pm: The team is stretching as a group.
4:15 pm: Drill #1 is a scrimmage. Offense has three reveivers and a running back. Vernon Davis jumps offsides.

Patrick Willis is in there with the starters. The first pass is to Hicks from Alex Smith. The second is to Brandom Williams. Neither Darrell Jackson or Arnaz Battle are practicing.

Davis makes the catch on the third play. The defense is playing with four defensive backs.

Williams drops a pass from Hill.

Ulbrich breaks up a pass intended for Walker. On the next play, Walker runs the wrong route.
4:25 pm: The quarterbacks now practice passing with the receivers. The defense moves to the far field. Smith looks very good passing while running to his right. Lelie is looking fast and even caught a badly thrown pass. Smith's deep ball is looking very accurate.
4:34 pm: Now the receivers are going up against the corners. Jacobs beats Clements on the first play. Walt Harris is holding his own. Maxwell is looking good against Vaughn and Hill just beat Brown.

I can't see Zeigler making this roster. He does not look good at all.

Clements on press coverage against Jacobs got beat despite a little jersey grabbing at the end.

Someone just asked me about Bing. He is not getting much practice time. Ok, I have to state again that Smith's deep ball looks great.
4:40 pm: The offense is just practicing blocking techniques against the defense now.
4:56 pm: Scrimmage time again. Clements is looking solid against the run. Kwame Harris is getting beat on a lot of plays out there. He always seems to be out of position. Davis' catching has improved greatly. He is still catching everything out there. The defense is practicing with six defensive backs.
5:01 pm: During punt practice, it looks as though Willis blocked an Andy Lee punt.

Ken Parrish just kicked an awful punt hitting a woman in the stands who is now bleeding from the nose. And they still took the ball from her.

Parrish just made another weak punt. Everyone in the stands kept their eyes on the ball this time in case that baby came flying at out heads. Thank goodness we have Andy Lee who has looked amazing these past few days.
5:04 pm: Now practicing kicking, Nedney looks ready for the season to start.
5:19 pm: Taylor Jacobs is looking pretty good on slant routes, even when covered well. While he did not really stand out as much as others in previous practices, he is really starting to shine in this one.

When they get playing time, Tully Banta-Cain and Colby Bockwoldt are looking good in pass coverage when lined up against the tight ends.

Bing was in there on the last scrimmage but did not do much.
5:28 pm: The team seems to really be focusing on the short passes to running backs and tight ends during the last couple of drills. Right now they are practicing offense against defense with no lineman.

The crowd claps as Strickland bats down a pass intended for Zeigler.

Brandon Williams sure did show up to play today. He is making some nice catches. And as soon as I type that, he drops an easy one...and Manny Lawson goes over to jokingly give him a hug.
5:29 pm: By the way, Frank Gore is on the field watching with a cast on his right hand.
5:35 pm: They are practicing their red zone offense now and Davis just caught what would have been a touchdown from Smith.

Clayton is catching the ball well out of the backfield for some short gains.

Williams just had the ball stripped. I could not tell by who.

That is the end of today's practice.

Photos from Day 4
HB asks "So who to believe? You say Taylor Jacobs looks average others say he has looked great. Someone don't know what they are talkign about"

Early on, I said that I was not impressed with him. He was out there but not really distinguishing himself from anyone else. At least, not during the practices open to the public. However, if you read the entire blog for Day 4, I obviously do start to see him step up more. I mention that he is a fantastic receiver on slants and a solid target up the middle. He even caught the ball on one play despite a little pass interference by Nate Clements on coverage. While he looked good during day 4's open practice, he certainly has not looked as impressive as some of the other receivers. He is consistent though. He looked a lot better during day 4. He has not performed as well as Battle or Maxwell of course. Lelie has been looking fast but is not as consistent as Jacobs. While I love Lelie's speed, I am not really fond of either player, but Day 4's showing started to convince me that Jacobs may be a pretty solid receiver. Lelie at least has a lot to prove though. I feel that this is as good as Jacobs is going to be. While he has been consistent in other practices, he has not been overly impressive during those early practices either. Players like Maxwell seemed to have more of an upside.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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