SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers went through a non-padded open practice Thursday in the team’s final training camp practice of the season. All players wore their practice jerseys except the quarterbacks — whom were in their gameday jerseys. Most of the practice took place on the field opposite to where the fans were sitting.
It was a shortened practice, but the 49ers were on the field a lot running various drills in preparation for Saturday’s exhibition game against the Oakland Raiders.
“With Coach (Jim) Harbaugh, everything we do is quick tempo,” linebacker Patrick Wilils said after pracitce. “It’s his way of getting our conditioning in, but also our way of being fast on every play and beating the clock.”
The practice was light and it was a way of looking at the progress of the players on the roster. Head coach Jim Harbaugh had a lot of praises to go around for some of his players. He said that the offensive line was having a good camp, but left tackle Joe Staley was having the best out of all of them.
The offensive line, which struggled against the Saints’ blitz pickups, has been switching around a few times with positions to find the best combinations. Harbaugh says that there are seven offensive linemen that are “starter caliber”.
Among those seven are Staley, left guard Mike Iupati, center Jonathan Goodwin, center/right guard Adam Snyder, right guard Chilo Rachal, right tackle Anthony Davis and swing tackle Alex Boone.
Rachal was one player that Harbaugh openly praised.
“He’s working extremely hard to get into game shape and playing shape,” said Harbaugh. “It’s really important to him. I’m seeing all those things from him, and I’m very pleased.”
Harbaugh hopes that there won’t be a repeat of the offensive line struggling to pick up the blitz.
“We’re getting better protecting,” the coach said of the offensive line. “We’re going over every detail to make sure there’s no screw ups to get the game right. I think we’re progressing in that direction.”
Other players that Harbaugh said were having good camps were linebackers Ahmad Brooks and Patrick Willis, defensive end Justin Smith, safety Donte Whitner, kicker David Akers, punter Andy Lee, tight ends Delanie Walker and Vernon Davis, right guard Chilo Rachal, center Jonathan Goodwin, tackle Alex Boone and rookie cornerback Chris Culliver.
The 49ers ended the practice with two 2-minute drills. It was the first team offense against the second team defense for the first drive. The offense got a first down with a 10-yard pass to tight end Konrad Reuland. But after that, a “sack” by Scott McKillop pushed the 49ers back. Two quick passes to Morgan set up the 49ers for a 4th and short but a pass to Braylon Edwards was broken up by rookie Chris Culliver.
The second drive featured the second team offense versus the first team defense. The defense held their own and after a 5-yard catch by Kyle Williams, the offense couldn’t complete another pass. Two of the passes were to wide receiver Lance Long but cornerback Tarell Brown defended those well.
- CB Carlos Rogers returnd to practice but Shawntae Spencer was not on the field. CB Tarell Brown paired up with Rogers on the first unit and in nickel packages, CB Tramaine Brock came in as the third cornerback, playing outside with Rogers inside.
- There were two interceptions on the day. One came from S Donte Whitner as he went right in front of a Josh McCown pass intended for WR Tyler Beiler. LB NaVorro Bowman had a pick in which he jumped high into the air to snatch a pass from QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson.
- S Colin Jones saw action at WR again on Thursday and even caught a couple passes. QB Jeremiah Masoli also saw some action at WR as part of the scout team during a goal line play. He ended up catching a fade pass for the touchdown.
FB Bruce Miller, who saw action at LB on Wednesday, said that he has just been doing scout team work and doesn’t know what his role is on defense from here on out.
- Harbaugh said that the offense will have the same amount of limited plays as they did for their first game, which was roughly 20 plays.
- LB Patrick Willis praised a couple of his teammates for having great camps so far. He said that LB Ahmad Brooks and CB Tramaine Brock have both have looked good.
- Harbaugh said that the decision to sign QB Josh McCown made sense because he was a good fit. Coach said that he is in good shape, still has great legs and that he worked out well on Wednesday. McCown was credited to have great preparation and that his role for Saturday’s game has yet to be determined.
- The 49ers will run a mock game on Friday. The remainder of practices will not be open to the public or media.