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Observations on Schwarzenegger, 49ers

8/7/2010

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- A few thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers after watching them practice in pads Friday morning at team headquarters:

  • Ted Ginn Jr.'s revival, should it happen, is going to be a process, not something that happens overnight. After lighting up the practice field with multiple big plays Thursday, he dropped a couple easy passes Friday. He's playing fast, however, and making the right adjustments as he becomes more comfortable in the 49ers' system. Alex Smith and Vernon Davis told me they think Ginn can make a big difference for them this season. Ginn did make a nice play settling into what appeared to be zone coverage before catching a low pass while almost lying on the ground.

  • Ginn wasn't the only player dropping passes. There were too many of them Thursday. Anthony Dixon and Davis also dropped balls. One player I haven't seen drop passes: Michael Crabtree, one of the smoothest players on the team. I'm told he dropped one a couple days ago.

  • First-round choice Anthony Davis showed good effort in diving to push blitzing free safety Reggie Smith past the quarterback. Smith was lined up too wide and he was too quick for Davis to block him cleanly, but the rookie did everything he could, and he was effective. Ray McDonald gave Davis some trouble with a powerful bull rush.

  • Late in practice, Smith found Davis for a roughly 40-yard touchdown pass during a period when Smith and inside linebacker Patrick Willis get to call the plays. The rapport between Davis and Smith is something I'll be exploring in greater detail. Safety Dashon Goldson was the closest defensive back to Davis at the end of the play, but it wasn't clear whether he had the initial coverage. Davis generally exploits linebackers.

  • Outside linebacker Parys Haralson fared well against improved second-year tackle Alex Boone in pass-rush drills. They went against one another on three consecutive plays. Haralson won to the inside on the first rush (although the guard or center might have helped Boone if this had been a game situation). Haralson jumped offside on the second rush. He then came at Boone strong enough to draw illegal hands to the face.

  • Offensive line coach Mike Solari was paying attention to details during a live session simulating game situations. He kept telling players to keep their feet behind the sideline to avoid a penalty even though this was only practice.

  • California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger met with Smith, 49ers officials and other players during a stop at team headquarters centered around a speech to the Bay Area Council. The governor's security detail fit stereotypes with blue suits, dark glasses and earpieces. They combed the grounds throughout the governor's visit and I was grateful they didn't tackle me when I raised my iPhone to take the photos.

  • Various memebers of Ed Hochuli's officiating crew visited practice and showed a rules-related video to players (and reporters, separately). One new rule prevents players from protesting calls too demonstrably, but the rule is not yet backed by a penalty. Players will merely receive warnings. That could change upon further review.

  • Linebacker Scott McKillop had what the team called successful surgery to repair a torn ACL and ruptured patella tendon in his left knee.

The 49ers have a special-teams practice Friday afternoon. I'll be back for both of their practices Saturday before heading to Seattle for a visit to Seahawks practice Sunday, followed by a couple days at home and a few more days watching the Seahawks. Then it's off to St. Louis for an extended look at the Rams beginning Aug. 14.