Observations from 49ers' afternoon practice
August, 3, 2009
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- NFL careers generally do not turn on a single training camp practice. With that dose of perspective in mind, here's a look inside my notebook from the 49ers' practice Monday afternoon:
- Rookie tight end Bear Pascoe had a rough day. He struggled in pass-protection drills and with his route running. Tight ends coach Pete Hoener was hard on Pascoe during the pass-protection drills. Hoener took a lower-keyed approach to helping with the route running. Good coaches know when to ride a player and when to back off. Hoener seemed conscious of the balance.
- Manny Lawson again beat left tackle Joe Staley to the outside on a speed rush, something to file away as we monitor Lawson's progress. The 49ers need him to have an impact as a pass rusher. Beating Staley twice in the same day counts as a positive given that Staley is an established player.
- Linebacker Jay Moore made the most of his afternoon. He contributed to Pascoe's problems in pass-rush drills (Barry Sims and Alex Boone were also Moore's victims, while Boone also lost a matchup against Pannel Egboh). Moore picked off a tipped pass. He later cut a finger batting down a pass near the line of scrimmage.
- Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin almost avoided contact in beating center Eric Heitmann with a quick move off the ball in pass-rush drills. That's the nature of pass-rush drills. You win some and lose some, and sometimes you look silly.
- Coaches wanted converted linebacker Brit Miller, now a fullback, to watch how veteran Michael Robinson ran pass routes.
- Tight end Delanie Walker made a stunning left-handed catch on a crisply delivered short pass from Shaun Hill. The ball hit Walker's left wrist area and seemed to stick. Walker tucked away the ball in one swift motion without help from his other hand.
- Receiver Dominique Zeigler muffed a punt.
- Free safety Dashon Goldson knifed through to break up an underneath pass. Goldson's speed must be a welcome sight for the 49ers in the secondary. Playing safety requires more than speed, of course, but the 49ers want to become more athletic at the position. Goldson is more athletic.
- While coach Mike Singletary wants a physical camp, he called for caution after cornerback Marcus Hudson collided violently with receiver Brandon Jones. Both players went down hard and bounced up quickly, with Jones holding onto the ball.
- Tight end Vernon Davis continues to catch everything thrown to him. I don't want to inflate expectations here. Davis has to show consistency over time. That said, he has certainly caught the ball well this offseason. I noticed it right away during a visit to 49ers practices a couple months ago.
- Linebackers Parys Haralson, Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes did not practice in the afternoon. Ahmad Brooks filled in for Haralson and caused problems in the backfield. Singletary singled out Brooks for praise following the morning practice. Brooks seemed to provide a few more contributions in the afternoon.