On the Field
Wide receiver Kyle Williams reportedly tweaked his hamstring in Saturday afternoon’s practice and sat out 11-on-11 drills after participating earlier in seven-on-sevens.
Williams was activated from the PUP list earlier this week after completing his rehab from a season-ending ACL injury in November’s win against the Saints.
The 49ers can’t afford to lose Williams for an extended period while they try to replace Michael Crabtree, who is nursing his way through a torn Achilles suffered during OTAs. After practice, Williams tweeted, “I'm fine!! Good day of work for us first day in the pads!”
Williams hamstring wasn’t the only bit of bad news for San Francisco’s receivers Saturday. Second-year wideout A.J. Jenkins struggled to haul in passes and didn’t have an overly impressive day overall. Rookie Quinton Patton continues to don a blue no-contact jersey while he wears a cast on his left index and middle fingers.
Rookie tight end Vance McDonald struggled Saturday, dropping passes from Scott Tolzien and B.J. Daniels. Linebacker Nate Stupar also got position on McDonald and deflected a pass from Colt McCoy. Stupar distinguished himself late in the day in 11-on-11s against other reserves. He finds himself battling to backup job at middle linebacker.
Vernon Davis had a very good day and made a number of receptions in both intermediate and deep routes. The same can be said for Anquan Boldin, who continues to look good in his new offense.
Safety Craig Dahl took some lumps while continuing to adjust to his new surroundings. He was beat deep once by Ricardo Lockette and again by Davis on a deep corner route on the left side of the field.
Just over two hours in to practice, the entire first team was allowed to leave the field while reserves continued 11-on-11 work. The session ended when rookie Nick Moody picked off a B.J. Daniels pass intended for McDonald. It came on a broken play that Daniels extended and tried to find McDonald deep down the left side, but he put too much air under the ball and allowed Moody to get position and win the jump ball with McDonald.
Moody, a sixth-round pick, was drafted to compete for a backup role and to contribute on special teams. He was formerly a safety at Florida State that converted to linebacker on one of the nation’s best defensive groups.
In the Press Tent
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman met with the media prior to Saturday’s practice and answered questions about evaluating the talent on his offense.
“Every day we’re getting a feel for what guys naturally do well, where guys at with certain tasks, where we need to bring them an what that could eventually grow into,” he said.
When asked about Boldin and what makes him a good football player, Roman credited him for his work off the field and intangibles.
“I don’t think you can titrate it down to one thing the guy is a straight football player. He’s got great natural instincts. He’s strong, competitive, very strong-willed, very competitive to doing his job. You can sense in him it just means a tremendous amount to him. Any time he can do his job to help his team - that really goes a long way towards his success and the type of makeup and character he has.”
Roman was asked about Daniels and how the team is juggling his responsibilities as a quarterback with working at various other positions.
“That’s something that we just have to feel for. He’s getting a tremendous amount of quarterback work. But he’s also getting an opportunity to show what he can do to contribute in other areas. BJ’s a very athletic young man. I really feel like he’s approached this camp with a great mindset,” Roman said.
“I think that’s one of those decisions you have to weight every day and see where he’s at. It’s just one of those feel things.”
Left tackle Joe Staley said 2012 was the best season of his career and he’s the biggest improvement he’s looking to make this season is getting off to a good start to the season.
“I got off to a slow start last year. It took me a few games to get into a groove. Want to eliminate that this year. Really focusing on being in mid-season form in the first game,” Staley said.
Staley was voted No. 78 on the NFL’s Top 100 list this offseason, lower than No. 67 of last season, but still finds it humbling to be recognized by his peers.
“Yeah, it’s nice to have your peers notice what you’re doing. It’s definitely an honor and humbling… I think I’ve been motivated by being the best player I can be by my standards. All I can do, always working on every single day something to improve on and delivering in practice,” he said.