On the Field
Second-year wideout A.J. Jenkins left practice early to go stretch out his hamstring on the adjacent field and did not return to practice. A few minutes later, free agent pickup Kassim Osgood joined him to deal with an injury was that was not apparent.
Kyle Williams did not suite up for the second-consecutive practice after tweaking his hamstring Saturday although the injury doesn’t seem significant. Rookie Quinton Patton continues to wear the blue jersey and a soft cast on his left hand to protect his middle his fingers. Ricardo Lockette remains gimpy while dealing with an apparent hip issue, but he did practice.
That means Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Williams, Jenkins, Patton and Osgood are all dealing with injuries. Tuesday San Francisco’s offense ran with Anquan Boldin, Lockette, Chad Hall, Marlon Moore and Chuck Jacobs. Rookie and do-everything quarterback B.J. Daniels also got a few reps at wide receiver.
The good news for San Francisco? None of the recent injuries to wide receivers appear serious. And at this point in training camp there’s no reason to risk further injury by continuing to participate.
NaVorro Bowman did not suite up for practice and was in the weight room for part of the first portion of practice. Center Jonathan Goodwin did not participate in either and was not seen on the field. Defensive coordinator Vic Fanio said Bowman’s injury is not serious. There is no word on Goodwin although the 49ers don’t seem concerned about his status.
Colin Kaepernick continued to showcase his improved ability to throw the deep ball by connecting on long passes to Vernon Davis and Boldin as they found ways to get behind the defense. Kaepernick has been impressive in his reps despite the receiving corps being ravaged by injuries. His chemistry with Davis and Boldin have been a highlight of camp.
Chad Hall had a good showing Tuesday finding ways to get open and allowing Kaepernick to find him in space. Hall is listed at 5’8” but has shown the quickness to get open in short and intermediate routes. Marlon Moore continues to be the surprise at the position and is making good on his opportunity with so many players in front of him sidelined.
In the Press Tent
Ian Williams continued his solid camp with the first team defense and could find himself as a starter in base situations should he continue to perform. The third-year nose tackle signed a two-year, $3.2 million extension in the offseason just prior to incumbent tackles Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean-Francois leaving as free agents to the Eagles and Colts, respectively.
“He’s always been a good worker but he just kicked it up a notch. He saw the opportunity. We signed him to an extension, which gave him a message. The two nose tackles that were ahead of him are no longer,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said after practice.
The 49ers signed former Chief’s first-round pick Glenn Dorsey as a free agent in the offseason to presumably take over the first-team nose tackle position. But so far in camp, it’s been Williams getting the majority of reps with the first stringers.
“He’s been amazing so far,” linebacker Patrick Willis said of Williams. “He’s apart of the system for a while now, but to step into a starting role this year, so far he’s been everything…he’s been unbelievable.”
“You single him, he can beat a one-on-one. If you double-team him, he can hold the point. As a middle linebacker, that’s what you love to see.”
At just 6’1”, Williams looks like he’s at a disadvantage going against guards Mike Iupati and Alex Boone, but he’s made up for the height disparity with his quickness and break off the ball.
“He’s always been like that,” Boone said. “He’s always a guy that gets you good reps and really gets you a good feel for how he’s going to be in the game.”
Williams has come a long way since joining the team as an undrafted free agent and working his way up to competing for a starting role. Fangio said he wasn’t sure why Williams wasn’t taken in the seventh round of his draft, but said with certainty that he should have been taken. He also pointed out Williams might be in the best physical shape he’s been in as a pro.
“He’s always been strong. He’s been one of our strongest bench pressers, maybe if not the best on the team. He’s always been quick and fast,” Fangio said.
“In the past, he’s been able to play a play or two at a time but if he had to play three, or four or five in a row, his conditioning would show up. And now he’s in much better condition.
Williams has lost roughly 20 pounds since last offseason, he said, and notices a major difference in his play on the field because of it.
“I can feel a great difference. We haven’t been in a game yet, but working out here has really got me ready. Going against our o-line the two years has really gotten me ready for what I have in front of me,” Williams said.
Fangio was asked about the reserve situation on the defensive line and noted that he’d like to have a player that can play nose and one that can play either end backing up the three starters. Dorsey played more end his career with Kansas City while Williams has worked primarily as a nose tackle during his two-plus seasons with San Francisco.
Patrick Willis was covering Davis on the long touchdown play down the right side and said he anticipated the throw coming into between the hash marks. Kaepernick ended up throwing more toward the numbers on the right side of the field away from Willis’ positioning.
“Just where Kap through the ball and Vernon was able to turn on another gear and go get on the other side of the field, that’s not even fair. It’s good when you see stuff like that,” Willis said.