On the Field
Add Justin Smith to the list of veterans that have missed time so far in training camp.
But unlike some of the other key players that have sat out so far, Smith's absence Friday was likely a simple day off. The 33-year-old was sporting a small wrap on the middle finger of his right hand.
Aldon Smith missed his third-straight practice Friday. There's been no indication of the severity of the injury, but it does not appear to be serious. Smith sat out the majority of the team's OTAs in order to rest and rehab his surgically repaired shoulder that was operated on after the Super Bowl.
Newly signed receivers Austin Collie and Lavelle Hawkins made their 49er debuts, entering full-team drills to start the second portion of practice. Both players had a short catch each. Late in the session, rookie quarterback B.J. Daniels tried to hit Hawkins deep down the left side of the field, but he was unable to keep both feet in bounds. For now, Collie wearing No. 6 while Hawkins donned No. 4.
To make room on the roster, the team waived reserve center Sherman Carter and punter Colton Schmidt.
But the hits to San Francisco receivers didn't stop coming Friday. This time it was Ricardo Lockette who didn't dress for practice. He appeared to hurt his right hip Tuesday and looked hampered in each session since. He joined Kyle Williams, A.J. Jenkins and Kassim Osgood as receivers to miss time in the first week of camp with a minor setback.
Rookie wideout Quinton Patton continued to wear the blue 'no-passes' jersey and a small cast on his left middle and pointer fingers. Despite the blue jersey designation, Patton caught a few balls with his right hand only during individual drills.
The only interception of the day came when Tramaine Brock jumped Anquan Boldin's short out to the left and plucked Colt McCoy's pass out of the air. Nnamdi Asomugha made a play on a similar route, but let the ball hit him in the chest and it fell to the grass. Had he been able to come down with the ball, it would have been an easy score.
The 49ers worked on their two-minute drill for a majority of the first half of practice. Colin Kaepernick continued to have a good camp and hit Vernon Davis on a number of deep routes. Phil Dawson hit two of three field goals from longer than 50 yards on the windy afternoon.
The free safety position continues to be a revolving door as a Trenton Robinson and Eric Reid both saw reps alongside Donte Whitner.
The same can be said for the corner back position, as Brock and Perrish Cox worked with the first team's nickle package a day after Chris Culliver tore his ACL, likely ending his season.
Asomugha worked with the second and third teams.
In the Press Tent
Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio spoke to the media for the first time since Culliver's injury and talked about possible replacements.
Brock appears to be the leading candidate for now while Asomugha still has to prove he can be a productive player at his advanced stage of his career.
“We really didn’t know what we were getting when we got Nnamdi. He’s had some good days out here, some days where we weren’t sure if he was going to still have it," Fangio said.
"I think we’re kind of in between with him right now. Hopefully he’ll still have some gas left in his tank to go out and play like he did prior to going to Philadelphia. I think the jury’s still out there.”
Asomugha has played well so far in team sessions and there's reason to believe Fangio's critiques might be used to motivate the veteran corner.
Nnamdi’s at the stage too in his career…where the physical skills start to diminish. And we just have to see if that’s entering his picture too, now,” Fangio said.
Fangio was asked about the possibility of bringing Eric Wright back after failing his physical that nullified July 19's trade from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Fangio said he had never met Wright, even when he was at the team's facility and he "hadn't heard anything since."
But the will continue to keep a close eye on the free agent market, especially on cornerbacks, even though the pickings might be slim.
“At this stage of the game, when most teams have 90 players in camp, with 32 teams there’s not a lot to look for out there…we’re just looking generally.”
Fangio was also asked about rookie linebacker Nick Moody, who has made a name for himself in camp because of his willingness to hit and the fact he doesn't wear gloves.
"I think he’s got a lot of good tools in his tool box. He just isn’t a union carpenter yet," Fangio said.
Moody - a former safety at Florida State - is playing linebacker for just the second year of his football career. He seems to have transitioned well and is in line for a roster spot backing up All-Pros Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.
Mike Wilhoite, also a former safety, has been getting reps alongside Moody as Bowman and Willis sit out. Bowman is continuing to work his way back from a groin strain that the team is approaching with caution. Willis suffered a small fracture in his hand Wednesday.