SANTA CLARA, Calif. – For the first time in a long time, the San Francisco 49ers had a quiet day at practice.
No one left camp in a huff, no one retired, no new players were signed. It was business as usual.
Of course, everything is different now. New running back Brian Westbrook joined the team for his first practice since he was signed to a one-year contract on Monday. He took part in some running and blocking drills and took a few handoffs with the other running backs.
But mostly he watched. And watched.
“I’m just trying to learn the offense,” Westbrook said after the 49ers held an afternoon practice minus pads. “I’ve been in the west coast offense for the last eight years, so I’m just trying to get a better grasp of things. The hardest thing to do is sit on the sidelines and watch, but that’s the best way to learn it.”
Westbrook spent most of the workout talking to running backs coach Tom Rathman and watching the team go through a 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 scrimmage. Earlier, head coach Mike Singletary left open the possibility he could ask offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye to add a few plays that would get both Westbrook and starter Frank Gore in the game at the same time.
“It’s possible,” Singletary said. “It’s definitely possible.”
Throw in wide receiver Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis, and the 49ers could have an abundance of offensive weapons to throw at opponents.
“A lot of weapons,” Gore said. “We do have personnel like that. With two halfbacks in the game, both running backs out of the backfield can catch the ball well. I think that would be great.”
Gore said he had no problem with the team’s decision to sign Westbrook, even though it might mean giving up some carries to his new teammate.
”I thought if he could help my team get better and help us go to another level, I’m fine with it,” Gore said.
HURTIN’: Rookie Kyle Williams, who looked good on kickoff and punt returns Sunday at Indianapolis, is out a couple of weeks with a sprained right big toe. Singletary said he might give Dominique Zeigler an opportunity to return punts and leave Ted Ginn Jr. to return kickoffs.
Kicker Joe Nedney, who didn’t play Sunday because of overall soreness, worked on field goals Tuesday. Michael Crabtree (neck strain) took part in individual work but did not practice. Nor did Vernon Davis, who has a strained knee and is day to day. Also out: linebacker Brandon Long (knee), cornerback Will James (ankle) and tackle Chris Patrick (shoulder).