49ers camp report (82): Focus on running game


49ers camp report (82): Focus on running game

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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
Practice No. 4
Summary: Running back Frank Gore ended a holdout and returned to the practice field, and the 49ers shifted their attention to the run game. At one point, the 49ers had 20 consecutive run plays as part of their 11-on-11 work. Gore got a big share of the load, too. Coach Jim Harbaugh explained that the focus shifted more toward the ground game when the team was allowed to work in full pads. "Taking advantage of us having our armor on and thudding it up a bit, and you can hear it when it's good, you don't even really need to see the play, you can hear it," Harbaugh said.
RELATED: Gore takes care of business on the field
Offensive Plays of the day: Rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick and tight end Vernon Davis hooked up repeatedly on intermediate and deep passes. Davis exploited a mismatch against rookie Aldon Smith on a crossing route for a big play, and then he gave Smith an earful all the way back to the huddle.Defensive Plays of the day: Safety Reggie Smith appears to be solidifying his starting spot with a good showing in practices. He intercepted two passes, both on plays in which Kaepernick escaped the pocket. Defensive end Will Tukuafu had good pressure on Kaepernick, who tried to force a 25-yard pass into Davis. Reggie Smith jumped the route for the interception.Injury report: CB Shawntae Spencer (left hamstring) and LB Patrick Willis (foot) sat out the entire practice after leaving practice early Sunday evening. . . . LB Ahmad Brooks, WR Ronald Johnson, CB Phillip Adams (left hamstring) were removed from practice after sustaining slight injuries . . . . NT Isaac Sopoaga (hamstring) missed his fourth practice. LB Alex Joseph did not practice for the third day in a row. WR Michael Crabtree (left foot), WR Dominique Zeigler (left knee) and FB Bruce Miller (shoulder) are on physically-unable-to-perform list. . . . TE Nate Byham (torn left ACL), WR Dontavia Bogan (torn right ACL) and CB Curtis Holcomb (ruptured left Achilles tendon) are out for the season.The replacements: With all three starters on the defensive line unavailable for practice, the team's first unit consisted of Tukuafu at left end, Ian Williams at nose tackle and Ricky Jean Francois at right end. Starting defensive end Justin Smith was excused from practice for a personal reason.
RELATED: 49ers lining up free-agent visits
Eye on reps: Brooks has been working with the first team at left outside linebacker. With him out of action, Parys Haralson moved to the left side. That opened up the right side for Aldon Smith, the No. 7 overall pick in the draft.
High praise: Left tackle Joe Staley has his hands full against Aldon Smith every day in practice. "Aldon, man, he has impressed me," Staley said. "He's multi-dimensional as a pass-rusher. He has real long arms, is explosive and naturally strong. I can see why we drafted him where we did."On the sideline: Veteran center Jonathan Goodwin, who has started for the New Orleans Saints the past three seasons, paid a free-agent visit to the 49ers. He watched the team's entire practice from the sideline in street clothes.Next practice: The 49ers return to practice Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. for a scheduled three-hour practice. The club will also have an hourlong walk-through in the morning.

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL


Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

I hadn’t considered the notion of Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles bombing quite so badly Thursday night, so I hadn’t considered the notion advanced by Pro Football Talk Friday morning that Jacksonville might be a great place for Colin Kaepernick.

That’s because I long ago stopped considering the idea that Kaepernick’s exile from football was, or is, about football. It isn’t. He is the example for future player/miscreants, and trotting his name out every time a quarterback in the new NFL vomits up a practice game on national television is simply perpetuating a lie.

Until someone gets so desperate that it isn’t any more.

That’s the problem with being so definitive about Kaepernick’s perpetual ban. It only takes one owner with a willingness to stick a middle finger up to the objections and say, “I own a football team, not some branch of the USO” to end this national spitfest once and for all. And yes, I say owner because this is an owner’s decision, solely and completely. In the hypothetical of Kaepernick the Jaguar, it will be made not by Doug Marrone, who is merely a coach, or by Tom Coughlin, who is only the general manager, but Shahid Khad, one of the brightest and quietly more powerful owners in the league.

But the odds still scream No Kaep For You, because it would mean that exhibition games matter for judgmental purposes (which they don’t), that Bortles is somehow worse than half the quarterbacks in the NFL (he is part of an amorphous blob of non-producers whose numbers are growing as the differences between college and pro football offenses expand), and that owners easily break away from the herd once the herd has decided on something (Khan is not a rebel in the Jerry Jones mold by any means).

In other words, I remain unconvinced that there is a place for Colin Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL. And he’s probably better off.

Zuttah ends up back with Ravens after release from 49ers


Zuttah ends up back with Ravens after release from 49ers

One week after center Jeremy Zuttah played his way off the 49ers’ roster in short order, he ended up back with the team that got rid of him to open the offseason.

The Baltimore Ravens on Friday announced the signing of Zuttah, whom the 49ers released on Aug. 9 after acquiring him from the Ravens in a March trade.

The 49ers determined center Daniel Kilgore was clearly better than Zuttah. Moreover, Zuttah he did not demonstrate any promise of being an asset at either of the guard positions.

Zuttah, 31, played the past three seasons with the Ravens after six seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Zuttah was named to his first Pro Bowl after last season.

The 49ers originally acquired Zuttah in a swap of sixth-round draft picks. The Ravens received the 49ers’ pick at No. 186 and selected Virginia Tech safety Chuck Clark. The 49ers took over Baltimore’s selection at No. 198 and chose Mississippi defensive tackle D.J. Jones.

The 49ers are confident in Kilgore and offensive tackles Joe Staley and Trent Brown. However, there is concern at the guard positions.

Brandon Fusco appears to be earning the confidence of the coaching staff at right guard. But left guard remains a concern. Zane Beadles is currently the starter while Joshua Garnett rehabs from arthroscopic knee surgery to repair cartilage. The 49ers are hopeful Garnett will be available for the opening of the regular season.