49ers

49ers camp summary (814): Smith heats up, new depth chart

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49ers camp summary (814): Smith heats up, new depth chart

Summary: Quarterback Alex Smith opened the 7-on-7 and team portions of practice on a hot streak. The ball rarely hit the ground in the first half of practice with Smith delivering on-target passes to a variety of targets, including two scoring passes to Randy Moss.The only incompletion through Smith's first 25 pass attempts came when his throw to Moss along the back of the end zone slipped through his hands. The other throw up to that point that hit the ground was an incomplete pass intended for Ted Ginn. But Tarell Brown was called for pass interference on the play.Smith and Mario Manningham picked up where they left off from practice Monday. The pair capped a two-minute drill with a perfect pitch-and-catch of a 33-yard pass down the right sideline against the coverage of rookie Deante' Purvis. Later, Smith and Manningham hooked up for another deep pass against Purvis and safety Colin Jones.The practice was not without its offensive miscues. Scott Tolzien and LaMichael James fumbled a handoff, as did Josh Johnson and Anthony Dixon. A.J. Jenkins' hands were a little shaky with one drop and another juggling catch of an easy pass. He also fumbled without getting touched after getting near the left sideline on a reverse.Injury report: Outside linebacker Aldon Smith is expected to miss more than a week with a right hip bruise. He is still walking with the assistance of a crutch. Smith sustained the injury in the first quarter of the 49ers' exhibition opener against the Minnesota Vikings. . . . Tight end Delanie Walker (right knee) missed his second practice, but coach Jim Harbaugh said the injury is not expected to keep Walker out of any regular-season games. . . . Nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga and linebacker Ahmad Brooks missed their second practice apiece. Both were on the field to watch their teammates, as was cornerback Tramaine Brock, who sat out his first practice of camp. Rookie outside linebacker Cam Johnson, tight end Nate Byham and receiver Joe Hastings did not practice, either. . . . Running back Jewel Hampton (left foot) is on the non-football injury list, while outside linebacker Darius Fleming (left knee) is on the physically-unable-to-perform list.Offensive play of the day: Colin Kaepernick, who coach Jim Harbaugh said has emerged as the No. 2 quarterback, delivered a perfect touch pass to Michael Crabtree for a 12-yard touchdown. Crabtree made the catch against the coverage of Carlos Rogers and Dashon Goldson and did a nifty job of tapping both feet in the corner of the end zone.Defensive play of the day: Third cornerback Chris Culliver kept up with speedster Chris Owusu down the right sideline to break up a well-thrown deep pass from Josh Johnson during an 11-on-11 session.Eye on reps: Demarcus Dobbs is no longer wearing a red jersey to play tight end on offense or a white jersey for defensive line. As a true two-way player, Dobbs now wears a black practice jersey to play on both sides of the ball from snap to snap.Back at work: Nose tackle Ian Williams returned to practice after being sidelined for most of practice Monday with an injury. Inside linebacker Tavares Gooden also returned to practice after missing a day. Outside linebacker Kenny Rowe was eligible to practice with pads for the first time after signing him on Saturday.Notable: The 49ers held a workout for inside linebacker Mike Balogun, who spent the 2010 summer at training camp. Balogun, however, left Santa Clara without a contract, as he intends to sign with the Indianapolis Colts, according to a source.On the sideline: Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers was a guest at practice and spent a good portion of the day speaking with 49ers GM Trent Baalke.Quotable: "These are four quarterbacks that will all play a very long time in this league. Knew that it would be very competitive in the offseason and in training camp. It's been of great value, in that we don't take a bad rep in practice because of the quarterback not knowing what to do or not having the ability to make any of the particular throws, et cetera" -- Jim Harbaugh.Next practice: The 49ers return to practice Wednesday from 2:30 to 5:10 p.m. The 49ers will break camp after practice on Friday.
The 49ers released their second depth chart of camp with few changes from a week ago. Here is how the team stacks up heading into Saturday's exhibition game at the Houston Texans:
OFFENSE
WR: 15-Michael Crabtree, 10-Kyle Williams, 17-A.J. Jenkins, 13-Joe Hastings, 89-Nathan Palmer, 81-Chris Owusu
LT: 74-Joe Staley, 78-Mike Person, 65-Al Netter
LG: 77-Mike Iupati, 66-Joe Looney
C: 59-Jonathan Goodwin, 67-Daniel Kilgore, 61-Chase Beeler, 62-Jason Slowey
RG: 75-Alex Boone, 68-Leonard Davis, 71-Derek Hall
RT: 76-Anthony Davis, 69-Kenny Wiggins
TE: 85-Vernon Davis, 46-Delanie Walker, 88-Konrad Reuland, 40-Demarcus Dobbs, 48-Garrett Celek, 82-Nate Byham, 47-Kyle Nelson, 43-Gijon Robinson, 83-Joe Sawyer
WR: 19-Ted Ginn or 84-Randy Moss or 14-Mario Manningham, 18-Brett Swain, 9-Brian Tyms, 35-Ben Hannula
RB: 49-Bruce Miller, 24-Anthony Dixon, 44-Cameron Bell
RB: 21-Frank Gore, 32-Kendall Hunter, 45-Brandon Jacobs, 23-LaMichael James, 28 Rock Cartwright
QB: 11-Alex Smith, 7-Colin Kaepernick, 1-Josh Johnson, 3-Scott TolzienREWIND: 49ers offensive player-by-player review vs. Vikings
DEFENSE
LDT: 91-Ray McDonald, 95-Ricky Jean Francois, 63-Tony Jerod-Eddie, 69-Patrick Butrym
NT: 90-Isaac Sopoaga, 93-Ian Williams
RDT: 94-Justin Smith, 92-Will Tukuafu, 71-Matthew Masifilo
OLB: 55-Ahmad Brooks, 98-Parys Haralson, 44-Eric Bakhtiari, 50-Cam Johnson
ILB: 53-NaVorro Bowman, 54-Larry Grant, 51-Joe Holland
ILB: 52-Patrick Willis, 56-Tavares Gooden, 57-Michael Wilhoite
OLB: 99-Aldon Smith, 98-Parys Haralson, 48-Kourtnei Brown, 41-Kenny Rowe
LCB: 22-Carlos Rogers, 26-Tramaine Brock, 20-Perrish Cox
RCB: 25-Tarell Brown, 29-Chris Culliver, 33-Anthony Mosley, 40-Deante' Purvis
FS: 38-Dashon Goldson, 27-C.J. Spillman, 23-Cory Nelms, 43-Colin Jones
SS: 31-Donte Whitner, 30-Trenton Robinson, 32-Darcel McBath, 36-Michael ThomasREWIND: 49ers defensive player-by-player review vs. Vikings
SPECIAL TEAMS
PR: 19-Ted Ginn, 10-Kyle Williams, 23-LaMichael James
KOR: 19-Ted Ginn, 32-Kendall Hunter, 23-LaMichael James
P: 4-Andy Lee
K: 2-David Akers, 5-Giorgio Tavecchio
H: 4-Andy Lee
LS: 86-Brian Jennings, 47-Kyle Nelson

Day after retiring, Anquan Boldin challenges owners, execs to help protesting players

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AP

Day after retiring, Anquan Boldin challenges owners, execs to help protesting players

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Anquan Boldin didn't decide overnight he was going to quit football in order to speak out against longstanding concerns over inequality in America.

The recent deadly and racially charged conflict in Charlottesville, Virginia, did, however, become the tipping point that caused Boldin to reassess his priorities and led to the Buffalo Bills receiver's decision to retire after 14 NFL seasons.

"I think anybody with any sense can see how divided we are as a country, and Charlottesville only magnified what we were already seeing," Boldin told The Associated Press by phone Monday.

He was disturbed by the hateful messages directed at African-Americans, Jewish people and the LGBT community during a rally involving neo-Nazis and other right-wing groups in which a counter-protester was killed and two Virginia state police officers died on Aug. 13.

"That's not the America that I want to live in," he said. "And I think the only way that this America changes is that we as a people stand up and change it."

Boldin spoke a day after abruptly informing the Bills he was retiring some two weeks after signing a one-year contract with a base salary of $1.75 million.

The NFL's 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year, Boldin is no stranger to activism and humanitarian causes. He oversees the South Florida-based Q81 Foundation, which offers educational support for underprivileged children.

He has lobbied for criminal justice reform at the state and federal levels since his cousin was killed by a plain-clothes police officer along the side of a Florida highway in October 2015.

Difficult as it was to walk away from football, Boldin felt he could no longer stand silent on the sideline.

"There's not enough money in this world for me to continue to allow the things that are going on to continue to spread," the 36-year-old father of two boys said.

"I will not feel safe leaving this earth and having my kids have to live in the America that we have today."

Boldin then challenged NFL owners and executives to use their clout to demand change and back many of their players who are already doing so by protesting during the anthem.

"You have your players crying out for help. That's the reason why guys are taking knees during the anthem," he said.

"Just because we're professional athletes doesn't mean we're exempt from the things that go on in society," Boldin said, noting his position as an athlete couldn't save his cousin from being shot.

"If I'm an owner and I see one of my family members - players - hurting, I'd do whatever I can to make sure that my family is OK."

Boldin's decision to retire coincides with what he witnessed during the anthem before Buffalo's preseason game at Philadelphia on Thursday. Eagles defensive end Chris Long showed his support by putting his arm around cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, who stood in silent protest with a raised fist. Bills backup lineman Cameron Jefferson was so inspired by what he saw that he also raised his fist on Buffalo's sideline.

Boldin ranks in the top four among active receivers with 1,076 catches, 13,779 yards receiving and 82 touchdowns receiving.

He spent last season with Detroit, where he had 67 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns in 16 games.

The former Florida State star spent his first seven NFL seasons with Arizona, then played three years with Baltimore and three with San Francisco. He helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl in February 2013.

Lions safety Glover Quin credited his former teammate for having the courage for ending his career while knowing he can "have a bigger impact to do something else."

"I tip my hat to him," said Quin, one of several NFL players who joined Boldin in addressing Congress last year. "One day, we'll be able to look back on it and say, `That was the start of something great.'"

A day later, Boldin feels he made the right choice and pays no mind to those who suggest he simply stick to sports.

"I think it's absurd to tell a person to stick to playing football when the issues that he's talking about are affecting him," he said.

Earlier in the day in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Boldin said his decision to retire had nothing to do with the Bills trading their top receiving threat, Sammy Watkins, in a pair of blockbuster deals on Aug. 11 , or how the team's offense struggled in a 20-16 preseason loss at Philadelphia.

He also discounted the notion he might reconsider retirement and choose to play for a contender later this season.

"Do I feel like I can still play? Of course," Boldin said. "My passion for the advocacy work that I do outweighs football at this point, so I'm not coming back to play for a contender or to do anything else. I'm done with the game of football."

49ers rookie QB Beathard turns VR into reality

49ers rookie QB Beathard turns VR into reality

The 49ers made a late-night trade in April to move back into the end of the third round to select an unheralded quarterback from Iowa.

The deal did not come without some second-guessing. After all, why trade away a seventh-round pick for C.J. Beathard, when he was likely to be available five picks later with the 49ers’ next scheduled draft pick?

Beathard has done everything right since his arrival, seemingly justifying the 49ers' decision to make sure they secured him when they did. And a solid showing during training camp has placed him in position to overtake veteran Matt Barkley as the team’s No. 2 quarterback.

“That’s for the coaches to decide on and evaluate,” Beathard said. “I’m critical of myself and I feel like there were plays that I can improve on and get better at. That’s part of football. You’re never going to play a perfect game. I’m always trying to get better.”

Brian Hoyer strengthened his grasp on the 49ers’ starting job with an impressive training camp with his arm strength, accuracy, and knowledge and execution of Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

Beathard has saved his best performances for the two exhibition games with and against backup players. Beathard has completed 14 of 23 passes (60.9 percent) for 211 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating is 130.6.

“There were a couple third downs I thought he missed, but it was hard to get anyone in a rhythm that game,” Shanahan said after the 49ers’ 33-14 loss to the Denver Broncos on Saturday. “I think under the circumstances, he did solid.”

Beathard, the grandson of long-time NFL executive Bobby Beathard, led Iowa to a 12-2 record as a junior. His production dropped as a senior, as he completed 56.5 percent of his attempts with 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in the Hawkeyes' pro-style offense.

He entered training camp at No. 3 on the depth chart. He and Barkley have been assigned the same number of practice snaps since the team reported to Santa Clara in late-July.

But Beathard has taken advantage of technology to get more and more comfortable in the 49ers’ offense. The 49ers are one of six NFL teams that use STRIVR Labs as an aide in training players via virtual reality. The tool is especially useful for quarterbacks with the camera stationed approximately 10 yards behind the quarterback.

The 49ers have two stations inside Levi’s Stadium with VR headsets, and Beathard has taken full advantage of the resource to train his eyes to read defenses and route progressions. One source told NBC Sports Bay Area that Beathard recently reviewed more than 1,000 practice plays in a week with the technology on his own time.

“You only get limited reps in practice, but you’re able to watch through virtual reality, essentially every rep in practice – all of Brian’s and Matt’s and go back and watch mine, and kind of play things out in your head as you watch practice,” Beathard said.

Beathard's pedigree, football smarts and toughness are what originally drew Shanahan to him before the draft.

Beathard’s toughness was on display in the first exhibition game, when he hung in to deliver a pass down the field to Kendrick Bourne just moments before taking a hit from a Kansas City defensive lineman. Bourne turned it into a 46-yard touchdown.

On Saturday, Beathard executed a convincing play-fake to running back Kapri Bibbs before rolling to his left and tossing to tight end George Kittle, his Iowa teammate. Kittle turned upfield, ran over one would-be tackler, stiff-armed another and managed to stay in-bounds en route to a 29-yard touchdown.

Kittle, who caught two touchdowns passes from Beathard against Nebraska in their final game together at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium, is not surprised with how quickly Beathard has adapted in his first NFL training camp.

“He is the most competitive person I’ve ever met in my life,” Kittle said. “You’ve got a guy who just cares about football.”