49ers notes -- Smith, Hunter deliver


49ers notes -- Smith, Hunter deliver

With Alex Smith under pressure, Kendall Hunter improvised and found a soft spot in the Eagles' defense. The resulting catch-and-run gained 44 yards and the coaches attention.

We made a big deal of that in the meeting when the unit was watching the film, head coach Jim Harbaugh said. That was them. Id love to stand up here and say that was something we coached, but that was those two guys being football players making a play.

The rookie has had nine carries and two receptions in each of the last two games, including the 49ers only touchdown in the win over the Bengals, and is likely to see more playing time regardless of Frank Gore's injury status.

Thats very possible, Harbaugh said. Its all part of the game plan week to week. But as far as Kendall, he has done very well. Hes graded out very well in his position. Last week worked with Alex on the scramble play to make a big play in the ballgame. So hes making the most of his opportunities.

O-LINE ACCOLATES: Harbaugh commended the 49ers' blocking in the final two drives in the win over the Eagles.

The timing was there, the angles were there, the pad level was right, Harbaugh said. And also Frank had taken the mental reps during practice and fit right into the scheme without taking a rep. Pretty impressive.

Harbaugh started Adam Snyder at right guard over Chilo Rachal, but Rachal was in at right guard and Snyder as a tight end on Gore's 12-yard go ahead touchdown run. On the next possession when Gore carried five times to pick up two first downs and run out the clock, Rachal and Snyder were both on the field for four of those plays.

Not wanting to start a right guard controversy Harbaugh is reluctant to say who will start at right guard this week against the Bucs.

In some form or fashion, thats all part of the game plan and how you implement the guys there, Harbaugh said. But definitely in a similar form or fashion going forward there.

WITHOUT TUAKUAFU: With defensive tackle Will Tuakuafu on the injured reserve, Harbaugh says either Demarcus Dobbs or Ian Williams will be active this Sunday against Tampa Bay. Both were signed as undrafted free agent rookies and have not been active for any of the 4 games this season.

Reid: National anthem protest accomplished goal of awareness

Reid: National anthem protest accomplished goal of awareness

SANTA CLARA – Safety Eric Reid and linebacker Eli Harold, who joined Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem last season, will not continue the protest this season.

Reid said Wednesday they achieved their goal of bringing attention to racial inequality in the United States.

“When we started doing that, our goal was to open up the floor to conversation. I believe we’ve achieved that goal,” Reid said. “So now we just want to move forward and just partner with people that’s trying to make a change.

“We accomplished that goal. People talked about it. I think we raised a lot of awareness about issues in this country. And now it’s time to move on to just affecting change.”

Reid and Harold are back with the 49ers, while Kaepernick remains a free agent. The 49ers have expressed no interest in retaining Kaepernick after opting to sign free-agent quarterback Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, instead.

“I stay in touch with him,” Reid said of Kaepernick. “I’m rooting for him. Obviously, he isn’t on a team, yet, but I’m rooting for him but hopefully he gets that call after the draft.

“It’s surprising. You see some of the other quarterbacks that have been signed around the league and why he hasn’t been, it’s just unfortunate.”

When asked if thought Kaepernick was paying the price for his protest, Reid answered, “I think so. It’s unfortunate, it’s sad. People want to shy away from him because of media, PR reasons.

“You’re doing something to better the world. I mean, the guy got a plane sent to Somalia to help with the famine there. He’s been doing things that if it were anybody else in a different situation without the anthem (protest), they’d be praising him and giving him awards for it.”


Coming off Achilles injury, Bowman returns to 49ers practice at full speed

Coming off Achilles injury, Bowman returns to 49ers practice at full speed

SANTA CLARA – NaVorro Bowman, who sustained a season-ending torn Achilles in Week 4 of the 2016 season, has been a full participant as the 49ers return to the practice field this week.

Bowman worked with the first team at middle linebacker Wednesday and appeared to move at top speed as the 49ers went through the second day of on-field workouts at a voluntary minicamp.

The 49ers, under new coach Kyle Shanahan, are allowed an extra voluntary minicamp as part of their offseason program. Bowman's return to the practice field was the highlight as the 49ers enter their third-week of the offseason program.

In other notes:

--The 49ers had tryouts with three unsigned veteran players: cornerback Steve Williams, and offensive linemen Tim Barnes and Kitt O’Brien.

--Wide receiver DeAndre Carter made the best catch of the day on a deep throw from quarterback Matt Barkley. Carter beat Williams on the reception.

--Defensive lineman Arik Armstead, who is a candidate to play the “Leo” position, was held out of competitive drills as he continues to recovery from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

--Ronald Blair lined up at the “Leo” position with the first-team defense and beat No. 2 right tackle Garry Gilliam for a sack in the “non-contract” drills. Aaron Lynch was at the “Leo” position with the second team.

--Tank Carradine lined up at the 5-technique, which is a position where the 49ers could target Stanford’s Solomon Thomas with the No. 2 overall pick.

--Kyle Juszczyk showed the versatility that prompted the 49ers to make him the highest-paid fullback in the league with several pass receptions during the 90-minute practice.

--Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson lined up at the cornerbacks with the first-team defense. Robinson made a leaping interception of a Brian Hoyer deep sideline pass against Rashad Ross during 7-on-7 drills.

--Hoyer and receiver Pierre Garçon teamed up for a 20-yard completion on the opening play of the 11-on-11 period.

--Wide receiver Bruce Ellington, who spent all of last season on injured reserve, did not practice due to a soft-tissue injury not related to his hamstring injury of a year ago.

--Offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah (soft tissue), tight end Je’Ron Hamm (leg), running back Raheem Mostert (soft tissue), linebacker Eli Harold (toe) and tight end Blake Bell (cut forehead) did not practice.