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SANTA CLARA – Let’s just say, the 49ers’ passing game showed a lot of room for improvement during practice Tuesday afternoon.
Wide receivers Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Stevie Johnson and Quinton Patton did not take part in practice, though Crabtree, Johnson and Patton ran routes during warmups. Veteran Brandon Lloyd also saw limited time during the practice session.
Tight end Vernon Davis still has not made an appearance at the team’s offseason program due to his dissatisfaction over his contract.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick had a difficult time hooking up with the young wide receivers. His final throw during a two-minute drill was high and nowhere near the intended receiver, Chuck Jacobs, who may have zigged when Kaepernick expected him to zag. Cornerback Chris Cook dropped the would-be interception.
When asked about the passing game, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh admitted Tuesday’s work was “not as good as it has been.”
Said Harbaugh, “Just wasn’t as sharp and wasn’t clicking as much today.”
Even while practicing some red-zone throws with no defense, Kaepernick seemed to have difficulty competing throws to Crabtree, Patton and Johnson.
Kaepernick had some well-placed fade throws in the right back corner of the end zone, but his accuracy was not sharp on some short back-shoulder throws.
Here are some notes and observations from Tuesday’s practice:
--Jacobs, who spent his rookie season on the practice squad, had a particularly difficult day with a handful of dropped passes.
--Harbaugh took the glass-half-full approach. He gave credit to the 49ers’ pass defense. Rookie linebacker Chris Borland broke up passes from Blaine Gabbert and Josh Johnson.
“He’s probably leading the team right now in deflections and interceptions,” Harbaugh said of Borland, a third-round draft pick. “He’s been around the ball all spring. He’s doing a fine job.”
--Lawrence Okoye, at 304 pounds, lined up next to kicker Phil Dawson and was among the first players down the field on a kickoff drill. Harbaugh is getting used to seeing that, he said. “It doesn’t stand out as much now,” he said.
--Rookie outside linebacker Aaron Lynch sustained what appeared to be a right hamstring strain on the field kick-coverage drill. He sat out the remainder of practice. His status for next week’s mandatory minicamp might be in jeopardy.
--Guard Alex Boone, also seeking a new contract, remained away from the team’s voluntary offseason program.
--Tight end Derek Carrier got deep against safety D.J. Campbell and cornerback Darryl Morris to make a catch on an underthrown pass from Kaepernick down the right sideline.
--Campbell had an interception when a high pass from Kaepernick deflected off the hands of tight end Vance McDonald. Later, Kaepernick had incompletions on back-to-back passes that sailed high and off the hands of Jacobs and McDonald.
--The best play for the offense was on a red-zone drill when Kaepernick rolled right and found Devon Wylie, who had shaken free from Tramaine Brock’s coverage, for a touchdown. Brock lined up at left cornerback, while Chris Cook was at right cornerback with the No. 1 defense.
--Rookie receiver Bruce Ellington, working in the slot against Morris, caught a 10-yard pass in the practice-ending two-minute drill.
--Jonathan Martin, who returned to the practice field after missing the first two weeks of organized team activities with mononucleosis, shared practice time with Adam Snyder at right tackle on the first team.
--Former NFL offensive tackle Bob Whitfield, who joined the 49ers this week as a coaching intern, worked with the linemen on their punching technique on a heavy bag. Independent quarterbacks coach George Whitfield, no known relation to Bob, also joined the 49ers this week as part of the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship, Harbaugh said.