Practice 12: 49ers improve short-passing game

Practice 12: 49ers improve short-passing game
August 9, 2014, 3:45 pm
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Colin Kaepernick completed 16 of 24 pass attempts during 11-on-11 drills. (AP)

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OWINGS MILLS, Maryland – The 49ers’ offense was much-improved Saturday from their sub-50-percent passing performance against the Baltimore Ravens in the exhibition opener.

While the 49ers completed 70.9 percent of their passes during a joint practice between the teams on Saturday, they did not hit many big plays down the field.

The Ravens’ offense, meanwhile, had no shortage of big plays on the other field during the first of three days of joint practices between the teams.

Backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert had a bounce-back practice after struggling in the exhibition opener. He completed 12 of 17 passes against the Ravens – a vast improvement over the 3-of-11 passing performance from Thursday night.

[RELATED: Kaepernick, first offense generate only 49ers' points]

Here are some notes and observations from Saturday’s practice:

--Quarterback Colin Kaepernick had a solid practice, completing 16 of 24 pass attempts during 11-on-11 drills. He was intercepted during 7-on-7 work when his pass intended for Bruce Ellington was tipped and intercepted by safety Terrence Brooks.

--The deep 49ers’ only deep pass completion went from Kaepernick to tight end Derek Carrier, who worked wide open on a seam route 20 yard down the field.

--Quarterback Josh Johnson completed 7 of 11 passes. He threw a pass that safety Anthony Levine dropped. Then on the final play of practice, he made a nice throw at the sideline to Devon Wylie, who got both feet inbounds.

--Wide receiver Stevie Johnson had his best practice a member of the 49ers. His six catches during 11-on-11 work were split equally among Kaepernick and Gabbert. Anquan Boldin also caught six passes.

[RELATED: 49ers' Boldin appreciates support of Ravens fans]

--Quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson completed 9 of 10 passes. His only blemish was an interception by Ravens cornerback Marrio Norman.

--Bruce Ellington continued to work at punt returner. After muffing his first chance of the day, Ellington settled in and handled the rest of his chances flawlessly.

--Ravens receiver Marlon Jones got deep pass 49ers cornerback Chris Cook to catch a ball from quarterback Joe Flacco.

--Flacco and Michael Campanaro hooked up on a 50-yard pass against the coverage of rookie Dontae Johnson.

--Steve Smith got deep over the top of starting cornerback Chris Culliver to haul in a 40-yard pass from Flacco. Culliver also was called for pass interference on the play.

--Cornerback Perrish Cox recorded the 49ers’ only interception during 11-on-11 work. He also surrendered a touchdown to Steve Smith during a red-zone drill.

--Rookie outside linebacker Aaron Lynch beat the block of running back Bernard Pierce for a would-be sack.

--Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks broke up a Flacco pass at the line of scrimmage.

--Right tackle Jonathan Martin got knocked backward to the ground while working against Terrell Suggs during an 11-on-11 drill. Martin was replaced after being slow getting up. He was all right and returned to practice.

--Safety C.J. Spillman made a good play to break up a deep pass intended for Jacoby Jones.

On the next play, Flacco found Steve Smith for a 40-yard touchdown against the coverage of cornerback Darryl Morris.

--Safety Antoine Bethea broke up a Tyrod Taylor deep pass intended for tight end Owen Daniels.

--The 49ers caught several balls on Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith, including a Kaepernick pass in which Quinton Patton wrestled away from him on a slant patter.

--Andy Lee blasted a punt that sailed 75 yards in the air – far over the head of the Ravens return man.

Participation report
Daily transactions: The 49ers signed WR Lance Lewis; waived/injured WR Chuck Jacobs (torn ACL).
Did not practice: TE Vance McDonald (NA), DL Lawrence Okoye (ankle), WR Michael Crabtree (hamstring), WR Brandon Lloyd (hamstring), RB LaMichael James (dislocated elbow), RB Kendall Hunter (torn right ACL), CB Tramaine Brock (ankle), DL Justin Smith (offseason shoulder surgery), DL Ray McDonald (leg), RT Anthony Davis (offseason shoulder surgery).
Physically unable to perform: LB NaVorro Bowman (knee), NT Ian Williams (lower leg), TE Garrett Celek (back), DL Kaleb Ramsey (NA).
Non-football injury: RB Marcus Lattimore (knee/hamstring), FB Trey Millard (knee), CB Keith Reaser (knee) and G Brandon Thomas (knee).
Reserve/did not report: RG Alex Boone (contract holdout).