Rain, rain -- here to stay

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Rain, rain -- here to stay

The dark clouds that loomed over the 49ers practice facility Thursday made head coach Jim Harbaugh downright giddy. Admiral Halsey once said, If youre going to fight in the North Atlantic then youve got to prepare in the North Atlantic, Harbaugh said enthusiastically to the local and national media. Theyre anticipating some rain on Sunday. We wont know until Sunday morning until we can check the sky. But excited that we may get some rain today in practice to help us prepare for the ballgame Sunday.
The rain, and two days to practice in it, is welcome to a coach who thrives on preparation and details. The 49ers near perfect season has been accompanied by near perfect weather. They only game they experienced a slick field was their 23-7 win over Arizona at home on November 20. Rain pelted the Bay Area leading up to the game, but the skies cleared by game time and the conditions weren't unbearable by any standard. The forecast for the NFC Championship is more ominous, and the 49ers have already accounted for it in their game planning. You try to play the game in your head all week and when you have bad weather you start picturing that field all mudded up and you start going through contingencies in your mind, offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. Theres no doubt. You have to. As far as it affects me and play calling, added defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, it will be what I see out there. As far as what the effects of the field actually are.Fangio will let each of his defensive players decide which type of cleats he prefers to wear. He admits many of the players dont like the longer cleats in muddy conditions because it slows them down. But Tom Rathman doesnt appear to be leaving the debate open for the running backs. Anthony Dixon told CSNBayarea.com that his position coach told the group to wear their inch cleats. Rathman spent eight seasons playing on the same field the current 49ers use, and won two Super Bowls in that span, so Dixon and his teammates have no reason to doubt him. A wet field will certainly be an issue for them and other skilled positions as well.I think the receivers probably have an advantage on the defensive backs because they know where theyre going. And the defensive backs have to react so if the footings poor, advantage offense, Roman said. On the same token, running backs cant hit a hole or make a cut like they normally would, so advantage defense. It works both ways."Roman also feels the pass rush is negatively affected by muddy turf. But both teams have to play through the same conditions. So it still comes down to which team prepares and plays better. The field condition, this and that, the tide, said defensive end Justin Smith. It really doesnt matter. They are going to run ball, they are going play action thats what they do. They arent going to change who they are at this point of the season.And neither are the 49ers. Though they hope to be better at this colder and wetter point of the 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.