Summary: The 49ers held their first padded practice of training camp Sunday, and with the pads finally going on, the players on both lines got their first real opportunities to do what they do.
Nobody took advantage of that more than defensive lineman Justin Smith, the team's MVP last season.
Smith blew up several plays from his position at right defensive tackle. During 11-on-11 plays, Smith knocked offensive lineman Derek Hall on his back on one play. A short time later, Smith leveled backup center Daniel Kilgore. During team drills, Smith joined Aldon Smith and Ray McDonald in picking up would-be quarterback sacks.
"The guys up front really get a lot of work mentally over the course of the offseason. But to simulate playing low, playing hard, playing aggressive, second, third effort, pads are required," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "So, that'll be the first thing we're going to really stress and focus on with these guys is getting them to play lower pad level coming off the offseason."
Injury report: Receiver Michael Crabtree did not take part in any portion of practice for the second day in a row with an apparent right lower leg injury. Crabtree came out to the field late in practice. He had Kinesio tape on the back of his right lower leg, an indication he has a calf strain. The 49ers have not disclosed the specifics of Crabtree's injury . . .
Linebacker Tavares Gooden did not practice due to an illness. . . Receiver Joe Hastings went down with a right leg injury during the individual portion or drills. Although he remained on the field for practice, he did not run any more routes. . . . Guard Joe Looney (foot) and running back Jewel Hampton are on the non-football injury list, while outside linebacker Darius Fleming (knee) is on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
No-fight zone: Earlier in the day, Harbaugh said he would not tolerate scuffles on the practice field. "We want no fights, he said. "When guys are punching other guys in the helmet, why would we want that? That's not going to help us win games. We'll be proactive with that and when tempers flare, you handle it. So, we have a team that's willing to do that together, coaches, staff, players handle those kind of issues-before they happen, hopefully."
Harbaugh demonstrated his no-tolerance policy when he ordered rookie receiver Brian Tyms off the field midway through practice. According to eye-witness Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group, Tyms upended rookie safety Trenton Robinson during a special-teams drill and then "verbally taunted" Robinson. Tyms left the field. After practice, he came out to the speak with Harbaugh on the field. Harbaugh appeared to have some pointed comments to Tyms. The two men shook hands at the conclusion of the discussion.
Notable: Receiver Kyle Williams tried to haul in a pass from Josh Johnson and keep his feet in-bounds at the sideline. When the ball fell to the ground, Williams kicked it in frustration. The ball hit the top of the green-tarped fence and bounced over into the driveway behind the team's practice facility. Williams sheepishly returned to the huddle.
Rookie report: First-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins made a nice catch during a one-on-one session against physical coverage from cornerback Perrish Cox. . . Undrafted rookie receiver Nathan Palmer, however, was the standout rookie of the day. He turned around Carlos Rogers with an inside release to catch a pass during one-on-one drills. During 7-on-7, he beat Rogers and Donte Whitner to catch a pass from Scott Tolzien about 40 yards down the field. Working again against the first-team defense, he made a nice catch of a slightly off-target throw from Colin Kaepernick. But all was not perfect. Near the end of practice, Palmer reacted with frustration when he dropped a pass from Tolzien on a deep crossing crossing pattern.
Extra work: Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and Randy Moss took turns providing physical distractions to each other while catching passes from the Jugs machine after practice. Davis gave Gore gentle shoves in the back as the passes were coming to him. Moss and Davis took turns softly grabbing each other's arms with the spirals en route. During the 7-on-7 session of practice Moss made an amazing juggling catch below his knees at the left sideline on a pass Kaepernick fired with safety C.J. Spillman nearby.
Tying up loose ends: Linebackerfullback Michael Wilhoite played offense for most of the practice. With about 30 minutes remaining, Wilhoite took off the red jersey to expose a white jersey. He finished the practice at linebacker.
Next practice: The 49ers return the practice field Monday with a practice in full pads. The 49ers are scheduled to practice from 2:30 to 5:10 p.m. None of the 49ers' practices in Santa Clara this summer are open to the general public due to the ongoing stadium construction.