Looney passes physical, ready to join 49ers competition

Looney passes physical, ready to join 49ers competition
July 31, 2012, 7:09 pm
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SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers have their first day off of training camp on Tuesday after four days of practices, including the team's first two padded workouts.There are 90 players on the 49ers' roster and only the three players who were placed on either non-football or football injury lists (Joe Looney, Jewel Hampton and Darius Fleming) have not taken part in any practices.That will change on Wednesday when rookie guard Joe Looney is eligible to practice for the first time. Looney has passed a physical and was activated from the activenon-football injury list, the 49ers announced Tuesday.Looney underwent offseason surgery to repair a foot fracture that he sustained during practice for the Senior Bowl. He was a fourth-round draft pick from Wake Forest.Receiver Michael Crabtree participated in the first practice Friday but came up hobbling with 20 minutes remaining with a right lower leg injury -- believed to be a calf strain. General manager Trent Baalke said the injury is not a concern, though it's not known when Crabtree will be available to return to practice.Some observations through the first four practices:--The competition is fierce during this camp at every position, particularly at the back end of the roster.--Alex Smith is clearly performing at a level higher than the other quarterbacks. And none of the other three -- Colin Kaepernick, Josh Johnson and Scott Tolzien -- has taken a step away from the pack. Each has provided good moments and not-so-good moments.--Undrafted rookie Nathan Palmer might not have the speed and explosion of first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins, but he shows up on the practice field. There's a reason the 49ers gave Palmer the biggest signing bonus (10,000) of any of the team's undrafted rookies. It would not be a shock to see Palmer get limited play time in the exhibition season so the 49ers could expose him to waivers without much concern of losing him.
--How does Jenkins look? He does not look "outstanding." But he also does not look like a "bust."
--Undrafted rookie Chris Owusu has not been involved in much action. The only time I see much of him is during individual drills, and he looks good in those sessions.--Cornerback Perrish Cox has been better in coverage than Tramaine Brock, who has gotten beat deep several times by the 49ers' top receivers, including Randy Moss, in one-on-one drills.
--Carlos Rogers and Moss have been matched up a lot, and Moss and has won that matchup more often than not.--Coach Jim Harbaugh said reserve running back Anthony Dixon has asked to be involved in the competition at fullback. I have yet to see Dixon take snaps at fullback in two-back personnel groups.--Of course, this is the first opportunity I've gotten to see Brandon Jacobs practice in a training camp, but I've been impressed with his speed through the hole.--Running backs LaMichael James and Kendall Hunter are doing many of the same things on offense. James is the quickest of the backs -- no surprise. The staff also appears to want to give James an opportunity to see if he can be reliable on punt returns. Special-teams coordinator Brad Seely worked one-on-one with James on that phase of the game before practice Monday.--Leonard Davis has worked at right guard during team drills. With a larger body of work at left guard, Davis can still earn a roster spot even if he does not emerge as the starter ahead of Alex Boone. If Boone latches onto the starting job, Davis can be an insurance policy as the backup at both guard spots. Following is a very-much unofficial depth chart. It's difficult to determine the exact pecking order of the running backs, receivers, tight ends and defensive backs beyond the first couple of groups because those units are always mixing and matching.Not every player is listed. And, again, don't get too fixated on the backs and receivers. The depth chart at those spots is an approximation, based on the number of reps and involvement I see from those players.

OFFENSE
QB: Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Josh Johnson, Scott Tolzien
RB: Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Brandon Jacobs, LaMichael James, Anthony Dixon, Rock Cartwright
RB: Bruce Miller, Michael Wilhoite, Will Tukuafu, Cameron Bell
WR: (Michael Crabtree), Ted Ginn, Kyle Williams, A.J. Jenkins, Chris Owusu, Ben Hannula
WR: Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, Brett Swain, (Joe Hastings), Nathan Palmer, Brian Tyms
TE: Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Nate Byham, Demarcus Dobbs, Konrad Reuland, Garrett Celek, Kyle Nelson
LT: Joe Staley, Mike Person, Garrett Chisolm
LG: Mike Iupati, Derek Hall Al Netter
C: Jonathan Goodwin, Daniel Kilgore, Jason Slowey, Chase Beeler
RG: Alex Boone, Leonard Davis, Chase Beeler
RT: Anthony Davis, Kenny Wiggins, Garrett ChisolmDEFENSE
LDE: Ray McDonald, Will Tukuafu, Tony Jerod-Eddie
NT: Isaac Sopoaga, Ian Williams, Patrick Butrym
RDE: Justin Smith, Ricky Jean Francois, Matthew Masifilo
LOLB: Ahmad Brooks, Parys Haralson, Cam Johnson
ILB: Patrick Willis, Larry Grant, Joe Holland
ILB: NaVorro Bowman, Tavares Gooden, Michael Wilhoite
ROLB: Aldon Smith, Eric Bakhtiari, Kourtnei Brown
LCB: Carlos Rogers, Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox, Anthony Mosley, (Curtis Holcomb)
RCB: Tarell Brown, Tramaine Brock, Deante Purvis
S: Dashon Goldson, Trenton Robinson, Michael Thomas, Cory Nelms
S: Donte Whitner, C.J. Spillman, Darcel McBath, Colin Jones, Mark LeGree (Players listed in parenthesis are injured.)