Maiocco: Observations from Camp Alex


Maiocco: Observations from Camp Alex

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Today marks the one-week anniversary of the opening of "Camp Alex," the first 49ers' players-organized practice sessions since the 1987 strike.Here are some quick thoughts after being around for the final three days of the work at San Jose State:
--There's not much more that could be expected from unsigned quarterback Alex Smith during this work stoppage. He is living up to expectations in March, April, May and June. And none of it will matter one bit unless he also plays well and leads the 49ers to some victories in September, October, November and December.--As much recognition as Alex Smith got for being the ringleader for the week of work, he was not alone. Offensive lineman Joe Staley got in touch with rookies Daniel Kilgore and Mike Person and invited them to bunk at his place. He has stepped up as the leader on the offensive line.WATCH: More video from Camp Alex
--Adam Snyder, who knows every position on the offensive line, also did his fair share when the linemen broke into a separate groups to go over their protection assignments. Snyder, by the way, looks to be in tremendous physical condition. He has dropped his weight to 300 pounds by declining super-sized eating portions. His weight is lower than it has been since he was a sophomore at Oregon, he said.
--Center David Baas said he wants to re-sign with the 49ers. And he proved it when he took a cross-country flight to participate in the final day. He came into the NFL at the same time as Alex Smith, so there's been no system continuity in his career, either. "Let's be honest," Baas said. "I've had six different playbooks. If I can't learn a playbook quickly, something's wrong. I think I messed up and said one old call out there (Thursday) versus a new call. I'm a smart guy. I'm going to pick it up."--Remember the talk a week after the draft that rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick was going to learn the 49ers' playbook from Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck? "Yeah, that was blown way out of proportion," Kaepernick said. The 49ers' playbook is different from the Stanford playbook. Kaepernick said there was never any talk of getting Luck to teach him the playbook. Luck doesn't even know the 49ers' playbook. If Kaepernick has any questions, he's asking Alex Smith.--And Alex Smith seems to know the playbook very well. His practices were very well organized. And, apparently, so were his hour-long classroom sessions. "Alex is pretty much up there and going through it like the offensive coordinator would," 49ers running back Anthony Dixon said. "It's amazing how much he knows. He know the ins and outs and all the crazy (details) we got. It's great to hear. I'm behind him 100 percent because when your quarterback is out there speaking the offense as fluent as he is, it makes you feel like it's going to be a good year."RELATED: Jim Harbaugh expects July lockout settlement; praises Smith
--Dixon is looking to put himself into position to be more of a contributor after an up-and-down rookie season. "The biggest thing is attitude," Dixon said. "You have to have the right attitude the whole year because it's so long. I feel off last year in that area. This year, I'm going to work on staying mentally focused and the right attitude and mindset."--Rookie running back Kendall Hunter looks quick and explosive. Dixon was happy that the 49ers drafted him because, he said, "They got us more help. Those reps get crazy in camp and in the preseason."
--There's no reason for the defensive players to get together in large groups because there's no teamwork aspects they can practice. Nobody has defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's playbook. That said, Justin Smith is clearly the leader on that side of the ball. He showed up Thursday with first-round pick Aldon Smith tagging along. Isaac Sopoaga, Parys Haralson, Curtis Taylor and Ray McDonald are the other defensive players showing up on a consistent basis.--McDonald, like Alex Smith and David Baas, is a scheduled free agent. I'd be very surprised if all three of those players are not re-signed shortly after the lockout concludes.RELATED: Baas shows commitment after cross country flight
--Yes, I believe Delanie Walker will see more passes come his way as the second tight end. The 49ers have used a lot of two-TE sets the past couple seasons, so Walker's role is not going to change that much. It's just that the 49ers should be better-prepared to exploit mismatches with a more sound offensive philosophy.--One of the goals of last week was to avoid injuries, Alex Smith said. Michael Crabtree took part in the classwork, but he sat out the final three days of practices with foot problems. Second-year receiver Kyle Williams pulled up with a left hamstring strain on the final day. The San Jose State athletic trainers took care of him. He was seen later walking around gingerly. He'll probably take some time off, but he should be OK.
--Speaking of San Jose State . . . The university did a phenomenal job of taking care of the 49ers and the assembled media. Alex Smith asked the director of strength and conditioning Chris Holder to get the players stretched out before practice. Holder gladly obliged. Sports information director Lawrence Fan was equally accommodating and gracious in working with the media members.

Injury report: 49ers DL Dial sits out practice with elbow


Injury report: 49ers DL Dial sits out practice with elbow

SANTA CLARA – Defensive lineman Quinton Dial was held out of practice Wednesday due to an elbow that places his availability in question for the 49ers’ game Sunday against the New York Jets.

Dial returned to action on Sunday against the Chicago Bears after missing the previous game with neck and knee issues. Newly acquired defensive lineman Chris Jones started the past two games in place of Dial.

Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch continues to be hobbled with a high-ankle sprain. He has missed the past five games with the injury. Lynch took part in limited practice on Wednesday

Did not practice
DT Quinton Dial (elbow)
DT Glenn Dorsey (knee)
RB Shaun Draughn (ribs)
LB Eli Harold (toe)
LB Aaron Lynch (ankle)
Full participation
DT Ronald Blair (hamstring)
C Daniel Kilgore (hamstring)

Did not practice
S Antonio Allen (concussion)
T Breno Giacomini (back, calf, shoulder)
C Nick Mangold (ankle)
WR Jalin Marshall (concussion)
LB Lorenzo Mauldin (ankle)
DT Steve McLendon (hamstring)
LB Julian Stanford (ankle)
DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle)
DE Leonard Williams (illness)
RB Matt Forte (knee, foot)
S Calvin Pryor (concussion)
Full participation
WR Brandon Marshall (knee, foot)
CB Nick Marshall (ankle)
CB Marcus Williams (ankle)

Marshall: Fuzzy memory of first meeting with Ward due to painkillers


Marshall: Fuzzy memory of first meeting with Ward due to painkillers

SANTA CLARA – Wide receiver Brandon Marshall supplied 49ers defensive back Jimmie Ward with the first learning experience of his NFL career early in his rookie season.

Ward has a vivid memory of the game – just his second in the NFL – and the three touchdowns passes Marshall caught on him to lead the Chicago Bears to a 28-20 victory over the 49ers in the first regular-season game played at Levi’s Stadium.

But Marshall, now a member of the New York Jets, admitted Wednesday to having a fuzzy recollection of that game due to painkillers he was prescribed in order to play in the game. Marshall, an 11-year NFL veteran, was in his third and final season with the Bears.

“Well, I don’t really remember much about that game because, uh, I worked really hard to get back from a high-ankle (sprain) . . . I don’t want to go there,” Marshall said, beginning to laugh on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

“I’ll say it: I took a couple pain pills, so . . . I took a couple of pain pills to mask the pain. I really wasn’t supposed to play. I came back from a high ankle, you know, within 10 days. I was supposed to be out four-to-six weeks. So I don’t remember much from that game. I just remember catching those balls. That was pretty much it.”

Marshall was listed as questionable for the game. On the day of the game, ESPN reported, citing a source, that there was a "75 percent" chance neither Marshall nor Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) would play. Both receivers played in the game.

Marshall had five receptions for 48 yards with touchdown catches of 17, 5 and 3 yards while being matched in the slot against Ward, the 49ers’ first-round pick in that year’s draft. That game served as a study guide for Ward.

“Yeah, I watched it a lot,” Ward said. “It was my welcome-to-the-NFL game. Just looking forward to going against Brandon Marshall for the second time in my career.”

Ward will undoubtedly see plenty of Marshall on Sunday when the 49ers face the Jets on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. Marshall may not remember much from facing Ward two seasons ago, but he said he has been impressed with what he sees on film.

“I think he’s really tough,” Marshall said. “He’s tough and he’s crafty and savvy. This is a guy that seems to really study the game and understands his opponent. If you go out there and give him the same release two or three times in a row, nine times out of 10, he’s going to get the best of you. We have to do a better job than him this week of studying film and trying to outwork him mentally.”

Marshall’s revelation that his memory of the 2014 game against the 49ers is clouded due to the use of painkillers comes at a time when Warriors coach Steve Kerr last week said on the Warriors Insider Podcast that he tried marijuana in hopes it would provide relief during the back issues that forced him to take a leave of absence of nearly four months.

“I’m not a pot person; it doesn’t agree with me,” Kerr told CSN Bay Area’s Monte Poole. “I’ve tried it a few times, and it did not agree with me at all. So I’m not the expert on this stuff. But I do know this: If you’re an NFL player, in particular, and you’ve got a lot of pain, I don’t think there is any question that pot is better for your body than Vicodin. And yet athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it’s Vitamin C, like it’s no big deal.”

When asked for his stance on whether the NFL should reconsider its position to include marijuana as a banned substance, Marshall received some direction from a Jets public-relations employee who could be heard in the background of the call saying that Marshall “knows better than that.”

But Marshall answered the question, saying that he wants to learn more about the subject.

“I do not have a stance on that," Marshall said. "That is something that I actually want to research more this offseason when I have time. I’m not a guy that knows about the benefits of what it can do for pain and other things. But I’d like to hear others’ opinions and really research the effects it can have on us -- positives and negatives.”