Several nice catches were made Monday at 49ers Training Camp presented by HP. Some from players you’d expect, and some from players you wouldn’t.
Defensive end Demarcus Dobbs falls in the latter category. The 6-foot-2, 275-pound defensive lineman was already praised by coaches for transforming his body this offseason. Now, Dobbs has even more to offer. The second-year player gave coaches more to consider with two strong catches while playing as a tight end in team periods.
First, Dobbs snatched a high pass from Alex Smith out of the air, despite the tight coverage of All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman. On the next play, however, Ahmad Brooks beat Dobbs’ blocking with an inside pass-rush move. Dobbs made amends later in practice with another strong catch, this time tracking in a deep crossing route from Smith that went for a 15-yard gain.
Let’s take a look at the other top highlights from Monday’s training camp session.
-Individual work began practice. Rookie LaMichael James worked on fielding punts alone with special teams coordinator Brad Seely and later joined running backs after catching several punts from a juggs machine.
-Quarterbacks played an accuracy contest at one point of individual work where the group alternated throwing nine footballs into target nets. There seemed to be great camaraderie among the group.
-Blitz pickup period featured several noticeable one-on-one battles between running backs and linebackers. Second-year runner Kendall Hunter fared well against Bowman in one particular matchup. Later, rookie Cam Johnson beat undrafted tight end Garrett Celek with a swim move to the inside.
-When wide receivers and cornerbacks worked on one-on-ones, Scott Tolzien stood out in a big way. The second-year signal caller hit Randy Moss in-stride on a deep double-move at the expense of Carlos Rogers. Tolzien also completed another deep ball to Brett Swain, who beat undrafted cornerback Deante’ Purivs with a double move of his own. Cornerback Chris Culliver closed out the period with a pass breakup on Colin Kaepernick’s pass intended for Nathan Palmer.
-In the first play of 7-on-7 period, Bowman broke up a quick pass from Tolzien to tight end Nate Byham. Plays later, Tolzien hooked up with Byham on a 10-yard in route behind the coverage of Patrick Willis. Alex Smith completed a 40-yard gain to Ted Ginn Jr. down the right sideline in the same 7-on-7 period.
-The first team period saw the first takeaway of the day, courtesy of Willis. A Tolzien pass that bounced off Celek’s chest found its way into Willis’ arms. It’s worth noting Tolzien would have likely been sacked on the play, but since he stepped up and threw it, we’ll give Willis credit for an interception.
-New guard Leonard Davis fared well against Isaac Sopoaga’s interior bull-rush during one-on-one pass blocking drills.
-Another 7-on-7 period saw Culliver record an interception on a Josh Johnson pass. Undrafted wide receiver Brian Tyms slipped on his comeback route, allowing Culliver to make the easy catch. The period ended with Culliver giving up a reception. A.J. Jenkins slid in front of Culliver and undrafted safety Michael Thomas to catch a skinny post from Smith.
-Play of the day honors went to undrafted defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie who has fared well in one-on-one drills. On this occasion, Jerod-Eddie brushed off an offensive linemen to tackle Rock Carwright for a loss in the final team period.
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