Thursday was a day for the defense. On the sixth session of 49ers Training Camp presented by HP, seven interceptions were recorded at the expense of all four of the 49ers quarterbacks. Linebacker Michael Wilhoite led the pick party with two takeaways in the final team period.
All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman got things started, intercepting Alex Smith in the very first red zone 7-on-7 period. Bowman stepped in front Smith’s intended target, tight end Vernon Davis, to make a tough grab away from his body. Plays later, fellow linebacker Larry Grant intercepted Scott Tolzien’s quick out intended for undrafted rookie tight end Garrett Celek.
Safeties Colin Jones, Michael Thomas and Darcel McBath all recorded interceptions in later periods of practice.
Let’s take a look at the top highlights from Thursday’s session.
-Four-time 49ers Super Bowl champion Jesse Sapolu visited practice and spent time conversing with 49ers CEO Jed York during the start of practice.
-All-Pro defensive tackle Justin Smith took the day off, presumably as a veteran’s day off (Jim Harbaugh gave select veterans time off last year in camp). Wide receiver Mario Manningham took part in all drills after being a limited practice participant in recent days.
-Following the opening red zone 7-on-7 period that saw Bowman and Grant make interceptions, Thomas recorded his takeaway on a pass deflection from cornerback Perrish Cox to end the second-team offense’s drive in a two-minute drill scenario.
-In a later team period, Jones intercepted Tolzien on an errant pass. Anthony Dixon added a 14-yard run behind the blocking of converted defensive tackle Will Tukuafu, who played fullback at practice and later caught a red zone touchdown pass from Tolzien.
-Play of the day honors went to Alex Smith and his 50-yard pass down the field to Randy Moss for an easy touchdown. The veteran wideout got behind rookie safety Trenton Robinson’s coverage. Smith was later intercepted by McBath, who caught a deflection off Manningham’s fingertips.
-Wilhoite recorded his interceptions first on Josh Johnson, as a result of a deflection off of A.J. Jenkins’ hands. Wilhoite added a second takeaway by stepping in front of a Smith pass over the middle.
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