Jim Harbaugh made waves Tuesday at the end of 49ers Training Camp presented by HP. The NFL’s Coach of the Year said his quarterback is an “expert” at understanding the offense.
Smith’s rebuttal: “Not at all, a lot to learn.”
If that’s the case, there’s a lot to like for 49ers fans.
Smith used one play to beat the first-team defense in a two-minute period. Trailing by four points and in need of a touchdown against one of the league’s top defensive units, Smith launched a 40-yard deep ball to tight end Vernon Davis for an easy score.
Harbaugh acknowledged the passing game’s progress in camp, but said it’s not finalized.
“I think there’s been improvement,” he said, “but we’re still not where we want to be.”
The 49ers coach envisions his quarterback’s improved understanding of Greg Roman’s offense enabling greater success in 2012. It could also prompt even more creativity.
“Everyone strives to be creative as a coach, putting players in position to be successful and our guys are stimulated by that,” Harbaugh said.
“We’re not going to be the same team,” said the quarterback, who’s developed a greater understanding of his new receiver’s body language and style of play in a short amount of time.
In knowing the offense better as well as its play-makers, Smith is eager to get the season started. So far, he’s enjoyed the challenging matchups against San Francisco’s stingy defense, but he understands there are bigger battles to come.
Great expectations won’t damper that feeling either.
“It’s all about what we expect,” Smith said. “It doesn’t matter what anybody else is thinking.”
Let’s take a look at the top highlights from Tuesday’s session.
-In red zone 7-on-7 work, Smith completed a 10-yard touchdown to Kyle Williams, who found an opening in front of safety Donte Whitner’s coverage. Colin Kaepernick appeared to have a touchdown pass to Randy Moss, but cornerback Chris Culliver reached in at the last moment to record a pass breakup. On the next play, Culliver broke up a Kaepernick pass intended for Michael Crabtree. Moss, however, got his touchdown in the period on a post pattern thrown from Kaepernick.
-In a scout offense versus first-team defense period in the red zone, Carlos Rogers nearly recorded an interception on Scott Tolzien’s pass intended for Chris Owusu. The Pro Bowl cornerback didn’t record the pick, but broke up a would-be touchdown. Later in the period, Josh Johnson rolled out of the pocket and completed a short touchdown to undrafted wideout Nathan Palmer in the back left corner of the end zone.
-One of the best throws and catches on the day was turned in during the second red zone period. Kaepernick completed a perfect end zone fade route to Davis, who out-jumped safety Cory Nelms to make the grab. Later in the period, undrafted wideout Brian Tyms caught a pair of touchdowns from Johnson and Tolzien, respectively.
-In a later red zone team period, the team utilized loud music to simulate the road environment they’ll encounter this Saturday against the Houston Texans. During the period, Smith completed a 11-yard touchdown to Crabtree on a slant pattern.
-Davis’ first touchdown grab was remarkable in its own right, but his second scoring play of the day had the most significance. With the music blaring once again, the first-team offense had to drive the field. So much for a drive. Smith threw a perfect 40-yard pass to Davis, who got past Patrick Willis to catch the deep corner route. Needless to say, the offense was pumped to score in one play.
-The second-team offense, with Johnson under center, almost scored on its own 40-yard passing play. However, Harbaugh ruled Kourtnei Brown sacked Johnson before he launched a deep ball to Chris Owusu.
Posted in Announcements | 6 Comments »