The San Francisco 49ers announced Wednesday they have signed QB Nate Davis to the team’s practice squad. To make room for Davis on the practice squad, the team released QB Jarrett Brown.
Tags: Nate Davis
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You will never hear Patrick Willis question the importance of practice. Not in mid-June, or in any month for that matter.
The 49ers three-time Pro Bowl linebacker and unquestioned defensive leader has been eager to return to the practice fields ever since he underwent a minor knee surgery this offseason.
In recent weeks, Willis has been slowly working over 49ers head athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson for permission to practice, asking him what he’s allowed to do each and every day he’s been around 49ers headquarters. And while Ferguson has limited Willis to individual work in last week’s organized team activities, this week was a different story.
Willis’ self-described gnat-like behavior must have paid off as Ferguson gave him the clearance to join 11-on-11 periods during Monday’s OTA session.
The wait was difficult for Willis, but he understood Ferguson’s reasoning and respected it.
“He’s one of the best trainers in the league and with my injuries before he’s done a great job of getting me ready, preparing me,” Willis said while standing in front of his locker. “I was just going to listen to him and let him tell me what to do, but at the same time, I had to bug him a little bit to let me get back out there. He gave me the ‘OK’ to participate in some of the drills and it felt good to get my feet wet and get back on the field with the boys.”
The feeling was beyond mutual.
Once Willis stepped into the huddle, outside linebacker Parys Haralson remarked, “The X-Factor is back!” Others chimed in, “Welcome back 52!”
Willis wasted no time validating the opinions of his teammates. He instantly got involved in the action by perfectly timing a delayed blitz for a would-be sack of quarterback Alex Smith.
Several plays later, he read an inside handoff to running back Glen Coffee and was in perfect position to make a play on the second-year back.
Not bad, considering Willis told reporters how he felt slower with his eyes than his feet after Monday’s practice.
With Willis back in the fold for the remainder of the offseason, the leader of the defense only sees a better performance for the entire unit in 2010.
“I think our defense can be exceptionally good. It’s going to take a lot of hard work. It’s going to take guys continuing to grow and be hungry and want to be stronger than we were before. We want to be No. 1, but if we can get in the top-3, I feel like that’s putting us in a great spot as an overall defense.”
Notes and Quotes
With Willis amongst his teammates for team periods, safety Taylor Mays took the opportunity to stand beside head coach Mike Singletary and secondary coach Johnnie Lynn deep in the 49ers defensive backfield. That location, some 40 yards behind the play, was Willis’ destination for most of the offseason. But on Monday, Mays took mental reps and asked questions in between the plays he participated in during the team period.
The first and only turnover of the day took place in the first team period, when safety Michael Lewis intercepted Smith’s pass intended for tight end Joe Jon Finley. The deep crossing route was first deflected high in the air by cornerback Kary Paymah, which allowed Lewis time to catch the ball and run it down the right sideline for a nice return.
The best offensive play took place later in practice as third-string signal caller Nate Davis found rookie wide receiver Kyle Williams 35 yards down the field on a go route over the coverage of undrafted cornerback Tramaine Brock.
Tags: Alex Smith, Karl Paymah, Kyle Williams, Michael Lewis, Nate Davis, Parys Haralson, Patrick Willis, Taylor Mays, Tramaine Brock
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What’s the best thing about being a rookie in the National Football League? The fact that there’s never just one on a team.
Fortunately for the 2010 class, each incoming 49ers rookie has a handful of teammates dealing with similar eye-opening experiences this week at the team’s four days of voluntary organized team activities. The rookies will have to adapt to their new surroundings and build bonds with one another quickly as they go through their first experiences in the game of professional football.
But after talking with some of the rookies on Tuesday, it sounds like they’re already leaning on each other just fine.
For 49ers first-round pick Anthony Davis, having a fellow first-round pick in guard Mike Iupati around has been extremely helpful as the two face similar challenges.
“Mike’s my boy,” Davis said when I asked him about spending time with Iupati off the field. “We would go over our plays and just talk about the daily things we go through just being a rookie, like getting the Gatorade for the guys and stuff like that.”
The two offensive linemen have their work cut out for them this week at OTAs as they try to learn an NFL playbook as quickly as possible. Davis said he already feels better with each workout amongst his new teammates.
“It’s going well, every day I’m getting a little better at it,” the No. 11 overall pick said. “Every day you have to give it all you got and then the next day you’ll be able to give it a little more.”
Davis instantly picked up on one of the major differences between the pro game and the college game – the concentration needed to be successful.
“Every play is like… if you’re not giving it everything than it won’t be enough,” he said.
Good thing for Davis is that he’s got a solid group of veteran linemen to learn from. He’s even picked up a training tip or two from right guard Chilo Rachal.
“Chilo has been helping me out a lot, just how to operate at this level basically. He’s always doing extra work (after practice) trying to be the best.”
Likewise, undrafted linebacker Mike Balogun is relishing the opportunity to work with the talented defensive players on the 49ers roster.
“I’m fortunate with this whole situation,” Balogun said. “I’m very grateful to come in and play with guys like Takeo Spikes and Patrick Willis. Those are guys who you can definitely learn from. Takeo’s been in the game for years and Pat’s probably the best one in the league right now. It’s a pleasure and I’m grateful.”
And just like Davis and Iupati’s relationship has blossomed, so has Balogun’s bond with 49ers third-round pick Navorro Bowman. The two inside linebackers were roommates at the team’s first rookie minicamp and have continued to build on their friendship since.
“We’re constantly talking,” Balogun said. “After meetings, on the field, when we’re in the hotel, we’re constantly talking because we’re together. We’re always asking each other ‘What’s this?’ or ‘What did you have on that play?’ We have to communicate if we want to get better.”
Notes and Quotes
Greg Manusky wore a microphone at practice today for TV49. Check out 49ers.com next week to relive the practice through the eyes of the 49ers defensive coordinator. It’s guaranteed to have some quality sound bites as well.
Keith Smith came up with the first turnover of the day, intercepting a deep Alex Smith pass intended for Michael Crabtree 35 yards down the center of the field. The veteran cornerback timed his jump perfectly and beat the second-year wideout to the ball.
Vernon Davis always looks fast after the catch, but it seems like he’s running with even more of a purpose once the balls in his hands this year. After a nice deep drag over the middle for a 10-yard gain, Davis flashed his Pro Bowl-caliber explosiveness, darting past multiple defenders as he took off 50 yards down the field. I remember Gary Plummer once telling me how Jerry Rice would run to the opposite end zone after every catch in practice to replicate doing it in a game. It appears as if Davis is trying a similar approach this year. He’s already taken off down the field a couple of times this week, should be interesting to see if it continues.
Reggie Smith became the second player with his namesake to come up with a turnover on Tuesday. Smith was the was the lucky recipient of an overthrown pass from backup quarterback David Carr to wide receiver Josh Morgan during 7-on-7 work.
Later in skelly (7-on-7) work, Morgan made an impressive catch on a flag route thrown by third-string quarterback Nate Davis. The second-year signal caller showed nice pocket presence, stepping up and to his left to make the deep sideline throw to Morgan, who used his big body to shield safety Curtis Taylor away from the ball.
Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye spoke with the media after practice on the state of the 49ers offense. Asked what are some of the things the unit can do this year that they couldn’t do 365 days before, Raye responded: “We’ve come almost 180 degrees from a year ago in terms of the basic, fundamental understanding of the words and the nomenclature of the system and trying to get passed that point. We’ve expedited that part of it so we don’t have to spend as much time on the rudiments of what we are doing, that we can review that and get onto the basic things. This is the first time that they would have had an opportunity to see cut-ups going into the next year. The work they did a year ago, we use that as teaching tools to advance and go forward as we install. So, we have some things that we identify that they are doing good and bad, and so it helps us tremendously where we are starting point-wise from when we walked in here February a year ago.” (Watch Raye’s press conference by clicking HERE).
The 49ers received a special visit on Tuesday from 15-year-old Brandon Dale of Santa Clara, who has been diagnosed with liver cancer. Brandon and his family spent the day watching practice, touring the facility and even met with players and coaches after practice. Brandon also spent time with his favorite player, linebacker Patrick Willis. TV49 caught up with the Dale’s after their visit and we’ll have much more on their experience.
Tags: Alex Smith, Anthony Davis, Curtis Taylor, David Carr, Greg Manusky, jimmy Raye, Keith Smith, Mike Balogun, Mike Iupati, Nate Davis, Navorro Bowman, Reggie Smith, Vernon Davis
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Head coach Mike Singletary spoke to the Bay Area media on Sunday following the 49ers 20-13 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Singletary began his conference call by announcing five roster cuts in order to get the team down to 75 players on the roster. The players who were release0de were kicker Alex Romero, cornerbacks Jahi Word-Daniels and Carlos Thomas, and wide receivers Chris Francies and Mark Bradford.
Singletary was asked several questions regarding his view on the game now that he’s watched the game film.
“It starts with the quarterback situation. I’m thankful that Shaun was able to come in after the week that he had,” Singletary said. “Obviously he wasn’t as sharp as we wanted him to be. We’re also missing Snyder and it will be nice to get Baas back as well… I thought the running game was decent. It wasn’t all bad, it just wasn’t what it had been.”
Reporters also asked about his evaluation of his team’s pass rushing efforts in Dallas.
“Right now, we’re not really game planning and we’re just letting our guys go with their best rush,” Singletary said. “It’s something we have to have in order to be a successful defense. As we get closer to the season, I look for more of those things to happen.”
Singletary later complimented the play of rookie quarterback Nate Davis.
“Nate continues to do a decent job. I think he’s settling down and the game is slowing down for him just a bit. Nate has done a good job finding guys and that’s always good to see.”
Lastly, Singletary was asked if the team would consider bringing in a new tackle to replace Marvel Smith, who retired prior to the Cowboys game.
“We continue to look at what we need in order to be successful on the offensive side of the ball. If we need to get another guy, then we’ll do that.”
Singletary also announced that outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks has a left knee contusion that caused him to be limited in action against Dallas. Also, wide receiver Arnaz Battle suffered a shoulder contusion in the game and safety Michael Lewis suffered a concussion.
Tags: Nate Davis, Shaun Hill
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Head coach Mike Singletary announced that Shaun Hill will be his starting quarterback this Friday night when the 49ers host the Denver Broncos at Candlestick Park.
“Shaun Hill will start the game,” Singletary said on Thursday after the team held a “mock game” practice. “I do not know who will start next week. Really it could have been Shaun Hill or Alex Smith. We chose Shaun Hill. Don’t read anything into it.”
Hill didn’t hear the news until he walked off the practice field, but no matter the timing of the announcement, he was pleased with the outcome.
“I’m just excited to get out there and play again,” Hill said. “I agree there’s no reason to read into this in any way, but obviously, my goal is to start every regular season game and go from there. I’m just excited for the opportunity.”
Other news from Singletary’s press conference included Frank Gore and Isaac Bruce’s playing time on Friday. Both players will not play against Denver. Rookie Glen Coffee will get the nod in the backfield, but Singletary said a replacement for Bruce has yet to be determined.
Singletary also said Hill’s playing time also hasn’t been finalized.
“Right now we’re just going to get into the flow of the game,” Singletary said. “I think the flow will dictate more or less, how much they (quarterbacks) will get to play.”
Although Hill’s getting the first crack with the first-team offense, Singletary said he’s more concerned with the end of the quarterback competition than the day-to-day details.
“I don’t care about today,” he said. “What I care about is at the end of it. One can go a little bit ahead and a little bit behind. In all fairness to them, that’s the only thing that I want to comment on is when we know what it is. But in terms of who it is, who’s ahead, who’s not, it really doesn’t matter right now for us.”
Fifth-round draft pick Nate Davis isn’t guaranteed playing time, but Singletary said he’d like to get the Ball State product into the game at some point.
Now that the first preseason game is one day away, the entire 49ers locker room is itching to compete against a different colored jersey.
“Everybody is very excited,” Hill said. “When you’ve been facing each other and going as hard as we’ve been at each other for a couple of weeks, you’re very excited to see a different uniform across from you. There’s a lot of excitement and optimism in that locker room heading into this season, without a doubt.”
Singletary canceled the team’s afternoon practice to let the players rest up for Friday.
You can purchase tickets for Friday’s game by clicking here!
Tags: Frank Gore, Isaac Bruce, Nate Davis, Shaun Hill
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