In the short amount of time Karl Paymah has been a part of the 49ers this offseason, several things have impressed the free agent cornerback.
But in particular, the 49ers secondary coaches, Johnnie Lynn and Vance Joseph have really had a positive influence on Paymah already.
“To tell you the truth I think they are the best DB coaches I’ve had since I’ve been in the NFL,” said the five-year veteran, who is with his third team. “I’ve never pounded technique as much as I do here. They’ve instilled confidence in all of us. They believe in you, they trust you and they’re going to let you play the game. It’s a good situation.”
Lynn is entering his 17th NFL season, and sixth season with the 49ers. For his entire tenure in the Bay Area, Lynn has shared the position group with Joseph, who has coached all six of his NFL seasons with the 49ers.
As a former defensive coordinator with the New York Giants, Lynn is one of the team’s most respected coaches, that’s why he’s also the team’s special assistant to the head coach. Although he’s mostly known by outsiders for his raspy voice which tends to give-way the first week of training camp, inside the building Lynn is one of the most respected coaches. The same goes for Joseph, who is not afraid to motivate players if he’s not satisfied with their effort.
Paymah showed early return on the wisdom he’s attained so far from both coaches, intercepting a pass from Alex Smith at Wednesday’s voluntary organized team activity.
“I was just out there playing,” Paymah said downplaying the turnover. “I knew the situation and I just reacted. I tried to get a good jam on (Ted Ginn Jr.) and I noticed him trying to cut back, I was surprised (Smith) threw the ball. I just tried to beat him to the ball and make a play.”
Paymah’s pretty interception on such a nice day weather-wise was fitting for the defensive back, considering how much he was looking forward to Bay Area weather when signing with the 49ers in March.
“It’s beautiful out there, sometimes I refer to it as Club Med,” Paymah said while cracking a grin. “I don’t really feel like I’m at work, except for when practice starts hurting. But really I’m just trying to have fun, play ball and not think too much. I’m just trying to make it happen.”
Likewise, rookie defensive backs are adjusting to their new surroundings. Fortunately, Lynn and Joseph have made the experience a challenging one.
Second-round pick Taylor Mays is just like Paymah, loving his new position coaches.
“They’re good coaches because they coach you, the individual player. I think that’s important. They’re coaching me up on everything I do,” the rookie safety said.
Mays knows he won’t be perfect this week, but as long as he’s giving maximum effort, the former USC standout can live with that at the end of the day.
“It’s about giving full effort. That’s all I can really do right now. I’m trying to learn as much as I can, retain as much as I can and just go from there. I’m trying to get as much work in as I can. I’m not really worried about messing up or anything. I’m trying to get as many mistakes out the way and go forward,” Mays said.
Mays said he already understands what type of effort is needed just from watching two solid safeties like Michael Lewis and Dashon Goldson.
“I know what to expect and know what the tempo should be,” Mays said. “It’s good to see guys at the highest level prepare and see what it takes to be great and successful. We have two successful safeties to watch and I couldn’t think of a better situation to be in.”
Notes and Quotes
Greg Manuksy wore a microphone for 49ers.com on Tuesday. On Wednesday, head coach Mike Singletary wore the wire and the defensive coordinator stepped up to a podium with a microphone to answer questions from the media. Many wondered about his initial impressions on the three defensive players selected by the 49ers in the 2010 Draft, but Manusky wasn’t quick to judge his new talent. “There are a lot of things thrown at them the first couple of weeks. They just got out of a scenario of a worldwide tour going to teams and stuff like that. It’s good to get them here, start sitting them down, understand the system and understand where their role is. They’ll eventually and hopefully move on and upward.”
Manusky was also questioned about his defensive philosophy of using defenders who mirror each other and Navorro Bowman’s name came up. The third-round pick out of Penn State, who played outside linebacker in a 4-3 college scheme, is now making the change to inside linebacker in a 3-4. But the change is not a problem according to Bowman who is relishing the opportunity. “I’m glad to be back inside, you get to each side faster,” Bowman noted. “Being an outside ‘backer you’re stuck to one side and you can’t really make plays on the other side of the field. I’m glad to be inside, but whatever the coaches need me to learn – I’ll do that.”
Speaking of linebackers, Takeo Spikes is a veteran in the truest sense of the word. Asked if he’s excited about the upcoming season, the 13-year veteran said he’ll curb his enthusiasm until late July. “When training camp comes around and we start playing games, I think that’s when it really gets all the way turned up.”
Mike Iupati has been off to a good start so far this week. During the team period, the rookie left guard did a nice job of pulling and kicking out the blitzing Bowman, to give running back Glen Coffee a huge running lane. “Nice job Mike!” offensive line coach Mike Solari belted out upon seeing the play develop.
Smith rebounded from the early interception and completed several passes in the 10 to 20-yard range, but none more impressive than the touch pass 25 yards or so down the middle of the field to wide receiver Dominique Zeigler, who got past the coverage of cornerback Tarell Brown and ran right under the perfectly thrown pass.
Although Patrick Willis is recovering a minor offseason knee surgery, he’s still very active at practice. Besides leading stretches with the rest of team captains, he’s been 50 yards behind the defense during team periods, mirroring the movements of both inside ‘backers. Willis might not be on the field with his teammates full-go, but he’s getting plenty of mental reps.
Tags: Alex Smith, Greg Manusky, Johnnie Lynn, Karl Paymah, Navorro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Takeo Spikes, Taylor Mays, Ted Ginn Jr., Vance Joseph
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The NFL offseason is hardly a time of rest and relaxation. Yes, players have a chance to let their bodies heal, enjoy some time with friends and family away from the team’s facility and then quickly get back to work preparing for the next season.
Tackle Joe Staley also took advantage of the down time to go under the knife….well, laser. Don’t worry, the procedure was not major and not even a result of playing football. After having lasik eye surgery, Staley can now throw away the contacts that have been a part of him for so long.
“I’ve worn contacts since I was in seventh grade and it really became annoying,” Staley said. ”The opportunity came to my attention to get lasik eye surgery with Dr. Scott Hyver. My dad had it done four years ago and he has been really happy. He told me how easy the procedure was so I though it would be a good idea.”
Though playing with contacts is common in the NFL, the third-year lineman recalled times when he got frustrated after opponents’ hands would get inside his face mask and knock out his contacts. But his decision solves much more than having to head to the sidelines for a new pair of lenses.
“I didn’t just think about it benefiting my football career, it’s just benefited my life,” Staley said. ”It’s good not to have to wake up an put contacts in and not have to worry about getting an eye infection if I forget to take my contacts out.”
Staley still has to be careful initially as he’s been given a long list of do’s and don’ts.
“I can’t rub my eyes, which I’ve done about 47 times already,” joked Staley. ”It’s really hard not to rub your eyes, especially when you’re in the shower and you have to get the water out. I keep freaking out that I’m going to go blind whenever I cant myself rubbing my eyes. They told me that my lens would come off, but I wouldn’t go blind. They would just have to do the surgery again.”
One of the items Staley has been given to help prevent him having to go in for a second procedure is a pair of goggles similar to those worn by former NBA start Horace Grant.
“They’re these plastic specs,” Staley said. ”I have to wear them at night for this first week so I don’t rub my eyes without knowing it. I’ve also been really good though about using my eye drops. I have artificial tears that I can put in my eyes to prevent them from drying out.”
As a result, Staley can see clearly now…even if the rain wasn’t gone at Tuesday’s OTA session. Below is a video as well as a few photos from Tuesday. For more photos, view our photo gallery.
Tags: 2010 OTAs, Alex Smith, Brandon Jones, Joe Staley, Scott McKillop, Vance Joseph
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There’s only so many times you can get asked the same question during an open locker room period. But I know our guys enjoy an occasional question out of left field.
Having said that, today I asked a question about left field, well sort of.
I asked a handful of guys who they were picking to win the World Series which kicks off tonight between the New York Yankees and the defending World Champion Philadelphia Phillies.
And for fun, I asked which players in the locker room would make up the best 49ers baseball team. The answers I got were somewhat surprising:
-“I would definitely have B. Jones [Brandon] as my center fielder,” cornerback Tarell Brown said of his wide receiver teammate, who was a one-time draft pick of the Yankees organization. “I would be a shortstop because I have good range. All the quarterbacks would be our pitchers.”
-“Put me at catcher, I swear I’d be a great catcher. I’d be amazing,” cornerback Marcus Hudson explained. “I’d cover the plate and nobody would steal on me. I would gun them out if they tried to steal on me!”
-“I think Arnaz [Battle] might be a second baseman because he has quick feet and quick hands,” Jones said of the players who would play beside him. “I see Alex [Smith] and our other quarterbacks as our pitchers. We’ll go with a three-man rotation. And on offense, our cleanup hitter would probably be big Mo, Moran Norris.”
-“I don’t know about that – I don’t think Mo has any bat speed!” Battle joked in response to Jones’ opinion.
-“I think Justin Smith would be our first baseman. He seems like he’d be a power hitter,” long snapper Brian Jennings said.
-“Ooh, that’s a pretty good question! I don’t know if Justin could be our first baseman though. He’s a slugger, maybe a DH,” Shawntae Spencer said. “I’m not putting him on the field. I’d put guys with really good ball skills in my infield. Dre’ Bly, Nate Clements they both have good ball skills, the receivers do too.
-“Then, I would go with the coordinators as our bench coaches, because they are good with hand signals. Our base coaches could be special teams coordinator Al Everest and secondary coach Vance Joseph because they send in signals too.”
-“I would be a pitcher, because I’d want to throw the ball. In football I love hitting people and in baseball if I was mad at someone – I could throw the ball at them,” defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga joked.
Here are some of the picks from the 49ers locker room, note that only one player [Spencer] chose the defending champs:
Josh Morgan: Yankees in five games.
“I think it’s the Yankees year.”
Tarell Brown: Yankees in five games.
“Really to be honest with you, it doesn’t mean a whole lot that the Phillies won it all last year. At the end of the day the Yankees are playing great baseball and they have solid pitching. Really, that’s what it’s going to come down to – pitching. Pitching and defense. The Yankees have always been a great offensive team, but their pitching is amazing this year. I’ve been a Yankees fan forever though….”
Shawntae Spencer: Phillies in six games.
“I don’t really like either one of these teams. If the Pirates aren’t in it – I don’t really care! But I guess I got a little bit of love for Philly, but then again, I don’t want them to win because if they do I won’t see the end of it. I have a lot of friends from Philadelphia, so I don’t really want to hear that. I’m just going to watch as a fan. I think it’s going to be a great series, I’ll take the Phillies, since nobody else has.”
Brandon Jones: Yankees in six games.
“You have to figure the Phillies can get a couple of games. They can hit. And, they might even wear Andy Pettitte out in game three. C.C. [Sabathia] might have to come back on short rest and get another win for them. It might go to six, if that happens.”
Barry Sims: Yankees in six games.
“A-Rod is hitting this year and they’re getting good pitching – I think it’s their year.”
Brian Jennings: Yankees in six games.
“If I played baseball I’d for sure want to play for the Yankees.”
Isaac Sopoaga: Yankees in six games.
“I want it to be less games, but I think it would be more exciting if it goes to six or seven games. Then, you’d have more games to watch on TV.”
Andy Lee: Yankees in six games.
Tags: Al Everest, Andy Lee, Barry Sims, Brandon Jones, Brian Jennings, Dre' Bly, Isaac Sopoaga, Josh Morgan, Justin Smith, Marcus Hudson, Nate Clements, Shawntae Spencer, Tarell Brown, Vance Joseph
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