During his first stint with the 49ers, Brandon Lloyd wanted to be a rap star. Now in his second go-around with the team, he wants to be a teacher, something for which – unlike his rap career – he is receiving positive reviews.
“His routes are so good, man,” said Chris Cook, one of several cornerbacks who raved about how much they’ve learned from going against the veteran wide receiver in practice.
“Everything he runs, it just looks like he’s about to take off and go straight down the field. You can’t really get good reads on his routes. It makes you stay honest and play your technique true.”
Rookie cornerback Dontae Johnson agreed.
Receiver Brandon Lloyd said he wants to end his career with the team with which he began his career.
During his first stint with the 49ers, Brandon Lloyd wanted to be a rap star. On his second go-around with the team, he wants to be a teacher, something for which – unlike his rap career – he is receiving positive reviews.
“His routes are so good, man,” said Chris Cook, one of several cornerbacks who have raved about how much they've learned from going against the veteran receiver in practice.
“Everything he runs, it just looks like he's about to take off and go straight down the field. You can't really get good reads on his routes. It makes you stay honest and play your technique true.”
Rookie cornerback Dontae Johnson agreed.
Mexico will play its first post-World Cup match at Levi’s Stadium.
Levi’s Stadium, which will get broken in Saturday when the MLS San Jose Earthquakes host the Seattle Sounders, will be the sight of an even bigger soccer match later this year. The 49ers announced today that the Mexican National Team, which has a huge following in Northern California, will play against Chile on Sept. 6. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The 49ers will play preseason games at Levi’s Stadium on Aug. 17 and Aug. 24. Their first regular-season game is Sept. 14 in a prime-time matchup against the Bears.
The match in Santa Clara is the first of two for the Mexican National Team in the U.S. this September. El Tricolor, and its entertaining coach, Miguel Herrera, also will play Sept. 9 vs. Bolivia in Denver as the team prepares for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup and Copa America tournaments.
Earthquakes season ticket holders, Levi’s Stadium SBL owners and Visa accountholders will get first dibs on tickets today. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday at 10 a.m.
Chris Cook, who has never had an interception in an NFL practice, snagged one in Tuesday’s practice
Chris Cook had an interception in today's practice. That normally wouldn't be momentous enough news to lead off a notebook, except for the fact that interceptions have been Cook's nemesis thus far in his career.
The former second-round pick didn't have a single interception in four seasons (and 30 starts) in Minnesota, and improving his ball skills – turning, locating the ball in the air and then jumping up to retrieve it – has been a major point of emphasis for Cook during the spring and summer sessions in Santa Clara.
“That was a nice play by him today,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “The receiver (Brandon Lloyd) did not go up and compete with him. I don't think the receiver knew the ball was thrown to him. So it ended up being a little bit easier play than normal. But the fact remains that he did go up and get it, caught it and that's a good thing.”
Fangio was characteristically stingy with compliments today. Rookie linebacker Chris Borland, for example, also came away with an interception off a pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Asked about Borland, Fangio said, “I'm not sure what he's seeing all of the time. He's got really good instincts. And sometimes he thinks those instincts are taking him to a play, aborting his own assignment, and he's gotten burned on that a few times. He's got to learn that the quarterbacks in this league can be looking here and quickly come back (there). He's been burnt on that a few times.”
The 49ers will sign ex-Arizona runner Alfonso Smith to help bolster their depleted running-backs corps.
The 49ers received a reinforcement to their dwindling running backs corps in the form of Alfonso Smith, who spent the last four seasons with the division rival Arizona Cardinals, typically entering games on third downs.
Smith, 27, carried the ball 18 times for 54 yards last season in Arizona and had a role on coverage units on special teams. He had one touchdown and one lost fumble, which came during a 32-20 loss to the 49ers in San Francisco. He broke the news himself on Instagram on Monday: “I’m a Niner Babeeeeee!” he wrote. Smith, from San Bernardino, went undrafted out of Kentucky in 2010.
His steady play, however, won him a spot on the Cardinals roster for four seasons. While most teams keep four running backs on the roster, Arizona kept five over that span with Smith (6-1, 209) playing a key role on special teams as well. He finished with nine tackles last season.
To make room for Smith, the 49ers waived/injured guard Fouimalo Fonoti, an undrafted rookie. Fonoti suffered an injury Sunday and limped off the field. He had been playing right guard with the second-team offense.
Jeff Chiu/ The Associated Press
Eric Mangini was formerly head coach with the Jets and Browns, and wants to be a head coach again.
Uncredited/ The Associated Press
Eric Mangini may not have had experience coaching tight ends before the year began, but he already was quite familiar with his most prominent pupil.
In 2006, Mangini, who became the 49ers’ tight ends coach in February, was the new head coach of the New York Jets, who had the fourth pick in the draft after managing just four wins the previous season.
As April crept closer, Mangini said the Jets narrowed their options to two prospects: Virginia offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson or a tight end out of Maryland named Vernon Davis.
New York had a huge need at left tackle at the time and tapped Ferguson, who has started every game since and who has made three Pro Bowls. But Mangini said it was an extremely close call and that the Jets still were debating the choice the night before the draft.
See what The Bee's Matt Barrows had to say during Monday's a live chat focusing on the 49ers, who are in camp and in pads, beginning earnest preparation for the upcoming NFL season.
Access live chat from all mobile devices here.
Third-round draft pick Chris Borland was one of several standouts on defense for the 49ers Sunday.
All offseason, Jim Harbaugh has talked about how the defensive line is a “position of strength” for the 49ers. That's been on display over the last two days of padded practice, including on Sunday.
The second-team offensive line has been overmatched, even when starting linemen Justin Smith (shoulder), Ray McDonald and Glenn Dorsey aren't on the field. Tony Jerod-Eddie and Demarcus Dobbs have been filling in at defensive end with the first-string string defense, and Jerod-Eddie flashed in Sunday's practice.
Their backups, Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial, also have looked good. Dial is very big and he got the better of first-team (for now) right tackle Jonathan Martin on a couple of plays late in the practice. And that's not mentioning Lawrence Okoye, who is perhaps the strongest player on the team and someone who has been hard to handle at times, especially on his bull rush.
The big dilemma for the 49ers: Who stays and who goes when rosters are reduced late next month. NFL teams must trim rosters to 75 players by Aug. 26. they must be down to 53 men on Aug. 30.
Tony Avelar/ AP
Second-year player Lawrence Okoye showed off his strength in pass-rush drills on Saturday
Poor Jonathan Martin.
His counterpart on the defensive line, Lawrence Okoye, was so eager about the 49ers’ first padded practice of the summer that he tweeted about the occasion that morning. Okoye is a massive guy, the team’s weight-room champion, and as a result of going on injured reserve last year, he hadn’t donned pads and hit anyone since August. In other words, he was champing at the bit for some real contact.
That's where Martin came in. The only true contact during the team's first padded practice this afternoon occurred during one-on-one pass-blocking drills between the offensive and defensive linemen. First up was Okoye at left defensive end, against Martin at right tackle.
On the very first snap Okoye sent Martin sprawling seven yards backward and planted him on his back, which of course drew plenty of shouts and murmurs from the assembled defensive linemen. Okoye also won Round 2, though certainly not as decisively.
Reinhold Matay/Associated Press file
LaMichael James, fielding a kick against Tampa Bay on Dec. 15, was in the mix to be the 49ers’ No. 2 running back.
For the third consecutive year, LaMichael James will have to come back from an injury entering the regular season.
LaMichael James, who Sunday morning appeared poised to become the 49ers No. 2 running back because of Kendall Hunters injury, suffered a dislocated elbow in practice in the afternoon and will miss about a month.
Suddenly, the 49ers, who had one of the deepest and most intriguing running back groups in the NFL when training camp began Thursday, are thin at the position.
Rookie Carlos Hyde and seldom-used Jewel Hampton are the only healthy runners behind starter Frank Gore. They split nearly all of the repetitions Sunday after James went down early in practice.
Another tailback, Marcus Lattimore, began camp on the non-football injury list. Saturday, general manager Trent Baalke said Lattimore was close to joining practice but did not have a timeline for his return.
LaMichael James, in line to be the 49ers’ No. 2 running back this year, suddenly is out a month after sustaining an elbow injury today.
LaMichael James, who yesterday appeared poised to become the 49ers’ No. 2 running back due to Kendall Hunter’s injury, suffered a dislocated elbow in practice today and will miss a month. Suddenly the 49ers, who had one of the deepest and most intriguing running-back groups in the NFL when training camp began Thursday, are thin at the position.
Rookie Carlos Hyde and seldom-used Jewel Hampton are the only healthy runners behind starter Frank Gore. They split nearly all of the repetitions today after James went down early in practice. Another tailback, Marcus Lattimore, began camp on the non-football injury list. On Saturday, general manager Trent Baalke said Lattimore was “close” to joining practice but did not have a time line for his return.
James, a former second-round draft pick, was going against inside linebacker Michael Wilhoite in a blitz pick-up drill when he was blown backward and immediately went to the ground clutching his left arm. He was later carted off the field. James suffered an ankle injury in preseason during his rookie year in 2012 and sprained his MCL (knee) ligament in preseason last year. Both caused him to miss the early part of the regular season and to drop down the depth chart at running back.
He also suffered a dislocated right elbow in 2011 while at Oregon. He missed the next two games before returning and carrying the ball 13 times against Washington State.
Nhat V. Meyer/ NCT
Tramaine Brock, who led the 49ers in interceptions last year, enters 2014 as the team’s top cornerback
During Saturday's practice, Tramaine Brock showed why the 49ers felt comfortable moving on from long-time starting cornerbacks Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown in the offseason.
Brock, who has been lining up at left cornerback, picked off one pass during the afternoon practice and in quick succession broke up two others. It was an early indication that his team-leading five interceptions a year ago plus the tipped pass that linebacker NaVorro Bowman snagged against Atlanta were not an aberration.
Jim Harbaugh said that both Brock and the starter on the other side, Chris Culliver, who appears fully recovered from last years ACL injury, are playing at a different level from the other cornerbacks on the team. The stance was echoed by general manager Trent Baalke.
We feel good about the group, we really do, he said. ... Brock and Culliver are two very competitive, very gifted athletes, and you see that every day out there.