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Paul Kitagaki/ The Bee
The Levi’s Stadium grass suddenly is an issue after Jim Harbaugh halted practice there Wednesday due to unsafe field conditions.

SANTA CLARA -- It turns out the grass isn’t always greener at a new stadium.

The 49ers had to halt their open practice at $1.3 billion Levi’s Stadium less than an hour into the session Wednesday after chunks of the field, which had already been torn up from Sunday’s game, started to come up. Jim Harbaugh briefly gathered his team at midfield and then led them through the tunnel.

Bewildered fans who had arrived to watch the practice were told, via loudspeaker, that they would get complementary tickets to the team’s new museum. Two hours later, team spokesman Bob Lange tweeted the following:

“The 49ers organization would like to apologize to any fans who were inconvenienced by today’s practice ending early. We have determined the appropriate measures necessary to have the field ready for Sunday and look forward to hosting the San Diego Chargers.”

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Jose Luis Villegas/ The Bee
Almost full: Most of the 49ers’ starting defense is expected to play Sunday against San Diego

SANTA CLARA -- Before the grass swallowed up 49ers practice, the team was going through its final open session of the year. Here are the highlights from Levi's Stadium:

A number of starting defensive players who have sat out recent games or recent practices were on the field together today. That includes cornerback Tramaine Brock, defensive linemen Justin Smith, Ian Williams and Ray McDonald and linebacker Patrick Willis.

I'd expect the first four mentioned to play in Sunday's third preseason game against San Diego. Willis was in a blue “non-contact” jersey as he recovers from a minor issue. His availability is fuzzier for the Chargers game.

Backup nose tackle Mike Purcell also was in a blue, non-contact jersey. He's played as many snaps as anyone this summer and deserves some recognition for toughing it out while a large percentage of the defensive line was on the sideline. He's a candidate for the annual – and coveted – “Iron Bee” award that gets issued at the end of the preseason.

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Carlos Osorio/ AP
Alex Boone’s holdout is now in its fourth week. The offensive lineman has started every game for the 49ers the last two seasons.

SANTA CLARA -- What would it take to pry holdout Alex Boone from the 49ers? According to one source, the 49ers are asking for a first- or a second-round draft as compensation. Another, however, said that the team would rather not trade Boone and would have to be “blown away” by an offer to consider it.

Both point to one bottom line: The 49ers have a high value on Boone and would rather he play for them. Boone, by all accounts, wants to be with the 49ers where he has started the last two seasons at right guard.

He has held out 29 days since the start of training camp. His agents, Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod, have a track record of holding clients out while they negotiate better deals.

As it stands now Boone is the 43-highest paid guard in the league in average salary. The 49ers have made an offer to Boone, but it was not close to what he is seeking and the two sides remain far apart. That's why, despite the two sides' mutual interest in seeing Boone remain in San Francisco, the stalemate has dragged on.

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Associated Press file
Jim Harbaugh brought more than coaching acumen to the 49ers; he brought some language updates.

Coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers has colorful and unique ways with the language, especially as it relates to his team, players and their interaction with the world at large. Take our quiz and see if you can choose which phrases match up with the descriptions.

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file/ file
The 49ers and Michael Crabtree are trying to work out a contract extension before the regular season begins.

SANTA CLARA -- Three weeks ago when he was asked about a possible contract extension for receiver Michael Crabtree, the best face Trent Baalke could put on the matter was that the 49ers were “going to try.”

“But at some point you’ve got to stop negotiating deals and let these guys concentrate on football,” the team's general manager said.

Today there appears to be decidedly more optimism. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports progress on an extension and that the two sides hope to get a deal done before the start of the season. If not, he writes, the talks would be tabled until the end of the season.

Crabtree has wanted to be paid like a top receiver. The recent breakthrough is that Crabtree now appears willing to reach that level through incentives rather than large guarantees, which, as recent deals out of Santa Clara illustrate, the 49ers try to avoid.

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Paul Kitagaki Jr./ The Bee
Colin Kaepernick rushed for 87 yards in Week 2 last year. Due to a foot injury suffered in that game, he didn’t surpass 20 yards on the ground until Week 7.
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Hector Amezcua/ The Bee
Colin Kaepernick said the foot injury suffered in Week 2 in Seattle was one of the reasons his rushing numbers were modest during the 2013 regular season.

The 49ers last year reined in Colin Kaepernick’s running plays to save their starting quarterback from excessive wear and tear, and because he suffered a significant injury to his foot.

Kaepernick, who during the 2013 season joked the issue was a hangnail on his little toe, revealed the actual diagnosis in an interview with The Bee this week. He said he suffered a chipped bone on his forefoot and a ruptured capsule in the ball of his foot when a Seahawks defender landed on it during a Week 2 loss in Seattle.

“Running down the sideline and went down,” Kaepernick said. “And I think it was one of their linemen or linebackers landed on my foot when I was on the ground.”

The injury prevented him from pushing off with the foot in his customary way, and it diminished his acceleration. Kaepernick rushed nine times for 87 yards against the Seahawks. He didn’t have more than 20 rushing yards until a Week 7 win against Tennessee. In the four-game span in-between, his completion percentage was 53 percent; it was 60 percent for the other 12 in the regular season.

Glenn Dorsey might not be ready to play for several more months, but the 49ers feel he’s worth signing for a couple more years.

The team Tuesday signed the nose tackle, who was destined for free agency in March, to a two-year contract extension.

Dorsey, 29, tore his left biceps tendon during practice Aug. 1 and had surgery three days later. The 49ers planned to start him this season, and they are weighing whether to place him on injured reserve with a designation to return, which would allow him to come back in the second half of the season.

Biceps tears generally require four months to heal. The 49ers must decide on the designation – only one is allowed per team – by Sept. 2.

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file/ file
The 49ers aren’t scared off by Glenn Dorsey’s orn triceps. The team signed the nose tackle to a two-year extension Tuesday.

SANTA CLARA -- Glenn Dorsey may not be ready to play for several more months, but the 49ers feel he's worth signing for a couple more years. The team on Tuesday signed Dorsey, a nose tackle who was scheduled to become a free agent in March, to a two-year contract extension.

Dorsey, 29, tore his left biceps tendon during practice Aug. 1 and had surgery three days later. He had been earmarked as the starting nose tackle this season, and the 49ers are weighing whether to place him on injured reserve with a designation to return, which would allow him to come back in the second half of the season.

Bicep tears generally are four-month injuries. The 49ers must decide on the designation – only one is allowed per team – by Sept. 2.

“Glenn is a true pro who has quickly become a valued contributor to our organization both on and off the field,” general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “He is a quick study and a very good football player that has earned this extension, and we look forward to his future contributions.”

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file/ file
Anthony Davis, who had surgery in April, will go through individual drills today for the first time this offseason.

SANTA CLARA -- Right tackle Anthony Davis, who has started every game for the 49ers since the team drafted him in the first round in 2010, will be in uniform and go through individual drills today, Jim Harbaugh said. The 49ers practice at 2:45 p.m.

Davis played through labrum (shoulder) and bicep issues last season and had surgery in April, which is late for an offseason procedure. He said today that MRI results were inconclusive and that doctors initially hoped the problem would heal on its own. When it didn't, they went in with a scope and discovered the damage.

Davis said he feels better than he did even before the injury. He has not practiced with the team this offseason, and he's unlikely to play in Sunday's third preseason game or even perhaps the finale four days later. Davis said he didn't feel like he needed to play in the preseason to be ready for the Sept. 7 regular-season opener in Dallas.

If coaches and the team's medical staff don't think he's ready, that job would go to Jonathan Martin, who got good grades for his work against the Broncos on Sunday. While Martin played both right and left tackle against the Ravens, all 32 of his snaps against Denver were from the right side.

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Matt York/ AP
Phil Dawson is 0-2 on field goals at Levi’s Stadium but says even the misses are learning experiences

SANTA CLARA -- Phil Dawson said field-goal kicking boils down to two things: aim and execution. He was a little bit off in both categories in his Levi's Stadium debut Sunday, missing from 55 yards looking north and from 44 yards heading south.

“Kicked pretty solidly in pregame, felt like I had a pretty solid plan for what to do – the flags and the whole game – and then I get to the game expecting everything to go right to left,” Dawson said. “ I aimed a little right and it went right. … So, note to self...”

Dawson, 39, noted that he also missed one of his initial pregame kicks at Candlestick Park last year after joining the 49ers as a free agent. The difference is that his holder, Andy Lee, had nine years of experience at Candlestick. Both he and Lee and trying to figure out the new stadium on the fly.

The winds in Santa Clara typically come out of the north and are able to enter the stadium through a notch on the northwest side. What's somewhat frustrating, Dawson said, is that they don't start up until the afternoon, which means any warm-up kicks taken in the 11 a.m. hour are going to be useless after 1 p.m.

G6T2R3DED.3Senior Photographer
Paul Kitagaki Jr./pkitagaki@sacbee.com
The 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick, middle, looks for a receiver Sunday against Denver in the first football game at Levi’s Stadium. The playing surface drew mixed reviews from the players.
G7I2R3EO6.3Senior Photographer
Paul Kitagaki Jr./ pkitagaki@sacbee.com
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick said the noise level at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday was louder than he remembers for exhibition games at Candlestick Park.

The product on the field may have been hard to watch Sunday, but at least one 49er liked what he heard during his team’s debut at Levi’s Stadium.

“Just in terms of noise – even compared to the regular season – that was a pretty good volume in there,” quarterback Colin Kaepernick said Monday.

Kaepernick said the noise level was louder than it had been 10 days earlier in Baltimore and louder than he remembers from Candlestick Park during August exhibition games.

There may be two reasons for an increase in volume.

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Paul Kitagaki Jr./ The Bee
Rookie Chris Borland started his second straight preseason game in place of Patrick Willis
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Paul Kitagaki Jr./ The Bee
Rookie receiver Cody Latimer catches a 33-yard touchdown pass in front of 49ers rookie cornerback Dontae Johnson.

You have to dig long and hard to find the good news from Sunday’s game. But I think I discovered a gold nugget amid all the rubble from the 34-0 loss: The 49ers’ kick-return game is outstanding.

And I’m only being 72 percent facetious. After averaging 31.4 yards a return in Baltimore, the 49ers averaged 24.5 against the Broncos, a figure that was brought down by David Reed’s 11-yard return and fumble in the fourth quarter. Bruce Miller returned one 29 yards, Bruce Ellington had one go 32 yards and Quinton Patton had a 30 yarder.

The kick-return MVP may have been Miller. In addition to his return, the 49ers’ fullback served up two pancake blocks on returns by Ellington.

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For 49ers blog posts before May 2014, go to the blog archives

MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

49ers Blog Archives

Note: The 49ers blog switched blog platforms in May 2014. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.


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