OTA notes: Kaepernick talks, offense works in red zone
05/28/2014 4:49 PM
05/28/2014 5:21 PM
The 49ers had their first open-to-the-media practice today and there's plenty to report, including Colin Kaepernick talking to reporters for the first time since the investigation in Miami began nearly two months ago. Kaepernick noted that the local district attorney is now considering the case, and he said he was eager to have it resolved.
“The district attorney has the information today,” he said after practice. “At this point, I’m going to let them handle their business. I did nothing wrong in that incident. So I want to do everything I can to let the DA close this matter.”
* Kaepernick and the 49ers' offense spent a lot of time in the red-zone, 35-40 percent of the time, Jim Harbaugh estimated. Obviously, the team's season essentially ended with failed red-zone plays in each of the last two seasons. Today's practice was highlighted by a sliding corner-of-the-end zone touchdown catch by Brandon Lloyd on a pass from Kaepernick in front of cornerback Perrish Cox.
* Another highlight of the session: defensive end Lawrence Okoye, who weighs approximately 315 pounds, running down return man Darryl Morris during a special teams drill. Morris may be the fastest player on the team. (He ran a 4.33-second 40 last year). Okoye, however, is so athletically gifted that he was more than able to keep pace. “He's been doing that for us – he's a big guy, he can run,” Harbaugh said of Okoye. “It's fun to watch, isn't it? … love to see it.”
* A number of players were absent or did not participate once the practice began in earnest. That list included Alex Boone, who wants a new contract, Vernon Davis and Frank Gore. Harbaugh said Gore has been working out at the team facility but hasn't yet joined practice. Davis has not been around much, said Harbaugh, who emphasized that the current sessions are voluntary.
* Receiver Stevie Johnson did not practice because “he's working through something,” Harbaugh said. Offensive tackle Jonathan Martin is dealing with mononucleosis and did not practice. Veterans Justin Smith and Ray McDonald were on hand but didn't practice much. Others like Chris Culliver (ACL) C.J. Spillman (hand) did some individual work but did not take part in a full practice. Harbaugh said he thought Culliver would be ready for training camp, which begins in about two months.
* As you would expect, starting vacancies were filled by veteran players. Joe Looney stepped in at right guard for Boone while Adam Snyder and Ryan Seymour played right tackle for Anthony Davis (shoulder). Tony Jerod-Eddie was at left defensive end for Ray McDonald while Demarcus Dobbs and Tank Carradine filled in at right defensive end for Justin Smith. Aldon Smith was at his familiar spot at right outside linebacker and looked like he was in good shape. He was seen doing a box-jumping drill after practice in which players leap from a standing position onto various-sized boxes. The one Smith was leaping onto must have been four, four 1/2-feet high. That is, it was impressive to watch.
At inside linebacker, Michael Wilhoite got the first crack in NaVorro Bowman's spot, but Nick Moody lined up there at times as well. With Culliver not practicing in full, the starting cornerback spots went to Tramaine Brock and Eric Wright. Wright, however, seemed to twist an ankle early on, and he was replaced by Chris Cook. Cox and Morris mostly played the slot position. First-round draft pick Jimmie Ward (foot) did not practice and may not be fully cleared until training camp.
At running back, Kendall Hunter took most of the first-team carries, followed by LaMichael James. Second-round pick Carlos Hyde is in Los Angeles for the annual rookie premier event, which is sponsored by the NFL. Marcus Lattimore practiced without a brace and took a number of carries in the no-full-pads, no-tackling session. Lattimore didn't appear to be going at full speed but didn't look hindered either. Harbaugh – who was mum about Lattimore's injury last week – revealed he had been dealing with a hamstring strain.
* Will diminutive linebacker Chris Borland be able to cover tight ends and running backs? Well, he had one of two linebacker interceptions when he leaped for a pass intended for Jewel Hampton. The other one was turned in by Willis, who was standing 15 feet in front of quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson when he skyed to grab Bethel-Thompson’s pass with both hands.
Michael Crabtree was on hand for the beginning of practice but took off midway through, as a precaution. He and Anquan Boldin served as the starting wideouts. Lloyd, David Reed and Chuck Jacobs also saw a lot of snaps at the position.
* Okoye, who wore No. 78 last year, is wearing Parys Haralson's former number – 98 – this year.
Quote of the day: “Athletically he looks bionic. You know the “Six Million Dollar Man?” That's what he looks like.” – Harbaugh on Kaepernick's fitness level.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.
About This BlogMatt Barrows 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 Sacramento Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the San Francisco 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green. Reach Barrows at email@example.com.
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