SANTA CLARA -- And on the 10th day, Kap rested.
Colin Kaepernick did not take any passes during seven-on-seven or team drills during Thursday's short, non-padded 49ers practice. A team spokesman said afterward that it was a "planned rest day" for the quarterback, who, because he was recovering from three surgeries, did not take part in any full practices in the spring. Instead, Kaepernick reverted to his spring routine: standing behind the other quarterbacks and mimicking their movements.
Kaepernick had trainers stretch his right arm and shoulder late in Tuesday's practice. (Kaepernick had surgery in November on his left shoulder). He fully took part in Wednesday's session at Kezar Stadium but was not very efficient. He went 3 of 8 during team drills. The 49ers will host the Texans during a joint practice on Friday.
Kaepernick's day off allowed Blaine Gabbert to take a lead as far as overall practice repetitions this summer. Gabbert, however, only threw four passes in team drills during the 70-minute session and he completed two of those passes: to Bruce Ellington and tight end Blake Bell. His first pass also went to Ellington, who was lined up against safety Eric Reid in the slot. That should be a mismatch, and Gabbert threw a medium-range sideline pass to Ellington. Reid, however, broke in front of the ball and tipped it into the air. Fellow safety Jaquiski Tartt came up with the interception.
Gabbert was 4-4 in seven-on-seven drills with two passes going to Ellington, one to Torrey Smith -- a deep, back-shoulder throw -- and one to Shaun Draughn in the flat.
Two of the nicest pass-catch combinations came when rookie Jeff Driskel was playing quarterback during a red-zone drill. He threw a side-of-the-end zone pass to receiver Dres Anderson, who rose up high for the catch. Anderson, however, came down out of bounds. Driskel's next throw was in the same vicinity. This time, rookie receiver Bryce Treggs leaped up for the reception and landed in bounds. Treggs (Cal) has looked good all week.
Defensive end Arik Armstead was back at team drills after being held out the last two sessions due to a minor shoulder issue. His left arm remained wrapped … Rookie cornerback Will Redmond took some repetitions at nickel cornerback with the first-team defense. … Michael Wilhoite worked alongside NaVorro Bowman at inside linebacker. … Joshua Garnett has spent the last three practices at left guard (with the second-team unit) after lining up at right guard for the first seven. ... Veteran tackle Erik Pears sat out practice. Pears, who is going into his 10th season, sometimes pulls double duty in practice, lining up at left tackle both with the first-team offense (to give Joe Staley a break) and with the second-team unit.
Ronald Blair, the 49ers’ multi-talented fifth-round pick, mostly has lined up at defensive end and outside linebacker so far in training camp. On Wednesday, he even got a few snaps at nose tackle. “He can be a problem athletically for guards and centers, just with his skill set,” defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil said. “So that’s something we’re going to work through in the preseason and try to find out where he can best help us along the front.”
A new sight at practice today: Yellow handkerchiefs. John Parry and his crew of officials are in town this week to talk to the players about new rules, points of emphasis, etc. The officials will be at practice for tomorrow's session with the Texans, too, which is good training for the 49ers' young defensive backs like Redmond and Rashard Robinson, both of whom have been a bit grabby beyond five yards early in training camp.
“We’ve coached the hell out of it in our meeting rooms: ‘Hey, you can’t collision this guy seven yards downfield. You can’t grab,” O’Neil said. “But it’s different when there’s a yellow flag and the penalty’s enforced on the field. So, that’ll be good for us defensively. It’ll be good for the offense. It’ll be good for everybody across the board.”