49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

June 1, 2009
Bly, Brown both starters during OTA practice

Heading into today's OTA, I was interested to see which cornerback, Tarell Brown or newcomer Dre' Bly, would be starting opposite Nate Clements. I might have to wait awhile to find out. With Clements under the weather today - and I'm hearing he'll be out tomorrow, too -- both Brown and Bly were the de facto starters at cornerback. Walt Harris, who tore his ACL during the most recent OTA, has not yet had surgery to repair it.

Brown and Bly are similar in a lot of ways. Brown might be faster, but Bly, 32, has far more experience. They're the same height - listed at 5-10 - and tip the scales at about 190 pounds. Both also are supremely confident. Remember during the last OTA session when Brown said he was the most athletic player on the team? Bly today said he's not only expecting to compete for the starting role, he's sure he'll win it. "Based on who I've been my whole life, I've never lost," Bly said. Oh, it's on ...

Bly is wearing No. 29, but I'm told that might not last long. The number he wore in Denver -- No. 32 -- belongs to starting strong safety Michael Lewis.

Safety Mark Roman's agent has informed the 49ers that Roman intends to rejoin the team. Roman, 32, is expected to be on hand for the mandatory minicamp that runs Friday-Sunday. Whether he can practice or not remains to be seen. I'm told he's very close to being able to practice on his surgically repaired ankle.

When Roman returns, he'll be the back up to Dashon Goldson at free safety. As the back up, however, Roman will be expected to take on a much bigger special teams role than the one he had when he was the 49ers' starter.

Speaking of safeties, you'll never guess who came down with a nice interception during today's practice. Yup, Goldson ran down a deep, 40 yarder in the middle of the field while managing to avoid getting tangled with receiver Josh Morgan.

Goldson's current back up, rookie Curtis Taylor, also came up with an interception when he stepped in front of the receiver to catch a short pass from Shaun Hill.

Hill later lofted a nice pass down the right sideline that dropped into Morgan's hands. Morgan had a step on Bly on the play. The prettiest pass may have come from Damon Huard, who hit Dominique Zeigler, who was sandwiched by rookie cornerback Jahi Word-Daniels and safety Lewis Baker.

Most athletic play? How about Vernon Davis literally high-hurdling rookie cornerback Carlos Thomas after catching a short pass out of the backfield. The philosophy regarding Davis this year seems to be the opposite of what it was last summer: Just get the ball into his hands, even if it's a short pass, and let him gain yardage with his feet.

Ahmad Brooks looked very good in the most recent OTA, but he was not on hand when today's session began. Apparently, Mike Singletary was none too pleased with the absence. Then again, there's little he can do. It is a voluntary camp ... Also absent were rookies T Alex Boone and DE Pannel Egboh. Their schools have not yet graduated.

-- Matt Barrows

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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.

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