49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 6, 2009
Davis scuffles, team shuffles

Before training camp, Vernon Davis told the assembled media that he saw eye to eye with Mike Singletary on the coach's no-fighting policy. "I agree with him. I don't think we should be fighting. There's no time for that," said Davis, who added that Singletary's new policy is that when someone fights, everyone runs. Davis, however, couldn't keep his cool this afternoon, getting into a brief tussle with outside linebacker Marques Harris, whom he accused of holding. Singletary, who famously banished Davis during a game last season, took Davis aside and spoke to him for three minutes. After that, Singletary made the whole team run as promised. The punishment: the width of the field, 12 times. It was the first fight of camp.

Maybe there was something in the air that affliced Davis. After all, it was a weird day. First, the morning practice began in a pouring rain, a first for an August training camp, according to the old timers who cover the team. Midway through practice, a television helicopter showed up and started hovering close to the practice fields. It was there for hours filming dolphins that got trapped in a nearby slough. Strange day, indeed.

Meanwhile, on the field, Alex Smith led the first-team offense, throwing mostly short and intermediate passes today. His first attempt, over the middle to Josh Morgan, was picked off by linebacker Takeo Spikes. Smith later tried to hit Morgan on the same route - about 15 yards across the middle - and the pass was broken up by cornerback Allen Rossum. Those were Smith's only incompletions. He went 5 of 7.

Hill went 6 of 7 working with the second-team offense. His only incompletion came on his final throw, a toss to tight end Joe Jon Finely, who didn't know the ball was coming. Finley didn't look up and the ball fell to the ground.

Best catch of training camp? Let me set the stage for you. I was standing on the second row of the bleachers while the receivers and cornerbacks were doing their one-on-one pass coverage drills. The bleachers begin about 10 yards from the sideline of the practice field. During one drill, Alex Smith fired a pass toward the sideline that I swear was coming right at me. I thought Smith was throwing the ball away. I raised my hands to catch the pass, and just as I did Dominique Zeigler rose up, snagged the ball with one hand and came down with it with one hand. Zeigler must have grabbed the ball at 10-plus feet. Alas, he came down with only one foot in bounds.

Lots of injury news. Josh Morgan suffered a neck strain when he tangled with Nate Clements in the one-on-one drills and came down on the back of his head. Five minutes later, he was back running routes ... Tight end Delanie Walker suffered a concussion yesterday and did not practice today ... Ricky Jean-Francois was back at practice, as was fullback Moran Norris ... Tarell Bown (toe), Patrick Willis (ankle) and Jay Moore (finger) were out ... Justin Smith and Marvel Smith were given a vet's morning off. ... I wouldn't worry about Willis. He seems spry while working with trainers, and maybe it's not such a bad thing that he misses the most brutal part of training camp.

Given the day's earlier news, I thought it might be fun to revisit a Q&A I had with Michael Crabtree on May 25. The salient answers come at the end.

Q: Do you have a better read now on when you can start running around on your foot?
MC: Not at all. I just know I'll be ready for training camp.

Q: Are you able to do the full routine in the weight room?
MC: I do everything everybody else does except run.

Q: What was it like hearing Jerry Rice (on Wednesday)? What was his message to the team?
MC: He always has basically the same points every time I meet with him - talking about elevating your game and getting better, really powerful points. (Rice visited with Crabtree prior to the draft in the Dallas area).

Q: During practices, do you watch the player who is playing your position?
MC: I watch everybody. Right now, I'm just trying to learn the offense. That's what I'm doing right now, so ...

Q: Do you watch Josh Morgan more than the other players?
MC: Yeah, Josh is playing X and Z. Whoever's in the X, that's the spot I'm watching. I've got to get that down first.

Q: The team has signed three draft picks already. Do you want to get your contract completed so you can report on time?
MC: I'm just waiting on whatever, man. Right now, I don't really have anything to say about doing that. As long as it gets done and I'm ready for training camp ...

Q: Is your goal to be on time for training camp?
MC: Oh yeah. No doubt.

-- 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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