49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 5, 2009
Under the radar at Niners training camp

So who's looking good at 49ers training camp? By now, you've probably seen all the reports about Alex Smith, Shaun Hill, Brandon Jones, Vernon Davis and Josh Morgan. But there are some lower profile players who are turning heads as well. I'll give you two:

Guard Joe Toledo. Toledo and the rest of the team's guards promise to get a lot of work with David Baas (foot) out indefinitely. Coming out of Washington, Toledo was one of the better tackles in the 2006 draft and was taken by Miami in the fourth round. Knee injuries washed out his 2006 and 2007 seasons in Miami. The 49ers thought enough of him last year to keep him on their practice squad. This offseason, they've moved him to left guard. At 6-5, 330-pounds, Toledo ties Isaac Sopoaga for the title of heaviest 49er, and the 49ers love offensive linemen with size. Does he make the 53-man squad? That's tough given the numbers at the position, but he does have the makings of a swing player. He is eligible for the practice squad.

Receiver Micheal Spurlock. You might consider Spurlock 'Rossum Insurance.' That is, if return man Allen Rossum ever were to get hurt -- he missed three weeks last season - the 49ers would feel good about Spurlock handling kickoff and punt returns. At 5-11, Spurlock is shorter than what the 49ers usually prefer at wideout, but he is sturdy and has thighs like oak stumps. On offense, he fits in as a slot receiver. Receiver is perhaps the 49ers' deepest position even without Michael Crabtree. Unfortunately, Spurlock is not practice-squad eligible, according to the team.

Here's the injury situation for the 49ers:

  • Rookie Ricky Jean-Francois has been activated from the non-football injury list and is expected to practice tomorrow. That's good news. With Ray McDonald (knee) out for a while, the team could use some bodies at right defensive end.
  • G David Baas. His foot strain is perhaps the 49ers' most serious injury. He is being kept off his feet and will be re-evaluated next week.
  • DE Kentwan Balmer. Give the second-year player credit for powering through a knee sprain. He's back doing individual work but has not been cleared for team drills yet.
  • CB Tarell Brown. He's still recovering from a left big toe injury. He's being listed as day to day.
  • LB Parys Haralson. He's just about over his hip injury. He's been taking part in individual drills but Ahmad Brooks is still getting the snaps in 11-on-11 action.
  • LB Jay Moore. He has a pretty nasty gash on his middle finger, one that required 12 stitches to close. It's hard to see him returning anytime soon.
  • FB Moran Norris. May have rushed back into action too quickly after missing the opening days. No timetable on his tweaked hamstring. Day to day.
  • G Chilo Rachal. He was struck with a migraine headache, the first he has experienced, at the end of yesterday's afternoon session. He sat out today's session. Might be back tomorrow.
  • FB/RB Michael Robinson. He has a groin strain and will be re-evaluated next week.
  • LB Patrick Willis. He led the morning stretch today, an indication that he is close to coming back from his ankle strain. The official word is that he's day to day.

-- 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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