49ers Blog and Q&A

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

May 18, 2010
OTA Observations: Good day for Jason Hill

Here are some observations from Day 2 of the 49ers OTA:

Yesterday was a good day for rookie cornerback Phillip Adams. He came up with an interception off a dropped pass by Ted Ginn, and he also signed a four-year deal with the team. Today he got taken down a peg when receiver Jason Hill put a nice move on Adams and made him look like a dog chasing its tail. Hill also had a nice, leaping grab on a Nate Davis fireball over the middle in 7-on-7 drills. All in all, it was a very good day for Hill, who is trying to avoid the ticky tacky injuries that kept him at the bottom of the depth chart last season.

Speaking of Davis, he only gets a few snaps a practice, but he certainly doesn't squander them. When he gets a rare opportunity to throw, he usually fires the ball deep down field. Davis told me today that he's hoping to join veteran QB Donovan McNabb for a training session in Arizona in July, a plan the two hatched last year. But Davis also realizes that McNabb's calendar may be a lot more crowded after being traded to the Redskins. McNabb has said that he hopes to work with his new teammates in Arizona this summer, and Davis realizes he may have to put the training session off a year.

Backup quarterback David Carr is still in learning mode. He threw a pass to Josh Morgan that was instead picked off by Reggie Smith. Carr, however, came back and hit Michael Crabtree in the deep middle of the field. For those wondering about Crabtree, he's looked very sharp.

Taylor Mays has been getting into practice with the third group of safeties. The first is Dashon Goldson and Michael Lewis. The second is Reggie Smith and Curtis Taylor. Fellow rookie Chris Maragos has been teaming with Mays. Mays has been sticking to the left side of the field. Sometimes the tight end lines up on that side of the offensive alignment. Sometimes he's on the other side. Which is why it's a misnomer to call Mays a strong or a free safety. Technically he's been playing both.

Four players practiced punt returns today: Ginn, WR Brandon Jones and rookies Kyle Williams and LeRoy Vann. In my humble opinion, Williams looked the most fluid and natural of that group.

Tony Wragge, David Baas and Cody Wallace all took turns backing up starting center Eric Heitmann today. In fact, Wragge had a few reps at center with the first-team offensive line. Last year, the 49ers began the season with nine offensive linemen on the active roster. That means that some tough choices are looming considering the additions along the line. In the end, the choices might come down to whether a player can fill in at multiple positions.

Tackles (5): Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Barry Sims, Adam Snyder, Joe Staley.
Guards (6): David Baas, Brian de la Puente, Mike Iupati, Chris Patrick, Chilo Rachal, Tony Wragge.
Centers (2): Eric Heitmann, Cody Wallace

Here's a very solid piece by former 49ers beatwriter Clark Judge who, now writing for CBSsports.com, believes the 49ers can turn their losing ways around this season and make the playoffs. My one hyper-nitpicky critique is that Judge writes that "what I like best about these guys is how they close under coach Mike Singletary. In 2008 they won four of their last five." The 49ers had been strong finishers under Mike Nolan as well, winning at least two of their final three games from 2005-2007. The 49ers' annual problem has been a middle-of-the-season swoon that has all-but knocked them out of playoff contention. That's something Singletary must avoid this year.

I was going to write something about today's visit by 15-year-old cancer patient Brandon Dale and his favorite player, Patrick Willis, but The Merc's Dan Brown did a much better job than I could possibly do. Here's Dan's account.

-- 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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