San Francisco 49ers

49ers TC 13: Brace yourself -- NaVorro Bowman practices without protection on left knee

NaVorro Bowman practices Wednesday without the protective brace he usually wears on his left knee.
NaVorro Bowman practices Wednesday without the protective brace he usually wears on his left knee. The Bee

SANTA CLARA -- So much for 'Camp Nice Guy.' Jim Tomsula had to halt practice -- and cut the music playing over the loudspeakers -- after another scrap broke out during team drills. For the second straight day, defensive end Tank Carradine was in the middle of the tussle.

After a running play, receiver Quinton Patton seemed to take exception to a hit by Carradine on the running back. He gave Carradine, who is 295 pounds, a shove, at which point Carradine charged the 205-pound Patton on the sideline. The two were quickly separated but the minor melee broke the rhythm of practice that Tomsula and his coaches have been trying to build.

Tomsula asked for the music to be turned down -- and, boy, I wish I was permitted to report what he said -- beseeched the players to watch their tempers and avoid unnecessary penalties. Carradine was involved in a flare up on the defensive sideline Tuesday. He also had a tussle with center Joe Looney in the spring.

Tomsula has mentioned having to be a "traffic cop" on the field and was asked about Carradine's Tuesday tiff prior to Wednesday's session.

"Yeah, we handed out a couple citations yesterday," he said. "It’s the dog days of camp and it gets heated here and there. That’s, you know, I mean, they’re in the hotel together, they’re everywhere together. That’s why a lot of people break camp right about now. I’m trying to extend it a little bit further. It’s just what I believe. I wouldn’t make much of any of that."

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Another practice, another milestone for linebacker NaVorro Bowman. He went through Wednesday’s session without the knee brace he has openly loathed because it slows him down. No word yet on whether Bowman will play Sunday and whether he will wear the brace on his surgically repaired left knee.

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It was a strong day for the 49ers' tight ends with Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald and Garrett Celek all catch multiple passes. Now that Asante Cleveland is in New England, one of the players who had been behind him on the depth chart, seventh-round pick Busta Anderson, also is getting more opportunities. He had a nice down-field catch on a throw from Blaine Gabbert midway through practice. Derek Carrier missed the session with a stomach bug.

Gabbert also continues to look good. Yes, in terms of pressing the ball deep downfield, Gabbert makes Alex Smith look like Dan Fouts. But he's efficient and is particularly fond of his tight ends. (See: Saturday's game). Tight ends are the strength of the team right now, so that's not necessarily a bad habit. He had an intermediate-long pass down the middle of the field to McDonald on Wednesday.

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Who's the 49ers' No. 4 cornerback? Well, Tramaine Brock and Shareece Wright appear to be Nos. 1 and 2. Dontae Johnson is No. 3. And, at least in the last two sessions, Keith Reaser has looked like he's No. 4. The 49ers are giving Reaser opportunities to work with the first-team defense, and it will be interesting to see if that carries over Sunday against Dallas.

The cornerback who had the best practice Wednesday may have been Kenneth Acker, who broke up at least two passes, one of them to Patton. It's clear the 49ers are giving Patton every opportunity to be their No. 3 receiver. He was the third wideout along with Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith when the first-team offense was on the field.

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Do defensive players hold and grab jerseys? Well, right tackle Trent Brown -- No. 77 -- was missing a "7" from the front of his uniform when practice ended.

Jimmie Ward seems to be adjusting well to the "turtle" he is wearing on his right foot. More on that here. After an errant snap from Dillon Farrell, Ward swooped in from his safety spot and scooped up the ball for what would have been a touchdown.

Newcomer Jordan Devey looks like a guard. And he played left guard with the third-team offense late in Wednesday's practice.

Glenn Dorsey missed practice again with a minor muscle strain. Tony Jerod-Eddie filled in at left defensive end and had an early “sack” when he easily slipped past Marcus Martin at right guard ... Bruce Ellington and Philip Wheeler also were absent but Nick Bellore practiced for the first time this summer.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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