49ers Blog and Q&A

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

May 5, 2007
Niners mini-camp observations

With Darrell Jackson and Ashley Lelie both nursing injuries, second-year wideout Brandon Williams is getting plenty of practice time. Williams is working as the team’s third wideout and has been a favorite target early in camp.
If the 49ers keep five receivers like they did a year ago, you have to figure that Williams is in a dogfight for a roster spot. Jackson, Lelie, Arnaz Battle and rookie Jason Hill are all but guaranteed spots. That would pit Williams against Bryan Gilmore (the No. 2 receiver this weekend) and Taylor Jacobs. Williams, of course, also returns punts. But that job also could go to Battle, who probably won’t see as much time at receiver as he did a year ago.
Then there’s Williams’ number switch. He decided to go with No. 81 this season, a questionable move considering that Terrell Owens put a curse on it when he left in 2004. What curse? Just ask Rashaun Woods and Antonio Bryant. They’ll tell you all about it.

Other observations:
**Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin is not a guy who will sit in one spot and eat up space. The 320-pounder has been very active in practice and can move his weight. For more on Franklin, read Sunday’s Bee.

**The rookies who are standing out early are linebacker Patrick Willis, Dashon Goldson and Thomas Clayton. Willis is every bit as fast as advertised, Goldson has made some good plays in the defensive secondary while Clayton also has shown good speed.

**Manny Lawson seems far more aggressive than he was last year. During practice Saturday, he thought he was being held by Vernon Davis. So he removed his red jersey and demonstratively tossed it to the offense, as if to say, “If you want my jersey so badly, you can have it.”



MATTHEW BARROWS

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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