The 49ers will play the Broncos in their preseason openers Monday night. It turns out, however, that Mike Nolan and Mike Shanahan wanted to do more than play one preseason game. When the schedules came out earlier this year, the two Mikes tossed around the idea of the Broncos flying out to California early and having the two teams scrimmage a couple of times before the game.
The logistics didn't work out. While the Broncos could have stayed in one of the Santa Clara hotels nearby, there was no place to serve as a Broncos home base while they were here. Nolan, if you'll remember, had similar discussions with Art Shell last year about scrimmaging with the Raiders. Shell was receptive to the idea, but someone above him was not. I wonder who?
Neither Nolan nor Shanahan were all that keen about being the last two teams to play a preseason game this summer. That first game determines when a team can report to training camp, and both coaches see their late start as somewhat of a disadvantage. Nolan said he and Shanahan are hoping to pass a rule change whereby every team begins training camp at the same time.
On the practice field this morning ... Left tackle Jonas Jennings was taken off the field because he was slightly dehydrated. That brought up a discussion of running back Michael Robinson and his bout with dehydration last week that, as it turns out, was far more serious than needing a couple of cups of water.
Robinson's condition grew so bad, in fact, that some of his internal organs were starting to be affected.
"I was so dehydrated that blood wasn't getting to my kidneys," he said.
Robinson received six bags of IV fluid at a Stanford hospital immediately after the episode and another two bags at the team headquarters the next day. Despite all that fluid, he didn't go to the bathroom until midday of the second day of the ordeal.
Robinson said he had incrementally been losing water since the first day of training camp and hadn't been replacing it. He began training camp weighing 227 pounds and had dropped to 214 on the day he fell ill in practice. Now I understand why it's so important for players to way themselves every day. It's not a vanity issue - it's a health issue.
Also on the practice field, Vernon Davis got into another chest-thumping standoff, this time with linebacker Brandon Moore. After Davis made a short reception near the goal-line, Moore tried to knock the ball out of the tight end's hand, which, of course, Davis took exception with. Moore got a dig in by yelling, "Don't spike it! Don't spike it!" Spiking the ball in the field of play, of course, will result in a delay-of-game penalty.
Safety Dashon Goldson delivered the biggest hit of training camp when he smashed into fellow rookie Jason Hill on a play that resulted in an incomplete pass. Hill not only got up immediately but turned around and caught a 35-yard pass from Trent Dilfer on the following play. Hits like that are discouraged in practice and Goldson later said he was going for the ball.
With Jennings out and Patrick Estes dealing with a high-ankle sprain, Adam Snyder had to fill in at left tackle with the first-team unit. Snyder had been playing behind Larry Allen at left guard, which is where Nolan said he wants Snyder to remain. Damane Duckett and Harvey Dahl also have been playing left tackle.
Quarterback Alex Smith may be the face of 49ers, but that didn't stop him from receiving a face full of shaving cream in the locker room that came courtesy of back-up quarterback Shaun Hill. Word has it that Alex started it with a practical joke last night and that the battle promises to escalate.
When Tully Banta-Cain complained to me yesterday about the term 'roly poly,' which I used in a story about him earlier this week, I couldn't tell if he was genuinely upset or just playing with me. It turns out it's the former. The guy is not happy. So for the record, I sincerely apologize. In my own defense, I've written dozens of items this spring and summer in training camp about how good Banta-Cain has looked in practice.
-- Matt Barrows