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June 15, 2010
Tuesdays with Alex

It was a slow-news Tuesday, so I spent the day charting Alex Smith's passes in team drills. The 49ers don't work on the full offensive playbook every day. Instead, they do it in pieces. Today's session was done in conjunction with the defense and focused on third-and-manageable situations. (3rd and five, 3rd and 6, etc.) The defense, meanwhile, was in its third-down packages. The defensive personnel were:

-- Four down linemen, from right to left: Ahmad Brooks, Justin Smith, Ray McDonald and Parys Haralson.

-- Two linebackers: Patrick Willis, Takeo Spikes

-- Five defensive backs: Karl Paymah, Tarell Brown, Keith Smith, Michael Lewis and Dashon Goldson. (Reggie Smith subbed for Spikes when the defense went with its dime package.)

Here's what Smith did in the first 11-on-11 situation:

• Quick pass to Josh Morgan.
• Pass to Ted Ginn in the left flat is broken up by Paymah
• Shovel pass to Frank Gore is incomplete.
• 10-yard pass to Michael Crabtree
• Five-yard pass to Crabtree
• Short pass to tight end Tony Curtis is dropped. (Curtis was filling in for Vernon Davis).

The offense had another 11-on-11 drill later in practice just outside its own goal line.

• Short pass to Crabtree
• Nice slant to Dominique Zeigler that went for a big gain
• Pass to Morgan on a slant.
• 15-yard pass to Jason Hill
• 15-yarder to Morgan (play would have ended with a Justin Smith sack had the practice been "live").
• Quick pass to Morgan, who crashes into Keith Smith as the ball arrives but still manages to hang on.

Later Smith attempted a deep pass to Ginn, who had a step on the cornerback and safety. The ball, however, was underthrown, got held up by the wind and was taken in by Goldson, who made a one-handed interception.

-- Matt 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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