The 49ers officially kicked off training camp this afternoon, but the big bang promises to come Monday morning when the team conducts its first full-contact practice of the offseason. There were no changes in the starting lineup when the 49ers broke huddle in team drills. Ah, but there were subtle changes up and down the depth chart:
â€¢ When spring drills began in May, second-round pick Taylor Mays was running with the third-team defense. Today he was solidly with the second. He appears to have leapfrogged both Reggie Smith and Curtis Taylor. Both of them played next to Mays at different times this afternoon and also rotated in with third-string safety Chris Maragos. "He is making good progress," Mike Singletary said of Mays. "The thing that we're trying to do is give him as much exposure as we can and see how he responds to it."
â€¢ Neither Anthony Davis nor Mike Iupati saw as much first-team action as they did in the most recent OTAs. Davis saw some action at right tackle with the group. Said Singletary of giving the rookies first-team opportunities: "I don't want to give anybody anything. I want them to work for it." Iupati apparently had difficulty with his cleats and was being attended to by the trainers at the end of the session. He jogged off the field after practice and appears fine.
â€¢ A couple of injured players made their returns. Receiver Brandon Jones got a lot of work at receiver as well as punt returner. Cornerback Will James, meanwhile, made his 49ers debut. He played in the third-team defense opposite rookie Phillip Adams. The first four cornerbacks were Nate Clements, Shawntae Spencer, Karl Paymah and Tarell Brown. The 49ers opened camp with zero injuries.
â€¢ Starting nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin was a no show. Ricky Jean-Francois played with the first-team defense while Isaac Sopoaga ran with the second team. Singletary said he had no concern about what kind of shape Franklin will be in when he reports.
â€¢ Finally, Michael Crabtree made a rare appearance at the lectern to speak to the full media contingent. Crabtree, of course, missed all of last year's training camp because of a contract dispute. But he insisted his summer - in the Tampa area - was just as grueling as his teammates'. He said he and a contingent of friends, including a former cornerback, would hit the field at 7 a.m. and go through all of the plays Crabtree recalled from spring drills. Crabtree said he tried to map his day so that it matched what the 49ers were doing 3,000 miles away in Santa Clara. You know what - it worked pretty well.
-- Matt Barrows