Nice day for a nutcracker. Let's play two! After introducing his players to his modified nutcracker session in the morning, Mike Singletary returned to it during the afternoon practice. The marquee event is the ongoing battle between Vernon Davis and Parys Haralson. (Actually, that battle's been going for years. See below). The tight end may have had the advantage in the morning, but Haralson came back in the afternoon, winning one battle and taking Davis to a draw in the other.
I thought tight ends Delanie Walker and Tony Curtis handled themselves well. Walker shoved Ahmad Brooks backward a few steps while Curtis, who is one of three tight ends vying to be the No. 3 tight end, looked good against Diyral Briggs. Brit Miller and Moran Norris again looked good, as you would expect a fullback to in this drill. Isaac Sopoaga threw center Tony Wragge to the ground, no easy task considering that Wragge weighs 310 pounds.
A year ago, Alex Smith's first training-camp pass was met with a chorus of boos. This time, the only cat call from the stand was "Nice pass, Alex!" after Smith's deep pass across the middle ended up in the belly of Davis. Smith's afternoon session certainly was better than his morning session. But the offense is still decidedly behind the defense and nothing looks crisp yet. Ah, but that's what training camp is for.
Miller and Michael Crabtree had two of the better practices. Smith found Miller wide open in the middle of the field for a touchdown during seven-on-seven drills. Smith also hooked up a couple of times with Crabtree. The receiver's best catch came on an overthrown pass from Nate Davis. Crabtree made a leaping, fingertip grab in front of safety Curtis Taylor.
Several 49ers got what the team calls a "veteran courtesy," meaning they did not practice. Those vets were Justin Smith, Travis LaBoy, Takeo Spikes, Michael Lewis and Barry Sims. Reggie Smith filled in for Lewis with the first-team defense while Scott McKillop lined up next to Patrick Willis at inside linebacker. David Baas (concussion) did not take part in the afternoon practice. Rookie Mike Iupati took all of Baas' snaps at left guard.
Finally, Darnell Dockett instigated a huge brawl at Cardinals camp today. But he had the 49ers in mind. (You would think they're opening the season in SF). Read Mike Sando's account here.
-- Matt Barrows