49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 8, 2012
Day 10 recap: James is absent while Jenkins shines

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What I consider the scariest sentence in the English language was uttered to me on Tuesday: There's a stomach bug going around 49ers training camp. One of the victims of said bug apparently was running back LaMichael James, who took part in the morning walk through but who was not on the field for the afternoon practice.

James is one of the more intriguing players to watch in Friday's preseason opener. If healthy, he promises to see a lot of action at running back in the second half. He's also listed as the No. 3 punt- and kick-returner behind Ted Ginn and Kyle Williams. Hopefully, it's the 24-hour kind of bug.

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On the practice field, it wasn't as if the offense has flipped the script against the dominant defense. But the last couple of practices haven't looked as one-sided as they had a few days ago. At the end of a two-minute drill, Alex Smith plunged into the end zone against the first-team defense with four seconds remaining.

Smith hit Vernon Davis for eight yards early in the drive, then had a nice improvisational shovel pass to Frank Gore for a big gain. As you would expect, yards were harder to come by close to the goal line. A pass was nearly picked off by Larry Grant (he was in for Patrick Willis, who was getting a rest). Another pass went off Delanie Walker's helmet. The 49ers also were flagged for delay of game.

But Smith also scrambled for some needed yardage and ran in the touchdown. This has been a recent theme in practice - a lot of running by the quarterbacks, especially Colin Kaepernick, Josh Johnson and Smith. It will be interesting to see if it continues in Friday's game.

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Of course, the defense had plenty of moments, too. Ahmad Brooks blew around right tackle Anthony Davis for a "sack" of Smith (If a defender merely tags a QB in training camp, it's a sack). ... Demarcus Dobbs got past backup right tackle Mike Person for a sack. ... Carlos Rogers intercepted a tipped pass from Josh Johnson. ... Donte Whitner seemed to come up with an interception in the middle of the field on a sidearm pass by Johnson. Johnson has a beautiful delivery when there's a clean pocket; when there's trouble, however, his passes seem to falter. ... Scott Tolzien hit Nathan Palmer with a nice pass, but a hard thump from safety Trenton Robinson dislodged the ball. Palmer has been quiet recently after a hot spring and start to camp.

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A.J. Jenkins had perhaps his best practice since joining the 49ers. He caught two passes from Johnson during the two-minute drill at the end of practice. His best catch was a high, over-the-middle dart from Tolzien in which Jenkins turned his body and reached up to snag the ball. Jenkins has been getting a lot of work - perhaps more than any other wideout -- and that promises to continue in Friday's game.

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Vernon Davis seemed to get nicked during the second half of practice and was held out the duration of the session. His status will be monitored today. ... Tight end Konrad Reuland had a typically productive afternoon in the receiving department, including snagging a ball that was tipped up twice downfield. No matter how awful the pass, The Garbage Man always ends up with the ball. ... David Akers was good on a 64-yard field goal - wind aided - that just made it over the top of the crossbar.

The 49ers will have another twilight practice today from 5 to 8 p.m.

-- Matt Barrows



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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