49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 6, 2012
Day 9 recap: Crabtree's back, but not all the way


Jim Harbaugh began his post-practice press conference today by offering condolences to the family of Eagles coach Andy Reid, who lost his oldest son, Garrett, on Sunday. He said the two families have been close since his brother John started working as an assistant under Reid with the Eagles. John Harbaugh spent nine seasons under Reid. "They have done nothing but good things for our family, and we're very saddened at this time," Harbaugh said.

On Sunday 49ers kicker David Akers, who spent 12 seasons with Reid in Philadelphia, Tweeted: "My deepest prayers and thoughts go out to the whole Reid family. Have no words just the deepest sympathy."

Yes, Michael Crabtree is back. But he's not all the way back. Crabtree took part in individual drills Monday but did not do any seven-on-seven, 11-on-11 or team work. He spent some of that time running routes against strength coach Mark Uyeyama as head trainer Jeff Ferguson looked on.

Harbaugh said Crabtree - who presumably has a calf strain - would be evaluated today to determine whether to ramp up his practice routine. "We'll see how he responds, how he feels tomorrow, see what the soreness is like. We'll make a decision tomorrow where we're at." That is, Crabtree will be worked back in slowly and his availability for Friday's preseason opener is still iffy.

Asked which 49ers have jumped out to him recently, Harbaugh cited running back Kendall Hunter and OLB Ahmad Brooks. Said Harbaugh of Brooks, who signed a six-year, $44.5M contract in the offseason: "I don't know if he doubled, tripled or quadrupled his salary, but this is the best shape he's been in.

"People say it's the best offseason he's had. I think that speaks volumes about a guy, a person. Some people tend to go the other way when money enters the picture like that. I've been real impressed. Ahmad is having an outstanding camp and there are several others."

I wrote about Brooks' quiet transformation over the weekend. As for Hunter, he has looked very quick over the offseason. He should be a home-run hitter for the 49ers this season - that is, a guy who gets through the first line of the defense and then is gone.

Some practice notes ... Isaac Sopoaga caught a pass from Alex Smith during 11-on-11 drills and otherwise saw his first snaps (from what I've been able to tell, anyway) on offense. Sopoaga took 42 snaps last year as a fullback in the team's heavy jumbo packages.

It wasn't as one-sided as it's been, but the defense still had plenty of big moments Monday. Chris Culliver picked off Josh Johnson on a sideline pass that was too high for Brett Swain. A Colin Kaepernick pass over the middle was tipped in the air and intercepted by Tramaine Brock, who has looked better of late after a rough opening to training camp.

Ian Williams, who looked good Saturday, had a sack of Alex Smith against the first-team offensive line. Aldon Smith, meanwhile, had back-to-back sacks against the first-team offensive line during team drills.

It wasn't all bad for the offense. Kaepernick threw a dart over the middle to tight end Konrad Reuland against the first-team defense. Smith, meanwhile, threw another lovely - yeah, I wrote it: lovely - pass to Vernon Davis on a deep sideline route over rookie Deante Purvis.

Speaking of Davis, here's a prime example of how he's changed since coming into the league in 2006. During team drills - when tackling was verboten - he caught a short pass over the middle. As he was easing up, Aldon Smith knocked him down from behind.

It was a cheap shot, and one that would have sparked a Vernon Davis brawl in 2006 (or 2007 or 2008). The more mature Davis, however, merely got to his feet said something to Smith as he walked past him, and went back to the huddle.

Notes: Mike Iupati and Nate Byham were back at practice after missing the last two. ... Joe Hastings and Curtis Holcomb continue to work through injuries. ... Daniel Kilgore continues to see some repetitions at center with the starting unit late in practice. Jonathan Goodwin is the starter, but the team obviously wants Kilgore to get as much exposure as possible.

-- 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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