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June 14, 2013
Minicamp notes: Kaepernick's flourish; Daniels' worth; Moore, McDonald stand out


Anyone in show business knows that you always want to end your performance on a high note. That's exactly what the 49ers did in their final minicamp practice Thursday. The team's quarterbacks had been a tad off earlier in the session - an interception here, a bad throw there - until Colin Kaepernick got hot during team drills. When that was over, Jim Harbaugh dropped the curtain on the team's three-day minicamp, 45 minutes before it was scheduled to end.

Here was the sequence:

*Kapernick connected on a deep crossing route to Marlon Moore. Moore caught a similar pass earlier in the session and even caught a few kudos from Harbaugh after practice about how well he performed in minicamp. Bottom line: Don't go to sleep on Moore, whom I wrote about earlier this week.

* Kaepernick deep to tight end Vance McDonald, who made several catches on Thursday and who, like Moore, was cited by Harbaugh after the session. McDonald was particularly adept at leaping, twisting and making catches on balls along the sideline or on passes thrown behind him. This seems to bode quite well for the 49ers, especially when it comes to the red zone.

* Kaepernick to Kassim Osgood.

* Kaepernick deep crossing route to A.J. Jenkins, who made the catch of the day by going low and digging Kaepernick's fireball through traffic off the grass. An official on hand for the practice was on top of the play and quickly rushed in to signal it was a completion.

* Kaepernick to Ricardo Lockette along the sideline.

* Colt McCoy deep down the sideline to McDonald, who had a step on fellow rookie Corey Lemonier.

The 49ers did not have an incompletion in that series until McCoy tried a pass to Jenkins. And, in case you're wondering, it wasn't bad defense but rather really fantastic, pinpoint passing that caused this flurry of completions.

Said Harbaugh: "They were really sharp there. Colin, he's been on it all offseason. And that period especially was outstanding. Saw Vance McDonald on his birthday making some spectacular grabs. We'll have to have more Vance McDonald birthdays. But, yeah he was outstanding. Marlon Moore had a terrific day. And there were others. But, yeah it was highlighted by some really good throws and catches there at the end."

On Wednesday receiver Kyle Williams (knee) returned to practice when the 49ers were working on plays at half speed. On Thursday he got into the action during the punt-return session. He also spent part of the practice running on his own with a huge chain tied around his waist and sprinting - full speed - the length of the football field.

In other words, Williams looks very close to returning to practice full-time and should be on hand for the start of training camp. If 100 percent, he is the frontrunner to be the team's punt returner this season.

B.J. Daniels already has shown why he could land a spot on the roster this season. On Thursday, he lined up at quarterback, tailback and punt returner. He even was the passer during Austin Collie's midday workout. Daniels didn't necessarily stand out at any of those spots (nor did he look out of place) but the fact that he can play at least three positions (and probably can line up at WR, too) underscores how valuable he could be during a regular-season week of practice for the 49ers. It seems that a spot on the practice squad is a no brainer and that 53-man position is a strong possibility if he plays well this preseason.

That being said ... one of the interceptions on Thursday occurred when Scott Tolzien tried to throw a dump-off pass to Daniels, who was lined up in the backfield. The pass was deflected and grabbed out of the air by NaVorro Bowman. Tolzien also was picked off by Nnamdi Asomugha when the latter stepped in front of Quinton Patton on a crossing route. After looking strong heretofore, Patton had an off day on Thursday.

The other interception came on a very nice play by safety Darcel McBath, who stepped in front of Chad Hall along the sideline to pick off a deep comeback attempt by Kaepernick. McBath is not the most physically gifted safety on the team, but he is very smart and he had a couple of interceptions this week. ... Jenkins caught a pass and was promptly stripped of the ball by cornerback Tramaine Brock.

The 49ers had been shuffling their first-string safeties all week, and on Thursday Trenton Robinson got a chance to work with Donte Whitner. Robinson did a nice job of knocking the ball away from Moore on a short corner route in the end zone from Kaepernick that looked eerily similar to the 49ers' final offensive play(s) in the Super Bowl.

Rookie Eric Reid was dealing with a very minor injury and did not take part in the final team sessions. Also Jonathan Goodwin appeared to suffer a minor injury, allowing Daniel Kilgore to line up at center with the first-string defense.

Asked why Anquan Boldin did not take part in the team sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, Harbaugh said the coaches had seen plenty from him: "I just felt like he had done enough and I wanted to see the younger receivers and get them more reps," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh said 31 players earned perfect attendance certificates (which also came with t-shirts, but not Bee t-shirts). Said Harbaugh:

"It's a neat thing. You think back to when you were in school and the last day of school you get a perfect attendance certificate. And that's what this is. It says something nice about you. You go put it up at home, put it in a little frame. Put it on the wall. It says something nice about you. Kids look at it and it'll be extra motivation for them to attend all their classes. And it's a high criteria. It's a very cruel, very relentless criteria. It's perfection. It's every practice, every meeting, every weight workout with no excuse. You could have a great excuse. But, if you weren't there perfect then you don't get a sticker--certificate, and a T-shirt."

It's "School's out for Summer" for the 49ers veterans. They do not have to be back until training camp. However, the team's rookies will spend the next seven days in Santa Clara working on the same things they did in OTAs and minicamp. That's an advantage for someone like Patton, who is in the midst of a dogfight at the receiver position.

Have questions about the just-completed spring sessions? I'm all ears (for listening) and fingers (for typing). I'll be hosting a chat today at 11 a.m. All questions answered, including: What kind of hat does a man of rapidly advancing age wear when he realize baseball caps simply don't provide enough coverage? Ah, these are the types of questions that try men's souls. Www.sacbee.com/live.

-- 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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