The 49ers completed their third practice off training camp this afternoon. In reality, the earliest any legitimate conclusions can be made is probably late this coming week. We won't know the answer to every question, but we'll be able to start answering a few of the questions surrounding the team (links to the Maiocco/Barrows articles at the bottom).
In the meantime, we can at least ponder what's gone down, and consider where it might lead. Alex Smith was given the ropes on the first team offense, after Shaun Hill had first team rep's yesterday. For those keeping score, it stands at Shaun Hill 2 starts, Alex Smith 1 start. Both quarterbacks were 5 of 8, but apparently Smith was involved in the prettiest play of the day, going deep to Josh Morgan, who made a one handed catch and ran it in for six.
Nate Davis was 1 of 2 this afternoon, while Damon Huard saw no practice time. Even if Davis were destined for the practice squad, I'm not surprised they're giving Davis more time with the offense. They need to know what they have with Davis as a potential third string QB versus a practice squad QB. Others may disagree, but I really don't think Damon Huard is not going to come out and surprise anybody in practice. I'd imagine he'll see plenty of snaps before the season starts, but why waste that time on a veteran when you can see what the rookie brings to the table?
Barrows spent some time watching the pass rush drills and apparently came away impressed with the performance of Alex Boone. That has to make a lot of folks here happy. In my initial 53-man roster projection, I included Barry Sims and not Alex Boone. I think it was more just fear of the unknown more than anything else. If he can continue to impress, it would seem like a fairly obviously choice to go with him as a backup offensive tackle over an older guy like Barry Sims.
One bit of good news was the return of Moran Norris. Apparently he made an appearance at the end of practice, although I don't think he actually practiced. Sounds like he'll be back in pads tomorrow.
According to Maiocco, Vernon Davis is leading the team in receptions during 11-on-11 action thus far with seven. Not a huge number, but maybe we're seeing the development of the tight end in the Jimmy Raye offense? I'm also curious to see where those receptions are occurring. Is Davis lining up strictly as a tight end, or being split out and moved around as in the past? I just sent Maiocco a tweet, so if I get a response I'll post it here (NN is indeed on Twitter for those that didn't know).
Update: Maiocco tweeted back that Davis's receptions are coming on traditional tight-end pass routes.
I'm getting out to training camp this week so I definitely want to keep an eye out for these kind of things. And if folks want me to look for more, let me know in the comments.
Aside from the sweet pass to Morgan, the only major excitement was when Kentwan Balmer blew into Alex Boone and almost knocked him into and over Shaun Hill. The QB is off-limits and fortunately Hill spun away and avoided what could have been a nasty collision. Speaking of which, there are no new injuries to report. Haralson and Brown remain day to day, RJF still has his staph infection and McDonald remains out on the PUP list.
Otherwise, things continue to move along relatively smoothly in 49ers land.