The 49ers had their first padded practice of the offseason yesterday and it should surprise nobody that Justin Smith was a force of nature against the offensive linemen. I think Matt Barrows made the perfect comparison:
The prime suspect on defense was - who else? - defensive end Justin Smith, who was last seen tossing aside New Orleans Saints and New York Giants offensive lineman as if he were Godzilla marching through downtown Tokyo.
Although the 49ers did get into padded drills, there remain some tough comparisons, particularly when looking at receivers and defensive backs. The team ran some basic passing drills, during which defensive backs were able to start trying to lock up and bump receivers at the line. However, that combined with no pass rush made them pure one-on-one drills that favored the receivers.
The same day 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh slammed the media for their portrayal of A.J. Jenkins, the 49ers rookie receiver had an up and down performance. It's interesting following the comparisons of the players in reports. Some viewed Jenkins day as down, others as not bad but not good. I think the value of training camp reports is more to follow the storylines across the two weeks leading up to the first game. It's hard to take one report as the be-all, end-all, but when you combine the reports over the course of July/August, things will start to emerge.