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My notes and observations from 49ers training camp

The San Francsico 49ers allowed me to observe training camp on Sunday. It was hard not to be a giddy fan-boy, but I kept my cool. Here are some words on the day.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers had their Sunday practice, but one difference this time was the fact that I got to observe. The 49ers PR department issued me a credential on behalf of Niners Nation, and I am still having trouble registering the fact that they let me in to training camp. It was a surreal experience, which feels like a once-in-a-lifetime thing but hopefully is not. I have quite a few notes from the day so here's a basic rundown of what went on and what I noticed. I will have more up during the week, including an album of photos I took at the beginning of practice. Also, leave any questions you might have in comments and I will do my best to answer them.

  • Vernon Davis made the catch of the day with a one handed leaping grab over Tarell Brown during one-on-ones. He did give a little bit of a push off but it was a pretty athletic play nonetheless.
  • Kaepernick's release is slow. His throwing motion is goofy and we all know that. Seeing it in person with three other QBs to compare it too made it a little more noticeable than watching on TV. However, Kap's passes get to the receiver's much faster than anybody else. His arm strength makes up for his quirky release.
  • B.J. Daniels looked really good in one-on-one, 7-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills. He has a strong arm and good accuracy. It was during team drills when he had pressure in his face that you could see he had work to do.
  • To the point above, it was abundantly clear why Kap is strides ahead of the other QBs on this team. All the guys have good arms, can throw accurately and are athletic, but Kap was the only one that looked the same going from drills with no pressure to drills with pressure.
  • Quinton Patton fielded punts (tried to anyways) one handed during the special teams portion of training. From Harbaugh's press conference after the game it is clear that LaMichael James is going to be the guy on punt returns unless he has a miserable preseason showing. Kyle Williams also had a few reps as punt returner.
  • The defense looked dominant today. There were always guys in the backfield, putting pressure on the 49ers QBs. The offense struggled to move the ball and was forced to kick a lot of field goals.
  • Navorro Bowman made a great diving pass defense on a pass from Colt McCoy to Garrett Celek. Up until this point practice seemed to be pretty calm, but this play got the competitive juices flowing a little bit. Just a few plays later Chad Hall fumbled the ball and C.J. Spillman recovered. The defense was pretty fired up at that point.
  • Austin Collie and Lavelle Hawkins took every opportunity to work on route running when they weren't actually on the field.
  • LaMichael James looked good running the ball. He seems to be much more patient in letting his O-Line open up holes for him. Also, he's put on about 10 lbs since last season, and his weight-gain was noticeable.
  • Kendall Hunter ran sprints off to the side of the field. He dragged a big chain behind him during the workout. His gait looked healthy with no noticeable limp. It was difficult to judge where his speed is at right now because of the giant chain he dragged, and there wasn't anyone else running near him to make a comparison.
  • Lawrence Okoye, the guy with the least football experience, took reps with the 2nd-team defense and looked really natural and fluid out there. I will say, however, that it looks like he plays a little high, but it is hard to judge when they aren't doing full contact.
  • I did not see a lot of the read-option today. Much of the practice was two-minute-drill type situations.
  • Practice was pretty calm and business as usual. One of the few light-hearted moments was after pass rusher Parys Haralson fell at Kaepernick's feet. Kap faked like he was going to help him up then dropped a playful WWE elbow on Haralson.
  • A.J. Jenkins showed flashes of potential, like his big TD catch, but he still remains a bit inconsistent.
I will have more this week regarding my day at camp, so stay tuned. Some advice for the anyone else who gets an opportunity to do this: wear sunscreen.