“In every practice open to media, he’s been much hands-on than his predecessors. On Tuesday, he watched tip drills — in which a ball gets batted up to simulate a tip and ensuing interception — for the entire defense. He offered encouragement — in the form of ye olde coach slap on the rear — to just about every player in the fast-paced drill.
There have been times in 11-on-11s when he tracks down a defensive back or two and gestures to them on something they can correct, and shows what they should be doing. He’s involved.
“I see certain things back there,” Wilks said. “I’m trying to make coaching points on the run, just to try to get those guys to self-correct themselves. Because there’s times, of course, during the game, you can’t get to them. So you just want them to be able to think about what should happen then hit the reset button and get ready for the next play.”
“Two in the morning? That’s an actual workout schedule for the 34-year-old Williams, who likes the idea of getting his work in while nobody’s watching...“It’s pretty much the schedule but it’s more so therapy. You get to get in there and you don’t feel like you’re in a fishbowl where everybody’s watching you, how much you lift and when you get tired and kind of measuring themselves. Me, I just like to go in there, it’s open space, it’s night outside. It’s kind of like I know everybody’s sleeping. I feel like I’m working. Maybe I’m getting a leg up. They probably work while I’m sleeping. But to me it’s kind of a mental thing.”
“I told Christian, ‘That’s why you’ve got to be over here with me,’” Williams said, laughing. “‘You don’t got to worry about all that.’”
Most stars are observers at this point of the offseason. Over the past two days, Williams assumed his usual role as one after going through position drills with offensive line coach Chris Foerster to open practice. Edge rusher Nick Bosa was in the weight room during Tuesday’s session before he ambled outside to watch Wednesday’s 11-on-11 work. Linebacker Fred Warner enthusiastically watched every snap from the sideline. Receiver Deebo Samuel ran wind sprints about 50 yards away from the action.”
“We know what he can do,” 49ers left tackle Trent Williams said. “I was ecstatic that we ain’t gotta see him on the other sideline. That guy’s a heck of a playmaker.”
“Yesterday, he missed a 38-yard field goal wide left. Today, he boomed a 63-yard field goal through the uprights with distance to spare. Moody has the strongest leg I’ve ever seen in person. We just have to see if he can hit the short ones consistently.”
“Overall, Darnold didn’t make any big plays during 11 on 11s. His best throw was a 15-yard completion to Ray-Ray McCloud over the middle on the final play of practice. Otherwise, Darnold’s performance did not inspire confidence. Neither he nor Lance won this minicamp competition — both lost. Expect them to continue splitting reps with the first-team in training camp until one asserts himself or Brock Purdy returns.”
“But I think next year the conversation becomes more interesting. Aiyuk — really to me guys, and I’m not trying to take away too much from these OTAs — he’s probably been the best player on the field that we’ve seen. I think he’s in a position where he’s going to get a big contract. Now, next offseason if you do a contract with Aiyuk, theoretically you could structure it where his first year cap hit is pretty low, and you could keep both of them.”
“I wasn’t playing, and then I had an ankle injury, and it was just like, ‘Man, I don’t know if my body’s already old,’ ” Mason said. “I just didn’t feel good about myself. … But I have a strong family behind me and just as I was about to quit football, I had a talk with my dad. He was basically telling me that I hadn’t lost it. It was, ‘You’ve still got it. Just keep going.’
“Whenever I’m down, I turn to him.”