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10 Locker Room Observations: Sept. 16

Posted Sep 16, 2014

Safety Antoine Bethea has drawn praise from many corners of the locker room for his play in the San Francisco 49ers backfield.

The San Francisco 49ers opened their Levi's® Stadium locker room doors on Tuesday morning. Here's what we came away with...


1. Cornerback Tramaine Brock (toe) walked through with a boot on his foot, while tight end Vernon Davis (ankle) was seen with his heel halfway out of a Jordan Brand shoe and walking with the use of crutches. 

2. Tight end Vance McDonald said he won't know until Sunday how the depth chart at his position will shake out, what with Davis potentially sidelined and fellow reserve Derek Carrier recording a three-catch night on Sunday. McDonald added that he underwent an MRI and an X-ray on his knee, and neither test revealed structural damage, so he hopes to practice this week.

3. New members of the practice squad, tight end Xavier Grimble and cornerback Leon McFadden, had white tape with their last names in black Sharpie pasted atop their new locker stalls.

4. Also on the locker beat: Fullback Bruce Miller can stretch out now that both of his next-door neighbors, the dispatched Will Tukufafu and LaMichael James, are no longer with the team.

5. Kendall Hunter, who is currently on the team's Injured Reserve List after tearing the ACL in his right knee during training camp, was all smiles in the locker room. He said that his rehab was progressing well and that he is unsure of his NFL future. The fourth-year pro is slated to be a free agent at season's end, but he will continue to serve as a resource during team meetings.

6. Defensive players were questioned about their pass-rush production. While they didn't necessarily agree that their unit's rush has been slowed through two games, both defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie and linebacker Michael Wilhoite said that suspended outside linebacker Aldon Smith has been missed. Jerod-Eddie went so far as to say that a player like Smith only comes along every 10 to 12 years in the NFL.

7. About to review Arizona Cardinals film for the first time on Tuesday, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's players sounded like they were preparing for either of the Cards quarterbacks, Carson Palmer or Drew Stanton. Palmer missed Week 2 action because of a nerve issue in his right (throwing) shoulder.

8. Right tackle Jonathan Martin appears to still be using his aqua-marine-colored Miami Dolphins shoulder pads, as they were sitting atop his locker.

9. Safety Antoine Bethea knows the Arizona Cardinals top two passers quite well. He faced Carson Palmer last year as a member of the Indianapolis Colts. Plus, Cardinals backup, Drew Stanton, was a member of that Colts team, which was defeated by Arizona, 41-10. Bethea called Stanton, Arizona’s Week 2 starter, a “very capable player.” Stanton led Arizona to a come-from-behind road victory over the New York Giants.

10. Bethea added that there’s been an emphasis on defensive holding and pass interference penalties. “At the end of the day, you have to play,” said Bethea, who ranks second on the defense with 11 tackles through Week 2. “You have to play through all of that. There’s an emphasis on certain calls and the refs are doing their jobs. As players, we have to play through that, and make it happen.”

–Reporting from Andrew Pentis (1, 3-6), Tyler Emerick (2) and Taylor Price (7-10)

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