It's the dog days of camp.
The heat is physically and mentally draining. The players are sore. And the two-a-days are starting to take their toll.
“Don’t throw rocks at the throne,” he barked at the offense whenever the defense made big plays. “Don’t throw rocks at the throne.”
That’s all it took.
Those six words during the team period were all the 49ers needed to hear to have arguably their most spirited practice of this year’s training camp.
“I’m out there trying to get everyone’s competitive juices flowing,” Lewis said. “When the defense and the offense go back and forth like that, you can definitely tell it boosts morale and picks us up.
“This was one of the best practices we’ve had, especially there at the end, and I think it’s because we were so competitive with each other. We talk trash, but it’s out of love.”
Practice had been spirited up until the final team period, but it rose to another level once the trash talking heightened.
The 49ers were doing what they call an “ownership period” where the coaches step back and let the players call the plays themselves. Making the period even more intriguing was the fact that it was in the red zone and it was the final period of practice.
The defense started off strong and didn’t budge. The defensive players weren’t quiet about their play either, and the offense wanted to do something about it.
“We’re competitors,” fullback
And they did.
On the final play of the period quarterback
The two sides left the field immersed in healthy, competitive trash talk.
Practice was supposed to be over at that point, but head coach Mike Singletary wanted to capitalize on the intensity and let the players settle it on the gridiron.
He signaled them back to the field, and the passion grew.
“When Coach brought us back out there I think everybody was pumped up and ready to go,” safety
Singletary set the ball on the 15-yard line and gave the offense five plays to score.
The offense inched towards the end zone, but the defense was there every step of the way. On the final play of the drive, Smith lobbed a four-yard pass to tight end
Both sides erupted.
Walker said he got both feet in for the score.
“I had two feet dragging, touchdown all the way,” he said. “Go over there and look, there are drag marks. We can go back and look at the tape, I know I was in.”
The defense insisted he was out of bounds.
“Delanie’s had some great catches, but not today,” Goldson said. “The defense won that one.”
While bragging rights were on the line with Walker’s catch, Singletary and his coaching staff accomplished their goal. They got the players to take ownership on the field, and in the process it re-energized the players, fired up their competitive spirits boosted team morale.
“I can definitely see that energy sticking around for a while,” Lewis said. “When we’re out there and it’s that competitive it’s more fun.
“The coaches wanted us to take ownership, and we did that.”
Notes and Quotes
The competitive banter began even before the ownership period. It took off during red zone work near the end of practice when rookies
Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye praised running back
Raye also said that while
San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan attended Wednesday’s morning practice to see the level of intensity and get a feel for how Singletary interacts with and motivates his players.