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Boldin Steps Up at 49ers OTAs

Posted May 28, 2013

Anquan Boldin put on an absolute clinic at 49ers OTAs.

It was an absolute clinic.

Short routes, intermediate routes and deep routes – you name it and Anquan Boldin made every kind of reception imaginable at Tuesday’s Organized Team Activity at 49ers headquarters.

“It was just of those days where it happened to be me,” the 11-year pro said after an impressive showing.

Boldin caught 10 passes during 7-on-7 and team periods. Even more impressive, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound wide receiver caught six passes during the opening 7-on-7 period and looked very much like San Francisco’s top option in the passing game with Michael Crabtree on the mend.

Boldin did damage to the 49ers secondary in Super Bowl XLVII and continued his stellar play on the team’s practice fields.

“You got a good look at what he’s been doing,” Jim Harbaugh told the media after the two-hour workout.

The 49ers coach raved about Boldin’s quick learning of San Francisco’s offense and the physical wideout’s ability to make “big catches in tight areas.”

Boldin proved his toughness and willingness to go over the middle when he out-leaped All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis to haul in a perfectly placed 30-yard pass from Colin Kaepernick.

“He’s just very serious about competing and very serious about football and winning,” Harbaugh said of the wideout the 49ers acquired in a trade from Baltimore. “I think it’ll speak volumes if the young guys observe that.”

Boldin hauled in slants, crossing routes, post patterns, comebacks, out patterns and dig routes on Tuesday.

It was a masterful showing from a 32-year-old receiver making first impressions on his third NFL team.

“It’s like being a rookie all over,” Boldin said with a grin. “It’s cool.”

Boldin said he’s comfortable with the 49ers offensive system at this point of the offseason and is leaning on his experience with Arizona and Baltimore to help him pick up San Francisco’s terminology on the fly.

It’s all about “translating” the verbiage for Boldin.

So far, any interpretation issues have been hard to notice. Boldin hauled in every catchable pass and made receptions from all four quarterbacks: Kaepernick, Colt McCoy, Scott Tolzien and rookie B.J. Daniels.

Boldin has played with several hard-throwing quarterbacks in his career and feels like it has prepared him for the rifled passes from Kaepernick, who enters 2013 as a full-time starter for the first time in his career.

“He’s a special talent,” Boldin said of San Francisco’s starting quarterback. “He can make any throw on the field.”

With a strong-handed wideout like Boldin, the 49ers quarterback can even make throws to a receiver when they’re tightly covered.

“I want Kap to be comfortable,” said Boldin, a trusted receiver with 772 career receptions under his belt. “Even if it doesn’t look like I’m open, give me a chance.”

Boldin had those trusted opportunities on Tuesday and delivered for his team with quality receptions each time.

“You saw what we’ve been seeing for the past couple weeks now,” Harbaugh went on to say. “Very good.”

Boldin understands the nature of the NFL and how he’ll be relied on heavily in the passing game with Crabtree out for a long period of time.

Boldin reached out to Crabtree when he heard about the fifth-year veteran suffering an Achilles injury at OTAs last week. Boldin has been through major injuries in his career and knows the alone feeling that comes with being away from the team. The veteran, however, gave Crabtree encouraging advice and is looking to continue mentoring the young wideouts on San Francisco’s roster until Crabtree returns to action.

“The passing game goes through us,” Boldin said. “It’s definitely on us to get better as a receiving corps. A guy like Crabtree you don’t replace. When you lose a guy like that, the next guy has to step up. There is no wait and see.”

Week 2 OTA Notes

-Daniels started practice with the running backs, but also joined the quarterbacks during 7-on-7 and team periods. Daniels took third-string reps along with Tolzien and had one of the best throws of the day, a 25-yard go route to tight end MarQueis Gray, who slid past Willis’ coverage.

-Vernon Davis also split time during individual periods. The veteran play-maker began the day with the tight ends, but later ran routes with the wide receiver group.

-Kaepernick’s arm strength is still impressive as ever. Accuracy has also improved for the quarterback heading into his third NFL season. Kaepernick finished the 7-on-7 and team periods 9-of-15 with a dropped pass. Kaepernick’s two-minute drive to close out practice ended on a 3rd-and-5 incompletion intended for wide receiver Chad Hall.

-A.J. Jenkins appears to be much more comfortable. The second-year wide receiver looks fluid in his routes and is able to catch passes away from his body all over the field.

-This was the order for punt return period: cornerback Perrish Cox, running back LaMichael James, Hall, rookie wider receiver Quinton Patton and Daniels. All five players each fielded three punts successfully.

-McCoy continued to show accuracy as San Francisco’s No. 2 signal-caller. The fourth-year quarterback was 9-of-11 in 7-on-7 and team periods. McCoy completed four of his passes to Boldin. Tolzien was a perfect 7-of-7 in those periods and ran several read option plays with the third-team unit. Daniels finished the day 4-of-6 and ran a few plays as a running back to close out practice.

-Special teams period saw new kicker Phil Dawson strike the ball consistently down the middle of Brad Seely’s slimmed-down uprights. The 49ers special teams coordinator utilizes slim uprights at practice, half the size of normal goal posts. They didn’t bother Dawson one bit. Dawson connected on several kicks from 30-40 yards out.


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