Colt McCoy has proven to be a valuable backup quarterback for San Francisco.
McCoy’s impressive accuracy was on display at Wednesday’s Organized Team Activity at 49ers headquarters. While much of the media attention was on wide receivers looking to fill the vacancy left from Michael Crabtree’s Achilles injury, the 49ers quarterbacks had a strong showing during the two-hour session.
Colin Kaepernick looked sharp in Jim Harbaugh’s eyes, continuing his command of the 49ers offense and throwing the ball precisely on deep and intermediate routes.
The 49ers coach also raved about McCoy, the fourth-year pro acquired by San Francisco in a pre-draft trade with the Cleveland Browns.
“Colt was very sharp as well, probably his best day,” Harbaugh said. “And him, like everybody on the team right now, they’re building the knowledge for the system and getting better and better at it each day.
“That’s job number one. The second thing is you’re building that callus for playing football. And so far, so good. It’s going well.”
McCoy especially showed his understanding of a new offensive system during a red zone 7-on-7 period. The only touchdown of the day came from McCoy, who lofted a perfectly thrown 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Chad Hall who slipped by Chris Culliver to make a back-shoulder catch in the back right corner of the end zone.
“We ran a go route and Colt put up a catchable ball and I went up and made a play,” Hall said.
The third-year wideout also fielded punts during practice along with running back LaMichael James. Hall feels like special teams is his best way to impact the 49ers immediately.
“That’s something I’ve done since I was little,” Hall said. “I feel so comfortable back there. Honestly, I think it’s the best thing I do – punt return and make people miss back there. Hopefully I get an opportunity to win that spot this year.”
Hall is focused on winning the punt return duties, but also wants to help chip in for the loss of Crabtree.
“He’s such a big presence,” Hall said of Crabtree, the team’s leading receiver in 2012. “Not only in meetings but on the field. It’s so tough. He won’t be replaced, people will try to step up and do as well as they can.
“He was one of the best receivers in the league right now. He proved it last year. It’s just very unfortunate and hopefully his recovery will be short.”
OTA Notes from Wednesday
-Anthony Dixon, who suggested being a dual-threat in the backfield as a running back and blocker, continued working at fullback behind starter Bruce Miller.
-Undrafted rookie defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye continues to refine his technique during individual drills. The former British Olympian looks much more natural going through fundamental drills and is learning personally from four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Justin Smith.
-Justin Smith did not practice, but the team is pleased with how the defensive tackle is recovering from offseason triceps surgery. Harbaugh noted that Smith is putting up 350 pounds in the bench press. “I’d say he’s progressing well,” the 49ers coach said.
-Will Tukuafu and Demarcus Dobbs continued their two-way roles. Dobbs worked with the offensive side of the ball as a tight end midway through practice.
-Kyle Williams and Kendall Hunter were running on a limited basis at practice but didn’t join 7-on-7 or team periods. Both players showed improvement in their respective recoveries. Hunter is six months removed from an Achilles tear and was limited to conditioning work on an adjacent practice field. Williams ran short routes to open practice and then joined Hunter in conditioning work.
-Frank Gore had the best practice style of the day in pink breast cancer awareness cleats.
-California head coach Sonny Dykes came out to watch practice. Dykes coached fourth-round pick Quinton Patton at Louisiana Tech and came over to check on his former play-maker. Patton caught the best deep ball of the day from McCoy during individual period.
-Craig Dahl and Donte Whitner opened up as the first-team safeties. First-round draft pick Eric Reid joined Trenton Robinson with the second-team unit. Also, Nnamdi Asomugha and Carlos Rogers were the first-team cornerbacks. Tarell Brown was not in attendance at the voluntary workout.
-Dan Skuta only played as an outside linebacker.
-Andy Lee and Brian Jennings were back for the OTA session. Both raved about their working relationship with new kicker Phil Dawson.
-Ricardo Lockette made a nice comeback reception in 7-on-7 work on a throw from McCoy. Culliver had the coverage.
-During a red zone 7-on-7 period, Dahl almost intercepted Kaepernick, but dropped the takeaway after bobbling the ball several times. The free agent addition quickly read Kaepernick’s intended post pattern to tight end Cameron Morrah, but didn’t haul in the takeaway.
-Rookie tight end Vance McDonald made a tough high-point catch on a deep crossing route during the final team period. Scott Tolzien placed a perfect throw for the second-round pick to make a deep reception.