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Day 1 Observations from 49ers Minicamp

Posted Jun 17, 2014

The San Francisco 49ers kicked off a three-day mandatory veteran minicamp on Tuesday. Find out who stood out in the opening session.

The San Francisco 49ers kicked off a three-day mandatory veteran minicamp on Tuesday. Here are the key observations made from the opening session.

1. Young CBs Step Up

Just as Eric Wright decided to retire from the National Football League, the depth of the 49ers cornerback group showed itself on the practice field. Chris Cook once again lined up at right cornerback with the first-team defense and recorded a pass breakup on a McLeod Bethel-Thompson deep sideline throw. In nickel personnel, second-year cornerback Darryl Morris ran with the first unit and showed excellent footwork while covering intermediate routes.

It was also interesting to see rookie Dontae Johnson play as a slot cornerback during a blitz period. Johnson even lined up opposite of veteran receiver Anquan Boldin during team periods and held his own. On one occasion, Johnson was in good position to defend a red zone fade route that was targeted to Boldin. The pass went incomplete.

2. Notable Cameos

George Seifert began the minicamp session with a short speech to the team. Jim Harbaugh introduced the 2014 Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. San Francisco 49ers Hall of Famer and listened closely while Seifert spoke.

All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman watched the minicamp session and often conversed with Patrick Willis. Bowman seemed to be in good spirits while watching players compete to take his starting inside linebacker job to start the '14 campaign while he rehabs his major knee injury. Bowman even caught a few passes from quarterback Josh Johnson during the individual period of practice.

3. Notable Camos

Colin Kaepernick continued to display unique personal style. Only this time it was on the field. Kaepernick's best throw of the day was a red zone post pattern touchdown to Garrett Celek, who slipped past Shayne Skov's coverage.

4. Missing in Action

San Francisco's all-time rushing king Frank Gore only was involved for warmups, allowing his younger teammates to take all the practice reps. Carlos Hyde and Marcus Lattimore both made impressive catches out of the backfield. Lattimore doesn't wear gloves either.

Elsewhere, wide receivers Michael Crabtree, Stevie Johnson, Jonathan Baldwin and David Reed only warmed up at practice but did not do anything else. Crabtree has been taking a light practice workload this offseason, 12 months removed from an Achiles injury thast cost him the first 11 games of '13. He did, however, turn in a sensational catch while working on red zone routes with Kaepernick.

The other three aformentioned wideouts appear to be "working through something." They did some movement drills with the strength and conditioning staff. Crabtree ran sprints off to the side, but it wasn't under the football staff's supervision, so nothing to worry about.

Veteran defensive linemen Justin Smith, Ray McDonald and Ian Williams did not practice. All three were the 49ers starting defensive linemen in Week 1 of '13. Young linemen Tony Jerod-Eddie and Demarcus Dobbs joined Glenn Dorsey on the starting line. Jerod-Eddie recoreded an impressive batted pass during a two-minute drill period.

5. Boldin and Lloyd Work

With four receivers not involved in team drills, Lloyd seemed to be a busy man. The same could be said for Anquan Boldin. Both veteran receivers were heavily involved with the passing game. They lined up with the first-team offense throughout the day.

Boldin also recorded a touchdown, beating Morris to haul in a red zone touchdown pass thrown by Bethel-Thompson.


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