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Day 3 Observations from 49ers Minicamp

Posted Jun 19, 2014

Wrapping up the three-day camp, players were awarded for perfect attendance while being asked to be on their best behavior until the start of training camp.

The San Francisco 49ers concluded a three-day mandatory veteran minicamp on Thursday. Here are the key observations made from the third session.

1. Kaepernick and Co. on Point

Colin Kaepernick was nearly intercepted by linebacker Ahmad Brooks on the first play of 11-versus-11 practice, but he turned it around with a 15-yard touchdown toss to Anquan Boldin on the first play of the red-zone portion of team drills. Then he extended a play nicely for a short completion to tight end Vance McDonald.

The quarterback seemed to embody his teammates' week: not perfect, but close to it.

How did Jim Harbaugh sum up the offseason program-concluding three-day camp?

“Outstanding. Really pleased," he said. "Thought our players are getting better and better at multiple positions on our team. Coming out of this feeling really good that we improved as a football team this week, over the nine weeks over the offseason training, and stayed pretty much completely healthy. Come out of here with no serious injuries, no ‘keep-him-out-very-long’ injuries. Feel good about that. Both those things.”

2. Best Behavior

At the end of the workout, Harbaugh gathered all of his players and coaches on the far side of the team's practice field at the SAP Performance Facility. The coach revealed later one part of his spiel to players, who will enjoy some time off before returning to Santa Clara in July.

“Beware with whom you associate," Harbaugh said he told his players. "Very important to know your surroundings. Friend or foe. There always seems to be a foe present. Get into a good football position and be ready for anything that’s coming at you. Be able to see around corners, see under doors, anticipate. But mainly, surround yourself with good people.”

Kaepernick acknowledged the importance of the message.

“Yeah, I would say since I really started playing it’s something I’ve been more aware of and especially in the past few months," he said. "It’s something that obviously you have to be very aware of.

“You want to keep good people around at all times regardless of where you’re at... For the most part, I’m going to be me. Off the field, you just have to look out for what other people’s intentions are.”

3. Perfect Attendance

Harbaugh awarded a record 59 of his 89 players with a black and gray "49er Way" T-shirt and certificate for perfect attendance over the course of the offseason program. 

The coach and his staff opened the initiative to rookies this year. Last year, 31 veterans didn't miss a single day of work.

"Patrick Willis, third year in a row with perfect attendance," said Harbaugh, who also singled out cornerback Tramaine Brock. "All the quarterbacks, perfect attendance. Tremendous job by our team. Lot of contributions, and I appreciate that one, when the guys volunteer to make the team better.”

4. Special Competition

Incumbent punt returner LaMichael James has shown consistency returning punts and kickoffs in practice, but he's not alone in competition for both roles.

"Perrish Cox has been doing a nice job there," Harbaugh said. "Devon Wylie, very good. Bruce Ellington is doing a nice job back there catching the ball.

"I think we’re going to come out of this with a real good returner, and not just one. Feel good about that position.”

James ranked 10th in the NFL with 10.9 yards per punt return in 2013.

5. Miscellaneous Moments

Left tackle Joe Staley was seen putting his arm around and chatting with general manager Trent Baalke in between drills... Staley and linebacker Blake Costanzo got locked up during a friendly competition at the line of scrimmage but were all smiles afterward... Second-year defensive tackle Lawrence Okoye, continuing his conversion from British Olympian to American football player, continued to stand out for his yellow, low-top, soccer-style cleats... Brock bobbled a would-have-been interception from reserve quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, yielding a "could have had it" yell from Harbaugh... Second-year linebacker Nick Moody made a nice pass break-up on a ball intended for second-year wideout Quinton Patton... Second-year cornerback Darryl Morris also knocked a reception away from veteran Brandon Lloyd in one-on-one coverage... Rehabbing rookies Jimmie Ward, Aaron Lynch and Trey Millard were pulling sleds off to the side during practice... Veteran nose tackle Ian Williams, who is on his way back from foot surgery, was seen taking a sledgehammer to a big tire... Before moving into team drills, defensive line coach Jim Tomsula had his players tossing the football during a drill. Tony Jerod-Eddie showed off a lefty motion, while Ray McDonald, who was in sweats and not fully participating, left more to be desired as a quarterback.


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