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Five Observations from 49ers OTA Session

Posted Jun 10, 2014

The 49ers defense got the best of the offensive counterparts at Tuesday's OTA session. Find out who stood out during the competitive workout.

The San Francisco 49ers held a two-hour OTA session that was open to the media on Tuesday.

Here are five observations from the on-field work.

1. Day for the Defense

The 49ers passing game had its moments, but the day was mostly about the defensive performance.

Undrafted rookie safety James McCray recorded the only interception of the day when a Colin Kaepernick pass deflected off the hands of his intended target, second-year tight end Vance McDonald, and into the arms of the young defensive back.

Jim Harbaugh said the passing game was “not as good as it has been” after the workout.

Rookie linebacker Chris Borland also broke up passes from Blaine Gabbert and Josh Johnson, respectively.

“He’s probably leading the team right now in deflections and interceptions,” Harbaugh said of the third-round linebacker drafted out of Wisconsin. “He’s been around the ball all spring. He’s doing a fine job.”

Elsewhere on the defense, veteran cornerback Chris Cook broke up the final pass of the day. Kaepernick’s red zone pass intended for Chuck Jacobs could have been picked off by Cook, but it was bobbled and dropped. Cook, however, has been a solid addition to the team while lining up at right cornerback with the first-team defense.

2. Kap's Best Throws

Kaepernick did enjoy a few strong moments during the day.

He connected with tight end Derek Carrier on a wheel route at the expense of slot cornerback Darryl Morris.

In one of the final periods of the session, Kaepernick rolled to his right and rifled a back-corner touchdown pass to wide receiver Devon Wylie during an 11-on-11 period. Wylie was able to get free from cornerback Tramaine Brock’s coverage.

3. Two-Minute Series

The final period of the practice, a two-minute drive, was easily the most compelling portion of the day.

Kaepernick completed seven consecutive passes, including one to his center Daniel Kilgore.

No trick play necessary.

After connecting with Jacobs and rookie receiver Bruce Ellington a couple of times, Kaepernick’s over-the-middle pass was knocked up high into the air by a defensive lineman. Instead of batting the ball down, Kilgore reached up and caught the ball.

Kaepernick went on to complete a slant to Jacobs and then spiked the ball to set up one last shot at the end zone. The offense failed to score points as Kaepernick’s pass was broken up by Cook to end the day.

4. WR / RB Report

Young receivers like Jacobs and Ellington took a lot of reps. Veteran wideouts Michael Crabtree, Stevie Johnson and Quinton Patton only took part in the individual portion of practice.

The same went for 10-year veteran runner Frank Gore.

The running back reps were divided by the team’s younger backs and all of them took turns carrying and catching the football in 7-on-7 and team periods.

Marcus Lattimore caught a short check-down pass from Johnson and displayed nice burst as he darted his way through the secondary to finish out the play.

Rookie runner Carlos Hyde also displayed speed while carrying the football in between the tackles.

Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James were solid throughout the day. James and cornerback Perrish Cox were the only players handling kick-off returns during a special teams period.

5. Punchy O-line

Joe Looney and Jonathan Martin lined up at right guard and right tackle during 11-on-11 work.

The entire line group received instructing from a new coach, former NFL lineman Bob Whitfield joined the team as a coaching intern and led groups of linemen through a bag-punching drill.

Whitfield called out which arm to use as the linemen took turns punching a blocking bag with either their right or left hand. The drill was very boxing like, especially when Whitfield called for combination hand strikes.

In addition to Whitfield, the 49ers also welcomed renowned quarterback guru George Whitfield to help instruct the team’s signal-caller group.


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