OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Two Super Bowl contenders enjoyed a productive Saturday training camp session. It was cordial and competitive.
The San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens opened up "Harb Camp" with a near-three-hour practice at the Ravens training facility.
We emptied our notebooks to examine the key observations from the day.
-The two teams were split on two different practice fields during individual work. It's worth noting that LaMichael James was out on the practice field, but the third-year runner was not dressed for practice. Also, veteran receiver Brandon Lloyd dressed for warmups and looked to be running well as he caught passes from the team's four quarterbacks. Lloyd, however, did not participate in practice. He later changed and watched the session.
-Demarcus Dobbs took part in practice after the fourth-year defensive tackle suffered a leg injury in Thursday's preseason opener.
-Second-year tight end Vance McDonald did not practice. Jim Harbaugh praised the backup tight end for his performance against the Ravens and did not mention any injury to McDonald when he spoke with reporters earlier in the day. Derek Carrier lined up as San Francisco's second tight end and caught several passes in 7-on-7 and team periods.
-The first special teams portion of practice saw Jim and his brother John, have the most interaction of the day. Jim led the practice field with the 49ers offense and John oversaw the practice field with the Ravens offensive personnel.
-The wide receiver-cornerback 1-on-1 drills began a showcase of Stevie Johnson's growing chemistry with Colin Kaepernick. The rest of the 49ers wideouts performed well in the competitive drill. Out of the 20 passes thrown by 49ers quarterbacks, seven went incomplete. That included two pass interference penalties on Ravens cornerbacks and one reception that saw the receiver ruled out of bounds.
-The start of 7-on-7 drills saw the three practice fields being used at the same time. The 49ers first-team offense faced the Ravens first-team defense on one field. The 49ers first-team defense faced the Ravens first-team offense on another field. Lastly, offensive linemen from both teams squared off in 1-on-1 blocking drills against the other team's defensive linemen on a third field. It was hard to catch every observation during these portions of practice, but Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley appeared to do well against Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs when they matched up.
-Notes from the opening 7-on-7 period included: Kaepernick connected on a 25-yard deep crossing route to Vernon Davis. Baltimore safety Matt Elam had the coverage. Quarterback Josh Johnson also connected with a receiver at the expense of Elam, this time it was a deep seam route to Anquan Boldin. Meanwhile, on the opposite field, rookie linebacker Chris Borland broke up a pass intended for Ravens tight end Phillip Supernaw. New 49ers receiver Lance Lewis caught two passes in the drill. He wore number 17 because the team didn't have his official uniform number 18 with them on the road.
-Red zone 7-on-7 work saw Johnson beat Ravens cornerback Dominique Franks off the line with some nifty footwork. Johnson caught a quick slant from Kaepernick and looked quick as he fired off the line of scrimmage. Kaepernick, however, tried to complete a 10-yard seam pass to rookie receiver Bruce Ellington and the ball was deflected and eventually intercepted in the end zone by Baltimore cornerback Chykie Smith.
-Kaepernick completed 3-of-4 passes in the opening team period against the Ravens starting defense, including a 20-yard stop fade pass to Johnson, who jumped up and beat cornerback Jimmy Smith's tight coverage on the very first play from scrimmage.
-Quarterbacks continued their accuracy throwing drills during field goal periods. Instead of using a basketball-like net like they do back in the Bay Area, the quarterbacks took turns throwing at a large blue pass-rushing blocking pad. Kaepernick connected with the target at least four times by our unofficial count.
-Kaepernick continued the accuracy in the next team period, he completed three straight passes and found Carrier for a 35-yard seam route against the Ravens starters.
-It was tougher to see the 49ers defense on the far field, but it was clear that Ahmad Brooks recorded a sack on Tyrod Taylor and later broke up a Joe Flacco pass on a designed rollout. Perrish Cox recorded an interception on Taylor and rookie cornerback Dontae Johnson recorded an interception of his own after giving up a 50-yard deep touchdown to Ravens rookie receiver Michael Campanaro. Second-year safety Eric Reid nearly recorded a diving interception on Taylor, too. First-round draft pick Jimmie Ward was observed breaking up a deep sideline pass thrown by Taylor.
-In a move-the-ball period against the Ravens defense, Kaepernick completed 4-of-6 passes and helped set up a 55-yard Phil Dawson field goal. Kaepernick completed passes to Johnson, fullback Bruce Miller and had two more to Boldin on the drive.
-Second-string quarterback Blaine Gabbert led the 49ers offense to another scoring drive, capped by a 56-yard Dawson field goal. Gabbert's best throw was a 15-yard deep crossing route to veteran receiver Kassim Osgood.
-Practice ended with several players from both teams shaking hands.
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