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49ers Welcome Change of Scenery


Day in and day out, an NFL training camp can easily become monotonous and routine-like. Same schedule, same opponent and the same daily grind on the mind and body.

But fortunately for the 49ers, they practiced twice on Tuesday with the Oakland Raiders at the Raiders training camp facility in Napa and will practice twice more on Wednesday.

The opportunity to work against a new opponent in a new environment was a welcomed change for players and coaches alike.

"I thought that we got some good work out of it," head coach Mike Singletary said. "I was hopeful for us to come out and really have a good opportunity to get some one-on-one work in, their offensive line against our defensive line, our offensive line against their defensive line and the same deal with our defensive backs. Just looking at the matchups and I thought that we got some good work in."

The first day of the team's co-practice saw no punches being thrown from either side – a good sign that Singletary's team is focused on improving on the field. Last year, several minor skirmishes erupted throughout the 49ers single-day practice in Napa as tempers flared from both teams throughout the day.

But this time around, the 49ers took heed to the words of their head coach who cautioned them to avoid confrontation. Considering the two teams will hold four practice sessions together days before they compete in an exhibition game, the moods might soon change.

"I expect it to get heated," linebacker Takeo Spikes said of the days ahead.

Spikes pointed out that film study might increase the likelihood of a possible physical practice looming.

"When you turn on the film and you see you got beat, your teammates are always going to let you know the truth and you don't want to hear that," Spikes said. "And that's what we pride ourselves on. When we look at film, I can say I got him more than he got me. That's what it's about at the end of the day."

But that mindset doesn't only apply to players who lineup inside the hashmarks, skill players also feel the need to win every one-on-one matchup.

"As a man you want to win everything," wide receiver Josh Morgan. "When you're going against somebody else, you want to win. It's going to bring the best out of you and as a team we did a good job of winning."

Morgan said competing against the Raiders allowed him to work on different releases off the line of scrimmage since they play practically only press-man coverage.

From the battles inside of the trenches to the individual wars on the outside, Singletary has his eyes everywhere as he evaluates his roster.

"I just try and stay focused on all of the things that I can," he said. "They are certain things that are more important to me than others and I have to [look at] the other things. My eyes are everywhere."

But one of the most critical areas of practice he finds himself paying attention to is the play of his offensive and defensive lines.

"The trenches are always very important," Singletary said. "I think that's where it starts. And of course the quarterbacks, but we just have to continue to focus on those things until we get them where we need to get them."

PM Practice Particulars

Safety Michael Lewis was held out of the afternoon practice after he had a concussion in the morning practice.

On the very first play of 11-on-11 work, center Eric Heitmann leveled Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly at the line, allowing Frank Gore to burst for a nice gain down the right side of the line.

Play of the day honors went to quarterback Shaun Hill, who avoided Oakland's pass rush by scrambling to his left and then rifling a touchdown pass in the back left corner of the end zone to Morgan.

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