Wrapping up Week One
THE CAMP GRIND: "They're wearing down a little bit, but that's just natural," coach Dennis Erickson said. "But how hard they practice is still there. We're in two-a-days, but they're still practicing hard with a lot of enthusiasm. This is the hard part." GARCIA BACK IN FORM: Watching Jeff Garcia, it seems difficult to believe that this is a quarterback who entered training camp a week ago limited by a back problem. Garcia, while not exactly in mid-season form, is zipping around the practice field with the elusiveness and agility that has been his Pro Bowl trademark. He's also delivering the ball to receivers in top form. Garcia injured his back July 14, suffering a bulging disk while training. But on Thursday, he said of the injury, "It's not even an issue. I feel good. I'm old, but I feel good. I've been out there competing every single day. I don't think I've shown any signs of a back bothering me or anything like that. It hasn't been an issue. I haven't even thought about it, really." Garcia is getting about 40 percent of the repetitions in practice thus far while the Niners give plenty of work to backup Tim Rattay and youngsters Brandon Doman and Ken Dorsey. That percentage will increase exponentially for Garcia as camp wears on and the Niners get closer to the regular season. ANDRE THE GREAT: Defensive end Andre Carter has been slowed a bit recently by a knee bruise, but he was back at it Thursday, looking strong as he has throughout camp. His speed and explosion on the edge has been impressive to everyone, particularly linebacker Jeff Ulbrich, who gets to see Carter's development up close. "He's unbelievable," Ulbrich said. "He's a freak. We watch him with the pass rush he does - it's unbelievable. If you tighten up the coverage just a hair, this guy is going to get the NFL record for sacks. His hands, his speed, his athleticism - everything is unmatched. I think he's the premier pass rusher in the NFL. Nobody's even close to him as far as his hands, speed and technique. His relentlessness is unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it." LBS NOT BAD EITHER: Carter's not the only impact player on the defense making an impression. The starting linebacker corps of Ulbrich, Derek Smith and Julian Peterson continues to impress with their knowledge of the system and speed in flying to the football. Healthy and honed, they appear to be working much better as a unit this summer, and they were pretty good last year. With Jamie Winborn in support, there's no question they are the strength of the defense at this point. Peterson also is being used in coverage more often and always seems to be stuck to a receiving target when that is his assignment. STITCHES FOR BRONSON: Starting free safety Zack Bronson left Thursday's morning session clutching his right hand. He later was treated for a dislocated finger, which required stitches. Displaying his toughness, he was back at practice with his hand wrapped for the afternoon session. HURTING: Training camp is taking its toll. Twelve players did not suit up for practice Monday, and 18 more were either limited or practiced to the tolerance level of their injuries. OUT AGAIN: Jim Flanigan, a projected starter at defensive tackle, is on the sidelines again do to another calf pull. He missed the start of camp with the same ailment and has only practiced two days of camp so far. It could be a while before he practices again. "We're being very careful with him," said Erickson, who said Flanigan is rehabbing and "hopefully will be back in the next week or two." Meanwhile, Josh Shaw and Anthony Adams continue to develop in Flanigan's place. Adams appears to be getting a better sense of the game at this level and might be moving ahead of Shaw in that competition. "I've been impressed with Anthony Adams in pads," Erickson said. "He has really improved the last couple of days." TIGHT COVERAGE: After a slow start, Ahmed Plummer is rounding into form at cornerback. He had a solid day in coverage, hounding receivers throughout practice. Also making some plays has been unheralded safety Dwaine Carpenter, who is a player to watch the rest of training camp. ENDING WITH A BANG: Rookie Ken Dorsey gave a vivid display of his arm strength on the final play of team drills to complete the morning practice, uncorking a high spiral that hit receiver Tai Streets in stride 50 yards down the field. After some contact along the sideline, Streets broke away from cornerback Fred Weary to run underneath Dorsey's gorgeous throw. "I get mixed feelings. I wish the corner could have made a play on it," Erickson said. "But there's not much of a better way to end it if you're a quarterback and receiver."
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