Camp quick hits

Sights, sounds and sendoffs Wednesday during the third day of the 49ers final spring minicamp:

--- The first to go: Fred Stamps, the undrafted rookie receiver from Louisiana-Lafayette, didn't look too bad when he got a chance to get on the field the past two weeks. But those chances are over now as Stamps was released after Wednesday's practice, making him the first player to be lopped off the team's spring roster.

--- There will be more to come before training camp begins July 30. The Niners currently have 91 players on their roster, and they must get that number down to 80 by next month, not including NFL roster exemptions.

--- Curtis Conway was back at practice after missing the first two days of this minicamp due to prior commitments, and it is clear he catches the ball as well as anybody on the team.

--- Defensive end Andrew Williams is up to 275 pounds, shows some real burst on the edge, and the team is even experimenting with moving him inside to tackle in some passing situations.

--- The ever-impressive Terry Jackson put a move on rookie linebacker Melvin Simmons after catching a pass out of the backfield that had the entire group of red-shirted offensive players absolutely howling.

--- Jimmy Williams. Cedrick Wilson. Derrick Hamilton. Arnaz Battle. The Niners' kickoff and punt return men this season will come from among that group.

--- Coach Dennis Erickson didn't mention Arland Bruce when asked for the top candidates in that role, but Bruce has looked as quick and sharp as any of the above names during return drills this week.

--- The Niners were in the 3-4 defense by the second play of team drills Wednesday. Draw your own conclusions.

--- James Jordan caught a pass in the seam and found plenty of room to roam in an open middle of the field. It's moments like that which makes turning this guy into a tight end look like a great idea.

--- Michael Landry is getting a lot of time with the front units at defensive tackle, ahead of heralded rookie Isaac Sopoaga.

--- That's No. 52, not No. 62, starting with the first unit at center, but Brock Gutierrez is doing a commendable job this spring in place of Pro Bowler Jeremy Newberry. Of course, that's one guy who definitely is just keeping a position warm for somebody else.

--- Shawntae Spencer got a lot of time at right cornerback in place of Mike Rumph on Wednesday, but he's still running behind Jimmy Williams as the team's top nickel back.

--- Daily receiver update: As of this very minute, Arnaz Battle has to be at least the Niners' fifth-best receiver, if not higher on that list.

--- The Niners seem to be making a point to throw the ball to Jamal Robertson out of the backfield at least a few times each day, and he hasn't disappointed lately. He made a fine leaping grab while falling backward Wednesday.

--- The way Justin Smiley moves around makes you wonder how much longer Kyle Kosier will be considered the starting right guard once the pads go on in July.

--- We'll see some four-receiver sets this year that will just be setting up a screen pass to fullback Fred Beasley.

--- The practice pace wasn't exactly bad Wednesday, but the Niners might want to consider picking it up a bit before they finish minicamp Friday and spread out for their summer vacations. "We were a little slow today," Erickson said. "We weren't as good as we have been. We have to be able to deal with that. You get to your third day of practice, you have to be able stay at that level. We weren't quite as intense as we needed to be today."

There's always tomorrow. After that, check back on July 30.


Niners Digest Top Stories