The Sunday view
--- Things got a little frisky near the finish of practice-ending team drills after quarterback Ken Dorsey took a mild hit from defensive end Corey Smith to which offensive tackle Jonas Jennings took exception. Several non-pleasantries were exchanged and the two players had to be separated, at which point coach Mike Nolan called the entire team into a brief huddle before resuming the final series of the session. --- After the impromptu team convergence, Nolan sent second- and third-team reserves onto the field to finish practice with one final drive down the field. Live. As in, no-holds-barred full contact, the first time Nolan has allowed his troops to go at each other without restriction since camp began. And those mostly unproven players hungry for roster spots did not hold back. --- "The live that you saw at the end was thrown in there at the last," Nolan explained. "It looked like we needed to do it. Everybody wanted to fight, so we thought we'd let them punch it out a little bit. They did a very good job and that's what we'll do; they want to fight it out, we'll fight it out. That was a good thing. That shows that guys are competing." --- Rookie cornerback Daven Holly, who has been making a solid early impression with his athletic skills, used the opportunity to deliver several licks before practice finally ended with undrafted rookie receiver Fred Amey diving for the left end zone pylon on a flanker reverse. Two plays earlier, Amey had hauled in a long pass before being crunched by both Holly and safety Mike Adams. "It was a good chance to get out some aggression," Holly said. --- There was a Kwame Harris sighting Sunday during mid-practice team drills as the offensive tackle blew out the right side of the defensive line with a pancake block that took out both end Chris Cooper and linebacker Saleem Rasheed, allowing tailback Maurice Hicks to scoot for a big gain. --- Hicks would seem to be the odd man out now in a cramped competition at tailback that includes Kevan Barlow, Frank Gore and Terry Jackson. But the slashing speedster won't go down without a fight, and coaches have noticed his diligence and determination, giving Hicks first-team snaps Sunday. He's also getting a long look as a kickoff returner. --- Fourth-year linebacker Brandon Moore completely lit up Barlow on blitz, blasting into him – and almost running over him – with one of the loudest and best hits of the day. Moore already has done that a few times in camp, and he is going to make this team and earn himself a role on it. --- Rookie receiver Marcus Maxwell continues to make an impression, adding some start-stop ability after the catch to go along with his formidable physical tools. --- Two days into camp, there isn't a 49ers defensive back that can cover veteran receiver Johnnie Morton, and it's not even close. --- Catch of the day: P.J. Fleck's all-out, over-the-shoulder diving grab of a long bomb thrown by rookie quarterback Alex Smith, who put just enough air under the pass to allow Fleck to extend underneath it. --- You can see it all coming together for Smith each day as the offense clicks in his head while he's executing it. In one effortless motion, Smith dropped back to pass, looked left for the quick slant, checked over the middle at his secondary target, then dropped the ball off to a wide-open running back in the flat. --- Smith again showed nice touch on his deep passes most of the day, but he began the final session of team drills by tossing up two fluttering, underthrown balls on deep sideline routes, then had his next pass knocked back in his face by oncoming linebacker Derek Smith. --- Tight end Eric Johnson is really going to help Smith's development – and that of the offense – by being a dependable safety valve over the middle when receivers are covered and pass protection breaks down. --- Arnaz Battle completely lost safety Tony Parrish on an out-and-up pattern – then dropped a perfectly-placed pass from Tim Rattay. Battle has displayed a few cases of the dropsies so far, and he needs to get more consistent if the Niners are to count on him at the crucial flanker position. --- Safety Keith Lewis is showing some instinct and athleticism to go with his aggressive style, chasing Dorsey to the sideline on a pass play, then knocking away his throw when the QB tried to get rid of the ball. --- Joe Nedney's big leg is going to provide a significant upgrade over Todd Peterson on kickoffs. This guy doesn't have much trouble reaching the end zone. --- The 49ers have a lot of areas that require attention, but they really need to address who their kick returners are going to be, because the guys being tried in those roles so far aren't getting the job done. --- Shawntae Spencer backpedals smoothly, stays square, then explodes out of his break on the ball. He's quickly establishing himself as the team's most fluid corner, and Niners coaches and personnel evaluators are impressed. --- On the other side, Ahmed Plummer is appearing stiff and sore and is a few poor practices away from being a legitimate cause for concern. --- Rookie Adam Snyder is going to be a good offensive lineman, but Bryant Young completely tossed him aside in one-on-one drills, like Young has been doing to a lot of offensive lineman since camp began. "There's a real strong chance B.Y. is going to be with us (this season)," Nolan quipped. --- And now, after an introductory weekend, two-a-day practices begin Monday morning. --- "I'm looking forward to that," Nolan said.
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