49ers scrimmage: Who's hot and who's not

The 49ers conducted a 43-play intra-squad scrimmage Saturday afternoon before a crowd of 3,000 at team headquarters, and that was plenty of time for some players to get a little closer to roster berths and some to get a little closer to the waiver wire. Here's a rundown on who was making plays and who wasn't during the full-contact live action, along with Niners' notes from the day.


WR Antonio Bryant: Blazed past cornerback Mike Rumph to roast the secondary for a 60-yard scoring pass, one of his three receptions as Bryant continued to dominate San Francisco defensive backs as he has throughout training camp.

RB Michael Robinson: Got by far the most work of any running back, getting stronger as the action progressed and making the most out of the holes that were given to him. Showed nice power and surge on several runs and was the only player that was singled out by coach Mike Nolan as a standout after the scrimmage. "Michael Robinson continues to show often," Nolan said. "He's getting the tough yards. He finds the hole well for a guy making a position change."

LB Parys Haralson: Was one of the top standouts of the day, looking like a demon in pass coverage and showing strong against the run. Held up well at the point of attack and crashed into RB Michael Robinson with a back-side tackle on a play that went for no gain. Was a disruptive force throughout the scrimmage.

CB Shawntae Spencer: Team's top cornerback continued his impressive summer with another fine showing. Top coverage skills were again on display when he made nice reaction to break up a pass and almost come away with an interception.

TE Delanie Walker: Impressive rookie wiggled his way open often and showed sure hands while catching three passes.

LB Jim Maxwell: Playing with the first unit in place of Derek Smith (held out with a minor injury), Maxwell was quick to the ball while making several stops and made a nice open-field tackle on RB Kevan Barlow.

QB Alex Smith: Looked superb running the offense, completing his first four passes and unleashing a 60-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Bryant into the wind. "I thought he did a good job moving the ball," Nolan said. "There was a lot of breeze out there. He threw the deep ball right into the wind and it was a tight spiral right on the money. It was a great throw. Nice job on that. There was traffic in his face a couple of times, but he delivered it real well. That was a move in the right direction, from a scrimmage standpoint."

LB Andre Torrey: Had a standout scrimmage, stopping Michael Robinson in the backfield with a good hit and pressuring quarterback Jesse Palmer into putting the ball on the ground on a blitz.

LB Jeff Ulbrich: Was all over the field when he was on it and had several aggressive plugs at the line of scrimmage.

DT Isaac Sopoaga: Saw a lot of playing time with both the first- and second-team units, and was a load throughout the day plugging up the middle.

S Vickiel Vaughn: Flew in from safety to knock away a pass from a wide-open Otis Amey at the very last moment and also flashed some ability on other plays.

DT Anthony Adams: Was quick and tough in the middle, holding the upper hand against offensive lineman across from him before suffering a hip flexor late in the scrimmage.

CB Derrick Johnson: Stuck with receivers down the sideline and refused to bite on play fakes.

FB Chris Hetherington: Caught a short swing pass from QB Trent Dilfer in a red-zone situation and made great effort to get into end zone, diving for the right pylon to give the second-unit offense its only touchdown.

QB Jesse Palmer: Moved well outside the pocket and made good decisions; didn't try to force the ball to receivers covered down the field.

CB B.J. Tucker: Broke down well in the open field and made a nice hit and shoestring tackle on the edge against Michael Robinson, who had a lot of room to run in front of him.

DE Melvin Oliver: Rookie really made an impression with his strong play against the run up and down the line. Had a massive hit at the goal line on Michael Robinson and took a big step toward making team.

LB Corey Smith: His blitz and would-be sack of quarterback Alex Smith (quarter backs weren't allowed to be hit) on third down thwarted the first-team offense's opening drive. Did the same thing against QB Jesse Palmer later in the scrimmage.

OT/G Adam Snyder: Stood up rushers in pass protection.


WR Marcus Maxwell: Was flagged for offensive pass interference for pushing off on CB Sammy Davis while trying to get separation down the sideline.

RB Frank Gore: Was stuffed several times at the line of scrimmage and couldn't break through even when given a crease while playing with both the first- and second-team units.

RB Kevan Barlow: Front-line back never got it going in his minimal opportunities with the first-unit offense.

WR Brandon Williams: Rookie couldn't hold onto a third-down pass on the sidelines after taking a lick from Mike Rumph after the ball arrived.

C Eric Heitmann: Was not getting much push up front in the running game.

S Mark Roman: Looked tentative in coverage and did not play aggressively.

LB David Dixon: Rookie was flattened at the point of attack and had trouble getting off blocks.


RB Maurice Hicks: Like the other running backs with the first two units, Hicks couldn't get much going on the ground. But he did have a nice pickup of a blitz in pass coverage and didn't go down easily when he did have the ball in his hands.

FB Moran Norris: Made some big blocks in the running game when brought into the action for that purpose, but was exposed in the passing game when he ran a very poor route in the flat that resulted in an incompletion at his feet.

OL Tavares Washington: Rookie held blocks well at the line of scrimmage, but also missed a pickup on a blitz.

DT/DE Ronnie Fields: Showed some good push in the pass rush but was inconsistent and occasionally taken out of plays.

QB Shaun Hill: Looked shaky in pocket and directing offense, but did throw a pretty pass for a completion to Otis Amey on a sideline out pattern.


--- Held out of the scrimmage due to minor ailments were DE Bryant Young (groin), LB Derek Smith (thigh), WR Arnaz Battle, C Jeremy Newberry (knee) and TE Terry Jones (ankle). Also missing the scrimmage with injuries were DE Jerry DeLoach and WR Derrick Hamilton (hamstring). DeLoach strained a medial collateral knee ligament earlier this week and will miss up to two weeks of practice. Hamilton was injured on the first day of camp practices and is out indefinitely.

--- Nolan also held out 13th-year veteran Larry Allen, a 10-time Pro Bowl guard who was the only healthy player not to participate. "I don't need to see Larry in live drills to know what he can do," Nolan said. "We have some depth on the interior and I wanted to make sure we got a look at those guys."

--- The 49ers stopped full-scale live contact after a brief halftime intermission and most plays the remainder of the scrimmage ended with touch-and-release from defenders instead of ball carriers being brought to the ground.

--- Nolan said he approached the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys earlier this spring about conducting a training camp scrimmage with the 49ers, but each team declined. The coach said he will continue to look for summer scrimmage partners in the future so that the 49ers don't have to scrimmage against themselves.

--- The 49ers came out of the scrimmage with two minor injuries. Adams suffered a hip flexor and Dixon twisted an ankle.

--- The 49ers have a player's day off Sunday before resuming two-a-day workouts Monday. They open the exhibition season Friday against the Chicago Bears at Monster Park in San Francisco.

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