49ers camp scrimmage: Who's hot and who's not
LOOKING GOOD LB Tully Banta-Cain: Wow! This guy could not be stopped. He was going mostly against second-string competition, but his dominance was complete as he flew in from the edge with power and speed. By one estimate, Banta-Cain was in position to record six sacks before plays were whistled dead to protect quarterbacks. He also chased down RB Thomas Clayton from the backside and dragged him down behind the line of scrimmage. He was the shining star of the scrimmage. RB Maurice Hicks: After a lukewarm first week of camp, Hicks turned it up in the scrimmage, ripping off a big return with the opening kickoff, then breaking into the clear on several runs before the plays where whistled dead. He also caught the ball well out of the backfield and had his best summer showing yet to stake his claim to the No. 2 role at tailback behind Frank Gore. LB Manny Lawson: Culminated a big day by intercepting a Shaun Hill pass in the flat and returning it 30 yards for the only defensive touchdown of the afternoon. Also displayed good closing speed and pressure from the edge that put him in position to make sacks several times. P Andy Lee: Boomed a 75-yard punt that soared so far and high that it looked as though it was headed for one of the airplanes flying overhead. Also showed nice touch and placement on a pooch punt. LB Brandon Moore: Had several big hits and was a force against the run. Also had one of the best hits of the day on special teams, blowing up Vickiel Vaughn on a kick return. LB Jay Moore: Showed good acceleration in pass-rush situations and moved well in open space. Also made a diving interception on a tipped pass to end the opening drive of the day for the first-team offense, and showed some good coverage skills later in the day. DT Isaac Sopoaga: Was a brute in the trenches and made a statement against the first-team offense, blowing up RB Michael Robinson behind the line of scrimmage. Also tipped an Alex Smith pass at the line that was intercepted to thwart the first unit's opening offensive drive. G Larry Allen: Blew up safety Keith Lewis with a trap block and was his usual steamroller self in the run game. WR Taylor Jacobs: Continued his training camp surge by getting open and catching the ball when it arrived. TE Vernon Davis: Was the team's leading receiver with five receptions, one of them a 20-yard touchdown reception when he ran a crisp route to get wide open in the end zone. LB Patrick Willis: Displayed great awareness and acceleration to the ball, sniffing out a screen pass for a stop behind the line of scrimmage and getting his hat in on several tackles. S Dashon Goldson: Showed power and quickness in blitz situations and stayed close to receivers in several coverage situations, though he was beaten for a touchdown on one of them. G Justin Smiley: Was assignment-perfect several times and showed excellent drive-blocking skills while delivering blows in the trenches. LB Roderick Green: Showed good acceleration and push off the edge several times in passing situations. G David Baas: Showed nice power and drive-blocking in the interior against the first-team defense. WR/KR Brandon Williams: Beat Walt Harris to get open down the sideline and held onto a pass from Trent Dilfer as he took a big hit from safety Michael Lewis. Also secured the ball well on kick and punt returns. TE Billy Bajema: Was solid as usual as an in-motion blocker, and beat LB Brandon Moore for a reception over the middle. OG Tony Wragge: Did not budge in the middle while going head-up against starting defensive linemen Aubrayo Franklin and Ronnie Fields. CB Nate Clements: Made one of the top plays of the day when he swooped in front of Ashley Lelie to make a leaping interception. LB Mark Washington: Showed some nice drops on passing plays and an ability to cover in space. WR Darrell Jackson: Came on strong in the latter half of the scrimmage, including a fine diving grab along the left sideline when he got both feet down inside the field of play right in front of an official. TE Delanie Walker: Showed some fine blocking technique in the open field and an ability to find defenders. Had his helmet fly off on impact after delivering one blow. Later made a tough catch in traffic with LB Derek Smith hanging all over him. DT Joe Cohen: Shed blocks well and had a big stop behind the line of scrimmage. K Joe Nedney: Had plenty of distance on his kicks while splitting the uprights on all three of his field-goal attempts, the last from 44 yards. CB Marcus Hudson: Made a big hit on RB Michael Robinson near goal line, pushing him back to the 1-yard line. Also forced QB Alex Smith into a hurried incompletion while blitzing on a two-point conversion attempt. RB Michael Robinson: Showed some flash running the ball and good agility to bounce a play outside to score from the 1-yard line for the first-team offense's first touchdown. LB Hannibal Nieves: Stood out in several phases while playing against the third group on offense. NOT LOOKING GOOD OT Damane Duckett: Was embarrassed several times by Tully Banta-Cain in pass protection situations. QB Luke Getsy: Didn't show good presence or patience in the pocket and rushed his throws. Also had trouble handling snaps, fumbling two of them. FB Moran Norris: Saw limited action, but dropped the only pass thrown to him on a short throw in the flat. LB John Syptak: Didn't stay at home on a bootleg and was easily beaten around the edge by QB Luke Getsy. Was slow reacting and had trouble getting to the ball. C Sean Estrada: Had trouble getting the ball to QB Luke Getsy, resulting in two fumbled snaps. Also struggled with blocking assignments. RB Thomas Clayton: Stuffed at the line on several runs and had trouble recognizing holes. Slipped and fell before the ball arrived on a well-designed screen pass with nothing but blockers and open field in front of him. K MacKenzie Hoambrecker: The lefty missed all three of his field-goal attempts, hooking a 35-yarder wide to the right, having a 40-yarder blocked and slicing a 44-yarder wide left. WR Arnaz Battle: Usually sure-handed starter let a perfectly-thrown pass from Alex Smith slip throw his hands in the end zone. WR Marcus Maxwell: Did not get in and out of his routes well in limited opportunities in the passing game. QB Shaun Hill: Was off with his passes and tossed up a duck with no receiver in sight that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Manny Lawson. TE Zach Herold: Rookie couldn't make a fingertip grab on a waggle pattern when QB Luke Getsy put the ball on his hands. SOME GOOD, SOME BAD QB Alex Smith: Wasn't crisp with his passes in the early going, was off target several times and couldn't get the first-team offense in the end zone on its first two drives. But took charge after the special-teams intermission, putting his passes on the money, including 20-yard touchdown throws to Bryan Gilmore and Vernon Davis on consecutive plays in red-zone situations. OT Kwame Harris: Was strong blocking in the run game, as usual, but was flagged for a false start by one of the officials on the scene. S Michael Lewis: Looked a little stiff in coverage and was late to the ball a few times, but showed off his physical presence and quickness along the line of scrimmage. CB Donald Strickland: Showed good anticipation while blocking a field-goal attempt, but it was a mixed bag for Strickland in pass coverage. He also got ran over once in run support.
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