49ers want to give Baas more snaps at center

David Baas is still working at center with QB Alex Smith, but the Niners also have an option in veteran Tony Wragge. One of them will have to mesh with rookies Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati on the offensive line.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – It won't be long before the San Francisco 49ers get a feel for how well their newly constructed offensive line is doing. Sunday morning, they open their preseason schedule on the road against the Indianapolis Colts.

Although David Baas, who is getting first-team snaps at center since starter Eric Heitmann went down with a broken left leg, had a good practice on Wednesday, coach Mike Singletary said he's still evaluating the position. Baas could get a substantial amount of play Sunday along with rookie starters Anthony Davis at right tackle and Mike Iupati at left guard.

"The center position, we really need to evaluate that," Singletary said. "I talked to (offensive line) coach (Mike) Solari and we have to look at that and make sure the guys we have can step into that spot and really do it. We know eventually they will do it, but can they do it right now? That's the thing we have to evaluate with the center spot."

The Niners also have veteran Tony Wragge as an option. Wragge has been primarily a backup at guard since joining the team in 2005 but has also backed up Heitmann.

"I'm ready to go," Wragge said. "It's a process of getting reps at center, but Eric was out early in camp and David was also out with an injury, so I got a lot of reps. I'm confident I can do the job.

"Getting snaps to Alex (Smith), that's standard operating procedure."

Unlike Tuesday, Baas didn't flub any snaps to Smith during Wednesday's practice. That will work in his favor when the coaching staff evaluates him this week.

"Baas played some center in college," Singletary said. "He's a big strong guy and he's comfortable at the position. We just want to get a feel for the continuity with Alex. Being under center and in the gun, can he handle that and, at the same time, make all the calls and adjustments? How much can he facilitate those calls and yet handle the responsibility of snapping the ball?"

Singletary said Wragge "has a pretty good handle on it. We have a pretty good idea what we have there, so we want to get Baas up to speed as much as possible."

NO PADS PLEASE: The 49ers worked out in shorts and jerseys today, and it was primarily the backups who were on the field. The team also worked on special teams.

Quarterback Alex Smith did get in some reps with the first-team line and backup receivers, throwing some well-timed passes to Kyle Williams, Ted Ginn and Jason Hill.

The usual cast of injured players sat out: rookie linebacker NaVorro Bowman (shoulder), linebacker Travis LaBoy (concussion), wide receiver Brandon Jones (hamstring) and linebacker Ahmad Brooks (kidney laceration). Wideout Michael Crabtree also sat out with soreness.

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