San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith has also been helped by working with an improved receiving corps that includes free agents Randy Moss and Mario Manningham and first-round pick A.J. Jenkins, a raw prospect with a lot of work to do. With Michael Crabtree, Patrick Williams and tight end Vernon Davis in the fold, Smith suddenly has a wealth of receiving targets.
"I just think winning should make everybody happy. And that's what we're all so excited about is watching these guys out here at practice is trying to put the pieces together," offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "And every week it might be a little different, whatever gives us the best chance to win that week. And everything will unfold through training camp, I really believe that."
In a move that would make the Patriots' Bill Belichick proud, the 49ers are also experimenting with some defensive players seeing time on the other side of the ball. Defensive tackles Demarcus Dobbs (tight end) and Will Tukuafu (fullback) are among those who have taken snaps at multiple positions.
"Good football players that might be able to provide some depth and give us a little wrinkle here and there," Roman said. "They're doing a great job."
The communication between the offense and defense isn't limited to Roman working with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Moss has been praised for his work with younger players on both sides of the ball.
"He has really been as good as you can possibly ask for in terms of being totally engrossed in football," said Roman. "He's a throwback. … He's got his family and football and his faith, and that's what he's all about. And he's about football and he knows the game. And it's been great watching the players interact, the quarterbacks interact, the receivers interact with him. And we'll all be better because of it. And just truly impressed with everything Randy Moss represents."
San Francisco finished 30th in the NFL in red-zone production in 2011, scoring touchdowns on just 40.68 percent of the offense's drives inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Roman is spending a good portion of the offseason program working on situational football, looking to improve that execution after the lockout really put first-year staffs behind the eight ball last year.
Goodell memo warns of DUI dangers
Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all 32 teams asking them to reinforce the dangers of driving while impaired.
In light of recent DUI incidents, Goodell is expected to seek harsh penalties for players charged in alcohol-related incidents. At present, players are fined the equivalent of a game check up to $50,000, but Goodell hopes to increase the punishment as part of the new substance-abuse policy. That policy would be enacted when the league and NFLPA find middle ground in their ongoing debate on HGH testing.
The memo, published by CBS Sports, also instructs team officials to remind players to avoid "trouble spots and places that don't provide adequate security" but "don't try to provide your own security by carrying a weapon."
The memo reads:
"There have been several negative law enforcement incidents in recent months involving both players and non-player employees. These incidents primarily have involved alcohol or drug-related offenses, specifically driving while impaired. Clearly, operating a vehicle under the influence of any substance poses a significant risk of injury to the driver and others. These risks are underscored by well-known tragedies within the NFL family.
"The Personal Conduct Policy makes clear that we must all conduct ourselves in a manner that is ‘responsible, that promotes the values upon which the league is based, and is lawful.' Every negative incident undermines the respect we have earned from our fans, erodes the confidence of our business partners and threatens the continued success of the league.
"As your club concludes its mini-camp, it is essential that you take time to reinforce this message with your staff and players. In particular, the following points are suggested:"
Players and team officials have access to a league-sponsored program that provides driver services 24 hours a day for $85, including tip. But players haven't often used the service, and DUI incidents haven't been reduced.
Rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon was charged last week with aggravated DUI. The Jaguars' first-round pick had a previous DUI and his blood-alcohol content was almost three times the state legal limit.
Forte a no-show at Bears minicamp
Running back Matt Forte, who wants a new multiyear contract, was not present at the Chicago Bears' first day of minicamp on Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Forte's absence was expected, and coach Lovie Smith did not want to guess whether Forte would be present when training camp begins.
"No, I wouldn't speculate on that," Smith told the Tribune. "When he shows up, we'll be ready to coach him up then."
Because he is not under contract, Forte is not required to attend minicamp.
He was given the franchise tag, but he has not signed the one-year tender. He was scheduled to make $7.7 million this season, but he wants a multiyear contract that would feature more in guaranteed money.
He rushed for 997 yards in 2011 and had 52 receptions.
NFL suspends Leshoure two games
The NFL announced Lions running back Mikel Leshoure has been suspended for the first two games of the 2012 season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
Leshoure, a second-round pick in 2011, has not played in an NFL game. He missed last season with a torn Achilles after suffering an injury in training camp.
Leshoure was arrested twice for marijuana possession in Michigan and pleaded guilty in May to possession stemming from a March 12 incident. Police said Leshoure attempted to consume marijuana as they approached his vehicle during a traffic stop.
Notebook: 49ers ‘truly impressed' with Moss
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