NFC West: San Francisco 49ers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Colin Kaepernick’s salary cap-friendly contract extension was constructed that way, in part, to help free up money for the San Francisco 49ers to lock up other key cogs on the roster.

But with right guard Alex Boone’s holdout waged on, the 49ers quarterback was asked if he would like for some of that money to go to Boone.

“I think that’s something that the front office, that’s their decision,” Kaepernick said. “For me, I tried to do something where we gave them space to be able to get players back now. Who they sign and what they do with it is really up to them.”

Coach Jim Harbaugh would not touch the topic.

“As always, we don’t talk about contracts publically,” Harbaugh said. “Rarely do we talk about it in any form or fashion. We don’t feel it’s in anybody’s best interest to do that.”

While starters like running back Frank Gore, receiver Michael Crabtree, left guard Mike Iupati and cornerback Chris Culliver are entering contract years, Boone was signed to a four-year extension on Dec. 8, 2011, that runs through the 2015 season. Boone did not take part in any of the team's offseason activities and is subject to a $30,000 a day fine, per CSNBayArea.com.

The 49ers have more than $8.2 million in salary-cap space, per ESPN Stats & Info.
Generally, when things are going bad, the most popular guy on a football team is the backup quarterback.

But with the San Francisco 49ers, who have been outscored by a combined 57-3 in two preseason losses, not so much. Not when Blaine Gabbert, Josh Johnson and McLeod Bethel-Thompson combined to go 16 for 25 for 128 yards and two interceptions in Sunday’s 34-0 drubbing by the Denver Broncos to christen Levi’s Stadium.

Gabbert
Gabbert
But Gabbert is the one with the pedigree, the one who was a first-round pick, No. 10 overall, of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011. The one who should be able to step in at a moment’s notice for Colin Kaepernick without missing too many beats, right?

Well...

“It just comes back to taking care of the football,” Gabbert, who was picked off at the Denver 35-yard line midway through the third quarter Sunday, told reporters after the game.

“It starts at the quarterback position, whoever is out there, including myself, we have to be conscious of it," he added. "When you have some momentum going, you have a drive across the 50, and you turn the ball over, it’s a dagger.”

One play later, Denver backup quarterback Brock Osweiler threw a 33-yard touchdown pass and the Broncos led 24-0. Dagger indeed.

Gabbert, who has the upper hand on Johnson for the backup gig, suffered through a 32.4 passer rating afternoon.

“He’s a little bit like any quarterback,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. “There’s going to be good days. The precision right now, though, is on the unit. And that’s where I see it. I see it needing to get better.

“I don’t put it on one guy.”

Gabbert has started 27 of the 28 NFL games in which he’s played, but he appeared in only three games last season before being traded to the 49ers in March for a sixth-round draft pick.

In the 49ers’ two exhibition games, he is a combined 11-for-25 for 60 yards with two interceptions.

Harbaugh seems frustrated with the lack of ball security by quarterbacks not named Kaepernick.

“They’re turning the ball over,” Harbaugh said. “All of them have. There’s nobody to elevate. Whoever doesn’t turn the ball over will be the backup quarterback.”

Which brings us back to Gabbert.

“Protecting the ball is the number one thing that the quarterback has to do, and that goes for every guy on this roster, and it starts with every guy out there,” Gabbert said. “My job, which I’m focusing on, is not turning the football over.

“There’s a little rust to knock off, but after the first game I felt pretty comfortable. We put some decent drives together there in the second quarter, I believe, and it just leaves a sour taste in my mouth turning the football over in the third quarter.”
Examining the San Francisco 49ers' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (2)
Because of heavy competition elsewhere, the 49ers likely will only carry two quarterbacks. They finished last season that way.

RUNNING BACKS (5)

The fact that the 49ers drafted Hyde in the second round means some tough decisions will have to be made. Kendall Hunter tore his ACL and is out for the season. That means James, who will miss the preseason with a dislocated elbow, will very likely make the team. Practice-squad player Hampton has been turning heads, and he should make the team with Marcus Lattimore still not practicing. Expect Lattimore to be activated sometime during the season.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6)

The 49ers are so much deeper here this season than last. That means they will likely have to keep six receivers. Lloyd might look good, and Patton has too much potential to give up on. That means it could be tough for Kassim Osgood to make it, even though he is a special-teams cog.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

I can't see the 49ers keeping more than three tight ends because of the glut at receiver. Unless Garrett Celek returns from a back injury and has a big preseason, he might be in trouble. Carrier intrigues the 49ers because of his size and speed.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8)

Assuming Boone ends his holdout, this is a pretty nice group of eight players. It's improved from last year. A solid veteran like Adam Snyder and a promising youngster like Ryan Seymour will have trouble making the team. I think Seymour makes it if Boone's holdout goes into the season.

DEFENSIVE LINE (8)

This is another power spot. It's deep. Players such as Jerod-Eddie and Dial are too valuable to cut. But this position is also unsettled. Glenn Dorsey might be out for the whole season with torn biceps. Ramsey looked good in the offseason, but he is dealing with injuries that might impede his push to make the roster. This is fluid, but I'm going with Ramsey on the active roster.

LINEBACKERS (8)

Most teams carry six or seven linebackers, but the 49ers are stacked here, especially with NaVorro Bowman out for about half the season. Because fifth-round pick Lynch is promising, he should make the roster. Skuta is an excellent player, and right now the 49ers find a way to keep him. I could see him being one of those later-summer Trent Baalke trade specials because he has value.

CORNERBACKS (6)

This unit is in flux, but I see Johnson making it. He's been really good in camp. Cox has been good, and he can play the nickel. He is needed. Don't be surprised if there is some in-camp jockeying as the 49ers look for the best mix.

SAFETIES (4)

Ward, the 49ers' first-round pick, will play nickel cornerback as a rookie but projects long term as a safety. Spillman should stick because they are great on special teams. Bubba Ventrone and Craig Dahl could be in trouble because of needs at other spots.

SPECIALISTS (3):

This group is set, and it's excellent.

49ers Camp Report: Day 16

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15
11:50
PM ET
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of San Francisco 49ers training camp:
  • Michael Crabtree's return was the highlight of Friday's practice. He missed more than two weeks with a hamstring injury.
  • The evening practice was the final one of training camp, although the 49ers do have a final open practice Wednesday at Levi's Stadium. It was the 49ers' second practice at Levi's Stadium. Like the Aug. 4 workout, 10,000 tickets were distributed for Friday's.
  • Backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert and reserve tight end Derek Carrier did extra work after practice. The overtime came after another sluggish day for Gabbert, who earlier received the support of coach Jim Harbaugh.
  • Linebacker Patrick Willis missed his second straight practice. He suffered a slight stinger Sunday while working against the Baltimore Ravens. Willis didn't play in the preseason opener against the Ravens on Aug. 7 and I'd be surprised if he plays Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
  • Rookie linebacker Aaron Lynch has worked on getting his body fat down as he gained 30 pounds this offseason. As Harbaugh put it, "Fat is the enemy of speed."
  • Second-year tight end Vance McDonald was wearing a blue non-contact jersey for the second straight practice. He was banged up last Thursday at Baltimore. It would be a mild surprise to see him play against Denver. Like McDonald, running back LaMichael James wore a blue jersey for the second straight practice as he recovers from a dislocated elbow. Don't expect to see him play Sunday.
  • Harbaugh said running back Marcus Lattimore has made "gains" and he got a good report from the team's trainer and strength coach about him Friday. But Harbaugh said Lattimore has still not been cleared to practice. Lattimore, a fourth-round pick in 2013, suffered a torn ACL in a horrific injury in 2012.
  • Harbaugh said linebacker Blake Constanzo's injury is a knee problem. He was put on injured reserve this week.
  • Tackle Adam Snyder was back after suffering a minor knee injury in Baltimore.
  • Tackle Jonathan Martin practiced Friday after missing's Wednesday's workout due to a personal manner.
  • The 49ers have a closed walk-through practice Saturday in preparation of Sunday's home preseason game against Denver at 1 p.m. PT.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The Aldon Smith watch has reached its second week.

Smith
The San Francisco 49ers' star pass-rusher met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York on Aug. 7. Smith faces a possible suspension because of several off-field issues.

Thus far, Goodell hasn't given any indication of his decision. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported last week that the suspension could be as long as six-to-eight games. Last week, an NFL source close to the situation said Goodell was expected to make a decision in one-to-two weeks.

This week, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier could both help take over if Smith misses time. Both of those players played last season when the 49ers went 5-0 while Smith was in a treatment center.

Smith, who has been the star of training camp, was singled out by Baltimore coach John Harbaugh last week when the Ravens and 49ers worked out together for three days. San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said Smith is "at the highest level" of his position. Smith has 42 sacks in 43 regular-season games.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Jim Harbaugh is always good for supplying a vivid verbal painting.

The San Francisco 49ers’ unconventional fourth-year coach was in rare form as the team opened camp July 24. Harbaugh’s theme for the start of camp was “rebirth.” He enthusiastically went into great detail of what he was feeling as the 49ers assembled to kick off the season.

"It's the start of the new year in football. It's like it's your own birthday,” Harbaugh said with zeal only he can exude. “Like it's a family reunion. It's like a rebirth. Feel like you come out of the womb and [are] reborn into football. … It's such a positive happening, that first day. Imagine you're kind of in the comfort of the offseason, like being in the comfort of the womb. You get plenty to eat in there, it's warm, very cozy. And then you're born, into somewhat of the unknown. A lot of people looking at you, lot of faces looking at you, lot of excitement. It's light, it's bright, it's noisy, it's the crazy world of football. Again, it's a real happening. Wish everybody could experience it."

As Harbaugh and his team moved headfirst into the season, in many ways the feeling is more about completing a mission than starting one.

The 49ers have been to three NFC title games and one Super Bowl under Harbaugh. This training camp is designed to be the beginning of ending that mission with a Super Bowl crown. Anything less would be failure.

THREE REASONS FOR OPTIMISM

  1. [+] EnlargeColin Kaepernick
    AP Photo/Nick WassColin Kaepernick should benefit from having a deep group of 49ers receivers this season.
    Passing game: At no point last season did the 49ers’ aerial attack look as strong as it has during this training camp. Actually, it’s stunning to see how much better this area is than it was last season. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is surely benefiting. A few examples: As a rookie, Quinton Patton was the No. 3 receiver last year. This year, he’s improved, but he might be the sixth and final receiver on the 53-man roster. Jonathan Baldwin was a frontline receiver for a spell in 2013. This year, he was cut 10 days into training camp. The additions of veterans Stevie Johnson, Brandon Lloyd and explosive fourth-round pick Bruce Ellington to go with holdover starters Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin make for a pretty special group. It has showed in camp.
  2. Deep roster: General manager Trent Baalke said three days into camp the 49ers had about four or five openings on their 53-man roster. Imagine that -- an NFL team knowing up to 49 of its regular-season players six weeks before the start of the season. That wasn’t hyperbole by Baalke. Take a gander at this roster. It is stacked. Almost every position is full of plus players. There is little weakness on this team, and it has shown in the level of competition in camp. The 49ers have been feisty. Kaepernick said it’s because there is so much talent, and the intensity level is heightened because people are fighting for just a few jobs.
  3. The rookies: The 49ers are poised to get immediate help from some rookies. Their first-round pick, defensive back Jimmie Ward; second-round pick, running back Carlos Hyde; third-round picks, linebacker Chris Borland and center Marcus Martin; and fourth-round picks, Ellington and cornerback Dontae Johnson, have all been factors in camp. All of them can be contributors in the regular season. That is a major shot of youth for a veteran-stacked team.
THREE REASONS FOR PESSIMISM

  1. Injuries: Yes, the 49ers are deep, and they need to be. They have gotten knocked around in what has been a physical camp. Running back Kendall Hunter (torn ACL) was lost for the season, and running back LaMichael James (dislocated elbow) was lost for the preseason in the first weekend of camp. A week later, standout nose tackle Glenn Dorsey was lost for the majority, if not all, of the season with a torn biceps. The defense was already working from behind with inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman set to miss about half of the season as he recovers from an ACL tear. The good news for the 49ers is they are deep at their injury spots, but trouble could be brewing if the rash of injuries continues.
  2. Flux on offensive line: The 49ers’ offensive line has been an NFL gold standard. That has not been the case in training camp. Guard Alex Boone is holding out, and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. Joe Looney has taken his place at right guard. Looney has been decent in camp, but he was overpowered at Baltimore in the first preseason game. Next to him is Jonathan Martin, who has had a rough go at right tackle. He is playing for Anthony Davis, who is out until Week 1 as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. At center, Daniel Kilgore is a first-time starter. All the change has been reflective in camp.
  3. Backup QB plan: Here’s the bottom line: Kaepernick better not go down. Blaine Gabbert is who he is. He has had his moments in camp, but when the lights of the preseason came on, he struggled badly. But Gabbert is essentially guaranteed to be on the roster because he is getting paid $2 million. Gabbert, acquired in March in a trade with Jacksonville, can still improve under Harbaugh and his staff. But if he continues to struggle, the confidence level in him will be low.
OBSERVATION DECK

  • [+] EnlargeTank Carradine
    AP Photo/Tony AvelarTank Carradine, left, and Quinton Dial have opened eyes during training camp.
    Johnson and Hyde both have shown an aptitude for blocking. The 49ers expect prime blocking from their receivers and running backs, so they are good fits.
  • Young nose tackle Mike Purcell is getting a lot of work because of the injury to Dorsey. Still, Purcell is a work in progress, and the best-case scenario for him is likely as a rotational player.
  • The 49ers look strong on special teams again. They have a veteran, savvy group, and it shows in camp.
  • The 49ers would probably like to see more from Martin, who was acquired in a trade with Miami after the infamous Dolphins bullying case. He is struggling as a starter, but I think he has to gain the 49ers’ trust even as a backup.
  • Second-year defensive tackle Quinton Dial has been a star in camp. He has been overpowering people. Dial has a chance to get a lot of playing time. The same goes for fellow defensive lineman Tank Carradine. The 2013 second-round pick is healthy and looks very much like the top-15 prospect he was before he suffered a torn ACL in 2012 at Florida State.
  • Fellow defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye is still very raw. The former British Olympic discus thrower is in just his second season of football. He will probably end up on the practice squad.
  • One player who seems to be flourishing under the 49ers coaches is cornerback Chris Cook. The former second-round pick underachieved in Minnesota. He has no interceptions in four NFL seasons. Cook has worked extensively on his ball skills with the coaches. It has paid off. He has several interceptions in camp and had one in the first preseason game.

49ers Camp Report: Day 15

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
10:40
PM ET
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the San Francisco 49ers training camp:

    Receiver Michael Crabtree (hamstring) did some work, but is not quite ready to practice fully. The 49ers have described his injury as minor. Linebacker Patrick Willis missed Wednesday’s practice for an undisclosed reason.

    Backup running back/returner LaMichael James practiced some for the first time in 17 days since dislocating his elbow for the third time since high school. James wore a brace and did some light work. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he doesn’t play in the rest of the preseason. But his presence on the field Wednesday was a good sign of his availability for Week 1 at Dallas.

    Like James, tight end Vance McDonald was wearing a blue non-contact jersey. It was his first practice since the preseason opener six days ago for an undisclosed reason.
  • Jonathan Martin was not at practice for a personal reason. He had been working with the first unit at right tackle as Anthony Davis recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. Adam Snyder is still out after a suffering minor knee injury Sunday at Baltimore. With those players out, backup offensive lineman Ryan Seymour worked with the first team Wednesday. Seymour has a chance to stick.
  • Cornerback Perrish Cox had a beautiful interception of Quinton Patton in the end zone. Cox has had a nice camp and the 49ers might have a difficult time not keeping him the 53-man roster, especially since he can play nickel.
  • Rookie cornerback Kenneth Acker had his best day of the summer with two picks. The sixth-round pick may have a difficult time making the roster because of a number’s game.
  • Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said both Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier could get playing time if star outside linebacker Aldon Smith misses time due an NFL suspension. Smith is expected to hear soon from the league if he is going to be disciplined for several off-field issues.
  • Fangio said starting cornerback Tramaine Brock is not expected to play Sunday against Denver. Brock has missed two weeks with an ankle injury and worked out some Wednesday. It is not considered serious and he will be ready for the start of the regular season. Brock was excelling when he was hurt.
  • Fangio said he loved the 49ers’ three workouts with the Ravens during the weekend. Fangio said if it were up to him he’d conduct two different practice sessions with another team in training camp. He said the opportunity to face different players and different schemes is invaluable.
  • Running back Marcus Lattimore continued to look good working on the side. There is no word when the 49ers are planning to activate the 2013 fourth-round pick, who suffered a horrific knee injury in 2012.
  • Receiver Devon Wylie, who was on the practice squad last season, has had a good camp. But there is likely no room for him on the 53-man roster.
  • Receiver David Reed had to leave practice with a finger issue, but returned.
  • The 49ers are off Thursday. They practice at Levi’s Stadium at 5 p.m. PT Friday.

49ers Camp Report: Day 14

August, 11, 2014
Aug 11
6:10
PM ET
A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the San Francisco 49ers training camp:

The 49ers and Baltimore Ravens ended their mini-training camp (the two teams played a preseason game Thursday and then held joint practices Saturday-through Monday at the Ravens’ facility) with a group huddle.

It was a fitting end to a peaceful, productive camp which was highlighted by the leadership of brothers Jim and John Harbaugh, the head coaches of the 49ers and Ravens, respectively.

There was nary a fight in the three days. It was all about two teams trying to get better. Before his team boarded a plan to end their six-day trip East, Jim Harbaugh was ecstatic about the how the sessions transpired.

“Went better than expected for our football team. We got better. There’s no question about it,” Jim Harbaugh said, lauding the Ravens for their hopsitiality. “Not one complaint. I mean, that’s rare, that’s rare to get. Not one complaint from anybody, which speaks volumes. That really says it all. And Ravens, first-class all the way.”

The Harbaugh brothers have talked about repeating the session next summer at the 49ers Santa Clara facility. However, Jim Harbaugh, whose team lost Super Bowl XLVII to the Ravens, wouldn’t mind seeing his brother and the Ravens sooner than that.

“We’d like to do it in February,” Harbaugh said. “That would be outstanding.”

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick echoed his coach’s thoughts about the peaceful production of the workouts.

“I think once we got the first walkthrough out of the way and everybody kind of got their feet wet, we knew we were here to try to get better and it wasn’t, ‘We’re going to try to fight you guys,’ or anything like that,” Kaepernick said. “We’re both trying to get better as a team and make sure we’re prepared for this season. Hopefully, we see them during the season because if we do, it’s in the Super Bowl.”
  • The 49ers got good news regarding backup guard Adam Snyder, who left Sunday's practice with a knee injury. There was initial concern, but Harbaugh said Monday the injury doesn’t appear serious. Snyder is a key backup; especially with right guard Alex Boone holding out.
  • Harbaugh lauded the play of star tight end Vernon Davis this summer. Kaepernick said Davis seems faster at the age of 30. These words could be a good sign for Davis, who’d like a new contract. He held out of minicamp, but was on time for training camp. If Davis has a big season, I could see the 49ers looking to extend him in the offseason. The 2015 season is the final year of his contract.
  • The two teams were in shells Monday after working in full pads the first two days of workouts.
  • Receiver Brandon Lloyd returned to practice after missing about two weeks with an undisclosed minor injury.
  • Tight end Vance McDonald missed his third straight practice with an undisclosed issue.
  • Receiver Quinton Patton and linebacker Shayne Skov, both banged up Sunday, were practicing Monday.
  • Bay Area native and 49ers fan Bud Norris attended Monday’s practice. He is otherwise known as the Baltimore Orioles starter pitcher Monday night.
  • Receiver Chuck Jacobs cleared waivers and is on the 49ers injured reserve. He tore his ACL Thursday.
  • The 49ers have Tuesday off. They have two more training camp practices.

49ers Camp Report: Day 13

August, 10, 2014
Aug 10
7:22
PM ET
A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the San Francisco 49ers training camp:
  • The San Francisco 49ers may be soon start to worry about guard as Alex Boone's holdout drags on. Key veteran backup Adam Snyder on Sunday had to leave a joint practice with the Baltimore Ravens with an apparent knee injury. More information is expected in the next day or so. Snyder is insurance at guard and he could see time at Boone's right guard spot if Boone's holdout continues and current starter, Joe Looney, struggles. Looney had some difficultly in the preseason opener against the Ravens.
  • Receiver Quinton Patton (undisclosed) and rookie linebacker Shayne Skov (foot) were also banged up Sunday. There is no word how serious either issue is.
  • One of the best battles of the workouts this weekend has been 49ers’ left tackle Joe Staley facing Baltimore pass rusher Terrell Suggs.
  • “That’s a really good matchup,” 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Sunday. “Two very good players. Joe’s doing a good job. Suggs obviously gives him a lot of things to worry about. His style is a unique style. You remember when he was getting drafted, people were all enamored with his 40 time and there was a lot of debate. I think he’s pretty much squelched that debate. So, just for Joe, it’s a great challenge every day to sharpen his blade.”
  • Tight end Vance McDonald (undisclosed) and defensive tackle Lawrence Okoye (ankle) sat out for the second straight day.
  • After a good day for his unit, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he was pleased to get this work in with the Ravens. “I’ve done over 20 of these joint practices in my days, and they’re always very good and very beneficial,” Fangio said.
  • It’s no surprise star pass-rusher Aldon Smith shined during these practices. Both Ravens coach John Harbaugh and Fangio lauded Smith’s play. He met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday in New York. Goodell is expected to make a decision on disciplinary action against Smith in the next week or two.
  • Roman praised the work of center Daniel Kilgore and rookie receiver Bruce Ellington.
  • The 49ers conclude their work with the Ravens at 10:30 a.m. ET Monday. They will then fly home.

49ers Camp Report: Day 12

August, 9, 2014
Aug 9
7:00
PM ET
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the San Francisco 49ers training camp:
  • Both 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and his brother John Harbaugh, the coach of the Ravens, were emphatic about downplaying the possibility for skirmishes to break out in the three days of workouts between the two teams. Jim Harbaugh simply said he didn’t anticipate any fights. John Harbaugh got a tad snippy when asked about the subject. Both men had to be pleased with what they saw on the first day of three joint practices in full pads. Was there an occasional push and shove? It was an NFL practice -- of course there was some activity. But nothing got out of control. Jack Harbaugh, the father of the two coaches and a football lifer, said it was a tribute to the players that they practiced “respectfully.”
  • The 49ers passing offense, led by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, had a productive day. Among the standouts at receiver were Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington and Devon Wylie and tight ends Vernon Davis and Derek Carrier.
  • A famous Baltimore yapper, linebacker Terrell Suggs, seemed to enjoy have a different team to talk to/at. He was giving it to the 49ers’ linemen and Kaepernick pretty good at times.
  • Among those not practicing were tight end Vance McDonald (no reason given) and defensive tackle Lawrence Okoye (ankle). Earlier in the day, Jim Harbaugh praised McDonald’s play in Thursday night’s’ game. He made two catches in the game.
  • Defensive tackle DeMarcus Dobbs, who left Thursday's game with an ankle injury, practiced Saturday.
  • Carlos Hyde looked good again Saturday. It’s no surprise. The rookie running back has had a great camp and he had 39 yards on five carries in a starting role Thursday night.
  • In addition to Jack Harbaugh, there were many Harbaugh family members at the Ravens’ facility for the practice Saturday. The family spent time together Friday night at John Harbaugh’s house and celebrated two family birthdays.
  • Asked if he is similar to his brother, Jim Harbaugh had a classic Jim Harbaugh response: “Raised in the same house. Ate the same food. Came from the same mother. Lived in the same room for 16 years. There’s bound to be some similarities, I would think.”
  • The Ravens made the 49ers feel at home by painting their logo on the practice field.
  • Starting cornerback Chris Culliver said he came out of Thursday night’s game in good shape. It was his first game back after suffering a torn ACL last August. He said he took a hit near his knee from Ravens’ receiver Steve Smith and felt fine afterward.
  • The 49ers signed receiver Lance Lewis. He was with Washington and Dallas the past two seasons. Receiver Chuck Jacobs, who was on the practice squad last season, was waived-injured. The 49ers will likely put him on the injured reserve if he clears waivers. Jacobs hurt his knee on a return Thursday night against the Ravens.
  • Lewis, who had a nice catch Saturday, is likely just an August body because the 49ers are banged up at the position with Michael Crabtree and Brandon Lloyd nursing injuries. Lloyd participated in some of the workout Saturday.
  • The 49ers work out with the Ravens on Sunday at noon ET.
Aldon Smith’s fate is in the hands of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The San Francisco 49ers’ star pass-rusher met with Goodell on Thursday.

Smith
Goodell is expected to make a decision on disciplinary action against Smith in the next week or two. ESPN’s Adam Schefter and CSN Bay Area have both reported that the 49ers are preparing for a suspension of six to eight games. Smith would likely appeal with the hope of getting that reduced.

Smith was sentenced to 11 days of work release last week in a Santa Clara County (California) court after his September 2013 arrest for drunken driving. It was his second such arrest since entering the NFL in 2011. Also, Smith had three felony gun charges knocked down to misdemeanors last week.

Some storylines to follow if Smith receives a long suspension:

Hole on defense: The 49ers’ defense will be without inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman for about half the season as he recovers from a torn ACL, and they might be without nose tackle Glenn Dorsey because of a torn biceps muscle. Add the exclusion of Smith for a large chunk and one of the NFL's finest defenses will be greatly challenged. Smith has 42 sacks in 43 NFL games. He’d be greatly missed.

Youngsters in spotlight: Dan Skuta started in place of Smith on Thursday night and for five games when Smith was in a rehab center last year. Skuta certainly would be in the mix. But second-year player Corey Lemonier, who played a lot when Smith was out last year, has looked good. He played a team-high 70 snaps in Baltimore on Thursday night. Also, fifth-round pick Aaron Lynch could get some looks as well. Lynch has been dinged up, but has big potential.

No wiggle room: If Smith gets into further trouble, he could be getting into the territory of missing an entire season. The 49ers have stressed to him that his troubled days must be behind him. A big hit by Goodell would reinforce that notion.
BALTIMORE -- The defensive line may be the San Francisco 49ers' most talented position. However, it is currently also its most beat-up position.

The unit, which is currently decimated by injury, had just four healthy defensive linemen by the end of Thursday night's 23-3 loss at the Baltimore Ravens. Coach Jim Harbaugh said the team may need to add at the position to help through the preseason.

Here is a player-by-player look at the health report:

Justin Smith: The 49ers' starter, who hasn't practiced in training camp, is returning from offseason shoulder injury. His absence is not a major concern. Smith, who turns 35 next month, will be ready for the season.

Ray McDonald: This starter has rested a lot in training camp as well. Expect him to be fine once the regular-season lights come on.

Glenn Dorsey: The starting nose tackle had surgery this week for a torn bicep. He will be out for a major chunk of the season -- if not the entire season.

Tank Carradine: His first NFL action Thursday night saw him play 60 snaps because all of the injuries to other players. Carradine had a nice night with eight tackles and a sack. He missed his rookie season with a torn ACL. Carradine looks good, as expected.

Quinton Dial: This second-year player has been a monster. Like Carradine, he played nearly the entire game because of injuries. He had 10 tackles and two forced fumbles. He could start for Dorsey.

Tony Jerod-Eddie: He is one of the few healthy veterans and is a fine rotational player.

Demarcus Dobbs: Dobbs suffered an ankle sprain Thursday night. The 49ers will be careful, but initial thoughts are it isn't serious.

Ian Williams: He began last season as the starting nose tackle. But he suffered a severe broken leg in Week 2 at Seattle that required four surgeries. The team is hopeful he can return early in the season.

Kaleb Ramsey: The seventh-round pick has been dealing with an undisclosed injury all camp. He was good in the offseason and has a future, but it is not known when he will be able to play.

Lawrence Okoye: The raw athletic Okoye suffered a foot/ankle injury Thursday. The X-rays were negative, but he was in obvious pain after the game.

Mike Purcell: The young nose tackle played a lot Thursday night. He was pushed around some, but he had a nice camp and should get more playing time to try to prove himself.

Will Tukuafu: The former defensive lineman is now a fullback, but he had to play on the defensive line for four plays Thursday in an emergency. That could continue for a bit.
The San Francisco 49ers' backfield has taken some injury hits in training camp with Kendall Hunter (knee) being lost for the entire season and LaMichael James (elbow) being lost for the preseason.

Miller
However, the team is enjoying seeing one player in the backfield regaining his health. Fullback Bruce Miller looks to be his typical stout self this summer after being lost for the season in December after breaking his scapula in Tampa Bay in Week 15.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick said Miller's health is vital to the offense.

"It means a lot," Kaepernick said. "I think everyone knows how much Bruce does for this offense and what he means to this offense, so having him healthy and back is a huge asset for us."

Miller is important to the 49ers' offense because he is a supreme blocker, has nice hands out of the backfield and he is a short-yardage run option.

"Bruce is a guy that gets football," 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "Coach Tom Rathman does a great job coaching those players. I just think Bruce can do a lot and handle a lot. Bruce can think his way through an issue as it's happening, and that's a great quality in anybody, really, in life, sports, on the field, of just being able to think your way through something as it's happening and changing in front of you. He does a great job of that -- adjustments, instincts, dependability."

49ers Camp Report: Day 11

August, 5, 2014
Aug 5
5:55
PM ET
A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the San Francisco 49ers training camp:
  • The San Francisco 49ers will meet the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night for the first time since losing to the Ravens in the final seconds of the Super Bowl 18 months ago. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said revenge isn't at the forefront because it's a preseason game. "This is preseason. If it was a regular-season game, yeah, it would be a little bit different,” Kaepernick said. "But right now we're trying to make sure we go out and do things we need to do as a team to get better and get ready for the season.” Still, Kaepernick, who coach Jim Harbaugh, said Monday will play a drive or two against the Ravens said the 49ers have a simple goal for the preseason. "Winning. You go out, every time you run a play, every time you step on the field you do it to win and that's what we plan to do,” Kaepernick said.
  • This 49ers' training camp has been spunky. There have been numerous scrapes. Kaepernick said the tension has risen because there is so much competition on the field because the team is so strong. "I think it's the level of competition is higher,” Kaepernick said. "The first year, everyone was just trying to understand and see where they fit in. I think now everyone is confident in what our offense is doing, what our defense is doing and we feel like we have such a high caliber of player here that getting a starting spot, getting a spot on this roster is difficult and people are fighting for those jobs. I think that's where a lot of the tension, a lot of the frustration comes in is people fighting and grinding to try and find their place.”
  • 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said the team hasn't decided if running back Frank Gore will play Thursday. My guess: He sits. Why play him? He's 31. He's ready for the season and the team needs his to stay healthy.
  • Roman said young offensive lineman Daniel Kilgore (center), Joe Looney (guard) and Jonathan Martin (tackle) may play some with the second team as well as the first team.
  • Tuesday, Harbaugh praised 2013 fourth-round pick Quinton Patton. Wednesday, Roman said the young receiver is making a "favorable impression" in camp. I think Patton is a lock to make the team.
  • The 49ers' practice Tuesday was a quick shorts-and-pad workout. The team then traveled to Baltimore. It was essentially a walk-through.
  • As expected, injured running back Kendall Hunter cleared waivers. He was lost for the season July 25 with a torn ACL. Hunter is a free agent after the season. Thus, it was highly unlikely he’d be claimed. He is now on the team's injured reserve 49ers general manager Trent Baalke has said the team wants to re-sign Hunter for next season.
  • The 49ers will have a walk-through practice Wednesday in Baltimore that is closed to the media.
Examining the San Francisco 49ers' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (2)
Because of heavy competition elsewhere, the 49ers likely will only carry two quarterbacks. They finished last season that way. The competition will be to see if undrafted rookie Kory Faulkner can take McLeod Bethel-Thompson's spot on the practice squad.

RUNNING BACKS (5)

The fact that the 49ers drafted Hyde in the second round and Lattimore is healthy means some tough decisions will have to be made. Kendall Hunter tore his ACL and is out for the season. That means James, who will miss the preseason with a dislocated elbow, will very likely make the team. Practice-squad player Jewell Hampton has been turning heads and has a chance to make the team.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6)

The 49ers are so much deeper here this year than last. That means they will likely have to keep six receivers. Lloyd might look good and Patton has too much potential to give up on. That means it could be tough for Kassim Osgood to make it, even though he is a special-teams cog.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

I can't see the 49ers keeping more than three tight ends because of the glut at receiver. Unless Garrett Celek returns from a back injury and has a big preseason, he might be in trouble. Carrier intrigues the 49ers because of his size and speed.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8)

Assuming Boone ends his holdout, this is a pretty nice group of eight players. It's improved from last year. A solid veteran like Adam Snyder and a promising youngster like Ryan Seymour will have trouble making the team.

DEFENSIVE LINE (8)

This is another power spot. It's deep. Players such as Jerod-Eddie and Dial are too valuable to cut. But this position is also unsettled. Glenn Dorsey might be out for the whole season with a torn biceps. Ramsey looked good in the offseason, but he is dealing with injuries that might impede his push to make the roster. This is fluid, but I'm going with Ramsey on the active roster.

LINEBACKERS (8)

Most teams carry six or seven linebackers, but the 49ers are stacked here, especially with NaVorro Bowman out for about half the season. Because fifth-round pick Lynch is promising, he should make the roster. Skuta is an excellent player, and right now the 49ers find a way to keep him. I could see him being one of those later-summer Trent Baalke trade specials because he has value.

CORNERBACKS (5)

This unit is in flux, but I see Johnson making it. Don't be surprised if there is some in-camp jockeying as the 49ers look for the best mix.

SAFETIES (5)

Ward, the 49ers' first-round pick, will play nickel cornerback as a rookie, but projects long term as a safety. Ventrone and Spillman should stick because they are great on special teams. Craig Dahl could be in trouble.

SPECIALISTS (3):

This group is set, and it's excellent.

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