After two days of air guitar practices, the 49er players put on the pads Sunday and started banging on each other for real. Ah, it may not be as sweet as the smell of napalm in the morning, but for stateside couch potatoes it’s the sound of music.
Still, practice is just practice. A private enterprise for 49er coaches and players only. We fans will have to wait another 11 days until Friday, August 10th to finally see some football.
Maybe even Michael Crabtree will join the party. He has yet to be injured during the regular season and yet to be healthy in training camp or preseason. Last year at Camp Alex, he was injured on the first day of practice. And this year at Camp Harbaugh, he was also injured on the first day of practice. It’s possible he’s shooting for the David Baas Award.
In previous years, Crabtree’s starting spot was always waiting for him whenever he showed up, but this year that may not be so. Mario Manningham and even Kyle Williams or AJ Jenkins could get a promotion if he lingers too long in the owie room, leaving Crabtree down the depth chart and heading toward Braylon Edwards territory.
Williams has gotten a lot of love this offseason. Jed York even tweeted he hoped Kyle was the breakout player of the year. You have to wonder if this is just York’s way of polishing his apple as a good guy owner, or whether he’s sincere. He’s not channeling Uncle Eddie on this one, though. Eddie would have cut Williams before he even got to the locker room after the NFC Championship game loss. Then Eddie would buy Kyle’s mom a house and put Kyle through dental school. Perhaps Jed was taught the Yorkian value of counting to ten before thinking out loud.
AJ Jenkins got the Harbaugh overkill love smooch Sunday, including a blast at media minions who have bagged on the rookie first rounder for his early struggles. Big Jim assured the “clueless” scribes AJ will be an outstanding player. I haven’t noticed the Bay Area writers beating on the kid all that much, except for Grant Cohn of the Press Demo, who’s more of a bad joke than a beat writer. Maybe Harbaugh was directing his ire at Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, who has made mocking the Niners, and especially their coach, a favored enterprise this offseason.
Justin Smith introduced the padded practices to a couple of young 49er O-line guys by heaving them into the backfield like they were boogers from a flicked finger. Do we love this guy or what? Justin is every father’s dream of the uncle you introduce to the male hormone machine that arrives to take your daughter out on a date.
One of the young, faceless UDFAs got tossed out of practice for starting a fight. This will probably be his main contribution to training camp — serving as a warning to all the other players that Harbaugh forbids fighting. The kid did not pick a fight with Justin, so at least he has some sanity going for him.
Another padded practice is scheduled for today. Who will be Justinized today?