Practice summary: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick found tight end Vernon Davis on several deep routes Saturday to highlight the 49ers' first practice in pads of training camp.
Kaepernick and Davis hooked up on three deep passes during 11-on-11 drills as part of a day in which the 49ers' safeties who are competing to replace Dashon Goldson struggled in coverage.
In one-on-one drills, Kyle Williams got deep over rookie safety Eric Reid on a long pass from Kaepernick. Williams did not see any action during the rest of practice, but appears to be OK. But it was veteran safety Craig Dahl who had the most difficult day.
Dahl misplayed a deep route against wide receiver Ricardo Lockette. Rookie quarterback B.J. Daniels lofted the long throw to Lockette several yards behind Dahl's coverage. Davis beat Dahl on a deep corner pattern, and Marlon Moore made a beautiful leaping catch against Dahl.
C.J. Spillman had an interception on a deflected pass and he also surrendered a deep Kaepernick pass to Davis.
Kaepernick unleashed several nice throws down the field, and he also exhibited deft touch with back-to-back screen passes to LaMichael James to the right side and Frank Gore to the left. On the pass to James, he floated it just over the outstretched hand of outside linebacker Cam Johnson.
Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha had a solid day, as he made a nice break to dislodge a pass intended for Moore. Asomugha is one player whose physical style of play was able to show up for the first time.
"It's definitely good for when you want to be aggressive to have the pads back on," Asomugha said. "I think up until now, it's been just working on your feet and your 'off' game. Now, I think the aggressive part of it start to play a role in it. As the days start to build, you become more and more comfortable with it."
McDonald and A.J. Jenkins had a couple of dropped passes apiece. Jenkins also did not make a play on a deep ball in which rookie Lowell Rose dropped a would-be interception. Anquan Boldin, Chad Hall and B.J. Daniels also dropped balls early in practice.
Defensively, nose tackle Ian Williams and Johnson had very good days. Williams routinely got into the backfield, and Johnson showed very good explosion off the line as a pass-rusher and gave right tackle Anthony Davis some fits with his speed rush.
Running back Anthony Dixon found himself in pass protection against Justin Smith and Ahamd Brooks during a three-play sequence. Smith beat him badly on one play, but Dixon rode Brooks out of the picture a short time later.
The 49ers talked a lot before practice about ball security, but Dixon lost the handle on the ball once after being stacked up at the line of scrimmage after a read-option handoff from Daniels.
Offensive play of the day: Kaepernick dropped back with good protection and made a beautiful throw 30 yards angled toward the right side side of the field for Davis, who had beaten Dahl's coverage.
Defensive play of the day: Backup quarterback Colt McCoy intended a pass for McDonald, which was played perfectly by lienbacker Nate Stupar. The ball popped into the air and intercepted by Spillman.
Rookie report: WR Quinton Patton had a soft cast over the index and middle fingers on his left hand. For the third straight day, he wore a blue jersey. He lined up and ran routes, but did not see any passes go his way. . . . Undrafted rookie defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye, who stands 6 foot 6, had trouble gaining leverage against 49ers left guard Mike Iupati and Wayne Tribue. Okoye also made one practice faux pas, as he hit the arm of McCoy while pursuing him on a scramble. . . . Practice concluded with some rookie-on-rookie crime. Linebacker Nick Moody, dropped into deep coverage against McDonald to intercept a pass from Daniels. . . . Undrafted rookie receiver Chuck Jacobs had a nice day, as he hauled in several catches including a tough grab on a short slant against rookie corner Darryl Morris.
On the sideline: WR Michael Crabtree (Achilles), RB Kendall Hunter (Achilles), WR Mario Manningham (knee) are on the active PUP list. RB Marcus Lattimore (knee), DE Tank Carradine (knee), DT Quinton Dial (toe) and OT Luke Marquardt (foot) are on the active non-football injury list.
Quote of the day: "It's definitely a different culture. The whole environment is a lot more positive, a lot more upbeat, a lot more optimistic. It's true optimism. It's like the other teams in the league who come in and say, 'We're going to win the Super Bowl this year.' It's coming from a real place. I've never been around that."
--49ers cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha