SANTA CLARA –- It did not take long for NaVorro Bowman to make an eye-popping play in his first practice of training camp.
Bowman, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, gave the fans during the practice at Levi's Stadium something to cheer about during the team's first 11-on-11 period.
Bowman, lining up at his familiar inside linebacker position, came up the middle on a blitz and put a quick spin move on offensive lineman Marcus Martin. Bowman discarded Martin and ended up immediately in the face of quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Bowman is back. And the training wheels are now off. The 49ers made sure he did not exert himself too much during the offseason program as he was eased back into the action.
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“He took things longer,” 49ers coach Jim Tomsula said. “In the spring we didn’t let him carry anything past 20 yards. We wanted to keep him in that area. You saw him today running down the field. We’re rolling.”
Depth chart: Joe Looney lined up at center with the 49ers’ first-team offense with Marcus Martin at right guard and Erik Pears at right tackle. Tackle Joe Staley and guard Alex Boone lined up on the left side. The second-team line consisted of left tackle Patrick Miller, left guard Dillon Farrell, center Martin, right guard Brandon Thomas and right tackle Trent Brown. . . . The first-team defense was Glenn Dorsey at left end, Ian Williams at nose tackle, Quinton Dial at right end, Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith at outside linebacker, Bowman and Nick Moody at inside linebacker, Tramaine Brock and Shareece Wright at cornerback, and Antoine Bethea and Eric Reid at safety.
Play-clock watching: The 49ers are placing a major emphasis on breaking the huddle with at least 22 seconds on the play clock. Other than a couple of times when there were 17 seconds left, Tomsula was pleased with the tempo. “Every day we’re hitting a number we want to hit,” he said. “If the first digit is a ‘1’, we’re not looking for that.”
Defensive plays of camp: Gabbert was intercepted twice during the practice. Safety Craig Dahl made a nice over-the-shoulder grab of a deep pass intended for Bruce Ellington. Later, Moody jumped a route on a pass intended for tight end Vance McDonald for the interception.
Rookie report: Undrafted wide receiver DeAndrew White made a strong impression with several nice catches, including a deep throw from undrafted rookie quarterback Dylan Thompson against the coverage of Marcus Cromartie. Tomsula referred to him as “Alabama” during his brief post-practice remarks. “Day 1? Day 1, good,” Tomsula said. “Let’s see where we’re at at the end. I don’t want to overreact to anyone on Day 1.” . . . Defensive lineman Arik Armstead, the 49ers first-round draft pick, saw limited action during practice with the veterans. But during a 20-minute session involving just rookies, Armstead got a lot of reps. Then, he was all along with his conditioning running sideline-to-sideline after practice. . . Tight end Blake Bell, a fourth-round draft pick, had a good practice, including a catch of a deep seam route from Blaine Gabbert, which was dropped in behind linebacker Eli Harold.
This ‘n’ that: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick had an inconsistent night, but he did hook up with deep target Torrey Smith on his best throw of the practice. Kaepernick dropped a perfect 45-yard down the right sideline to Smith, who had a couple steps on Cromartie. . . Tight end Vernon Davis dropped an accurate Kaepernick throw during team work. . . Ellington, White and Jarryd Hayne handled punts. Hayne muffed one of the punts that came his way. . . Running back Carlos Hyde looked comfortable catching balls out of the backfield. He had four receptions in 11-on-11 drills. . . Rookie punter Bradley Pinion certainly appears to have a much stronger leg than Dawson on kickoffs. Pinion drove his kickoff through the back of the end one. Dawson managed to get his kickoff about 3 yards into the end zone. . . Tomsula said he gave Reggie Bush the night off because he noticed he was doing extra stretching after the team’s conditioning drill. “I’m not going to wait to see Reggie tired and give him a break,” Tomsula said. “He’s in shape.” . . . Tight end Asante Cleveland had a rough night with two dropped passes during the portion of practice devoted to the young players. . . As the 49ers did 7-on-7 dril ls on one end of the field, the linemen worked on pass-rush drills on the other end. Tomsula, the former defensive line coach, pulled himself away from the linemen to keep an eye on the passing drill. . . .The 49ers worked out linebacker Steve Beauharnais, a New England Patriots seventh-round pick in 2013. He spent time on Washington’s roster late season. . . Defensive back Jimmie Ward went through individual work at a slow speed but did not see any action in one-on-one, 7-on-11 or team work. Tomsula said he has a protective shell on his shoe after returning from a fractured foot.
Daily transactions: None
Did not practice: RB Reggie Bush, DL Darnell Dockett, OLB Aaron Lynch
Physically unable to perform: C Daniel Kilgore (left leg)
Non-football injury/illness: LB Michael Wilhoite (leg), WR DeAndre Smelter (knee), LB Nick Bellore (illness)
Next practice: The 49ers are scheduled to return to the practice field at 4:15 p.m. on Sunday. The practice is closed to the general public.