Wednesday nights practice was supposed to be a lively, hard-hitting affair, and while it wasn't quite as spirited as last year, it was the best we'd seen this so far this year. The practice was dominated by special teams walk-throughs and individual drills, but the highlight of the evening was of course the live goal-line session. The lack of overly-physical practices could be a result of the injuries sustained last year and the lack of depth at some key positions, namely offensive line.
Goal Line Session: There weren't any massive hits that or devastating tackles that stood out but that doesn't mean that it wasn't physical. Edge didn't participate in the drill, which gave even more carries to rookie, Tim Hightower, who scored the first touchdown for the offense. JJ Arrington was also given a chance to a chance to shine as he took some reps with the first squad.
Rookie on the Ropes: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had a great practice earlier in the week that included a couple of pick-sixes but yesterday's practice was one that he'll want to forget pretty quickly. He was beaten deep a couple of times yesterday, once by Doucet and once by Breaston. Doucet's route really fooled DRC and he was no where near the fellow rookie when the caught the ball. Breaston got a step on DRC and the speed versus speed matchup was won by Breaston.
Patrick Making a Push: With Leonard Pope still not completely healthy, Ben Patrick has gotten plenty of reps with the first team and he's making the most of his opportunity. Nearly every practice is highlighted by a great catch and yesterday was no different as he pulled in an acrobatic catch from St. Pierre for a touchdown. Pope has also been impressive and it seems pretty clear that the tight position will be in very good hands no matter who ends up being the starter.
Dime Defense: Clancy Pendergast has showed off a new look dime-defense early in camp that includes Adrian Wilson moving down to linebacker and Antrel Rolle moves to the third corner. Matt Ware and Aaron Francisco move into the vacant safety spots and ensures that there is plenty of speed on the field. If that defense sticks around in the regular season, it could be a fun one to watch.
Injury Update: As we found out yesterday, the worst injury is that Al Johnson went back to Phoenix to have his knee examined. Other lingering injuries include Boldin (hamstring), Beisel (back), Watson (knee) and Dykes (quad). Cornerback, Marcus Brown was back on the practice field for the first time.