--The 49ers hope their offensive line can actually build some cohesion this season after a season in which the club started five different combinations and the unit that practiced during the week played in only six games.
"It'll be important that we all practice together because continuity is really important to be good," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said.
Left tackle Jonas Jennings returned to the practice field this week after starting just three games last season after signing a lucrative deal with the 49ers as a free agent.
And veteran center Jeremy Newberry, a two-time NFC Pro Bowl selection, is optimistic that he will be cleared to practice in training camp and then regain his starting job for the regular season.
"I'm going to have every intention in the world to play a lot of training camp and then play every single game," Newberry told The Oakland Tribune.
Newberry rarely practiced last season because of a bothersome right knee that required extensive surgery. Newberry started 10 of the first 11 games of the season but went on injured reserve in late November when it became unbearable for him to play.
--Tight end Vernon Davis, the team's No. 6 overall pick, is making quite an impression already. He got in an on-field tussle with linebacker Brandon Moore during an OTA practice one day. Two days later, he spiked the ball at the feet of safety Chad Williams after catching a touchdown pass, drawing the ire of the team's defensive players.
--Nolan offered this blunt assessment of rookie tight end Onye Ibekwe: "Certainly, he's not a very good football player, yet."
But Nolan's review of Ibekwe was generally positive and uplifting for the former Long Beach State basketball player who has not played football since his sophomore year of high school.
"He's doing well," Nolan said. "He's a big, good-looking guy who weighs about 260. And he can put on another 10 in time. He's very raw. What I like about him from what I've seen so far is he's very eager to do well and make the team in some capacity. He catches the ball and he sprints another 20 yards, he runs back and gives the ball to the ball boy. He does all the things you like to see from somebody who's trying to make your club.
"He's got ability and with a little practice, maybe he can become a better football player. He has a lot of athletic ability but it's not a track meet as we all know. He's got my eye. Right now he's at the developmental stage, but I certainly respect and appreciate his work ethic."
--Backup quarterback Trent Dilfer, acquired in a trade from the Browns for Ken Dorsey and a seventh-round draft pick in 2007, has not been cleared to take part in team work. Dilfer does throw in individual drills, though. He underwent surgery in February to repair a partially torn patellar tendon in his right knee. Dilfer passed a physical with the 49ers shortly after he was obtained. He appears on pace for a full recovery, but the 49ers have until June 15 to back out of the trade. It is highly unlikely the 49ers will void the trade.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"That's to be expected. When guys are competing, that's what happens. You notice a sense of urgency among our team and we have to continue with that sense of urgency. When you put that on the guys, you're going to have them compete at a higher level." -- 49ers coach Mike Nolan on the heightened level of intensity and flared tempers during organized team activities.
Copyright (C) 2006 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.