Three weeks of organized team activity practices ended Thursday and here are a few things the 49ers found out about their team:
— Tight end Vernon Davis looks ready to become an offensive factor. He caught passes all over the field and drew praise from coach Mike Nolan and quarterbacks Trent Dilfer and Alex Smith. “He knows what he has now,” Smith said to The San Francisco Chronicle about Davis’ ability to line up in the right spot and to go in motion at the right time. “Now he can think about setting up his route, whether it’s zone or man (coverage). I think he’s progressed quite a bit.”
— Rookie defensive backs Tarell Brown and Dashon Goldson actually belong. Nolan was particularly complimentary of Goldson, who got some extra coaching from Nolan on Wednesday. “Dashon Goldson is known to be a physical player who tackles well,” Nolan said Wednesday. “It’s nice to know he does a pretty good job in shorts as well.”
— The 49ers won’t have defensive end Melvin Oliver and cornerback B.J. Tucker when the team begins training camp on July 29. Oliver, a starter last year, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and will miss the entire season. Tucker tore his pectoral muscle and was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list.
Oliver is the bigger loss of the two. He started 14 games last season and recorded 50 tackles and a sack, but at 282 pounds, he doesn’t possess the ideal size for a defensive end in the 3-4 defense. Also, with the defense trimming down to three starting linemen, the 49ers are likely to keep six or seven defensive linemen on the final roster. Oliver probably would have made the team, but would have gotten a challenge from the recently signed Sam Rayburn, who is 303 pounds. Tucker hung onto the fringes of the team last year, getting one start as a nickel back against the Chargers. With the additions of Brown and free agent Nate Clements, Tucker would have had a hard time making the team as it is.What coaches don’t really know is how players will react once they are in pads, a fact Nolan continuously emphasized. “You can get a guy out here who looks like the greatest thing ever, then once you put the pads on, he’s nowhere to be found,” Nolan said. “It happens sometimes.”
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