How do players respond to scary scene?

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SANTA CLARA – Here are three things to expect Wednesday at 49ers training camp as they hold their final full practice before Friday’s exhibition opener at Kansas City:

1. Aftermath of Newsom’s injury. After silently walking off the field while Donavin Newsom got put into an ambulance, the 49ers will return Wednesday and must overcame any mental hurdles from the somber scene.

Newsom, an undrafted rookie linebacker, sustained a concussion but cervical spine fractures from an inadvertent hit he endured from rookie safety Chanceller James.

San Francisco 49ers’ Eric Reid answers questions during a news conference at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Thursday, July 27, 2017. Players reported for training camp on Thursday with practice to begin on Friday. 

“These things happen and you hate to see it,” safety Eric Reid said. “Everyone pauses for a minute just to get their thoughts together and to pray for whoever is injured, especially in a situation like this.

“In the game, it sucks, you’ve got to kind of move on quickly,” Reid added. “But when you have time after the game or, for us, after practice, you go check on the guy and make sure he’s OK.”

That also meant checking on James’ status immediately after the hit as he appeared distraught. Reid and quarterbcak Brian Hoyer, acting as the spokesman for their units, both dismissed James’ role and insisted that such accidental hits are part of football’s perils.

“I guess there’s what you may call survivor remorse,” Hoyer said. “But you have to emphasize it’s friendly fire. It’s not like he was trying to take out a receiver. It wasn’t anything dirty or uncalled for. It was two guys playing football.”

Will coach Kyle Shanahan tell his players to not play as aggressive? Nope.

“No, you’ve got to practice football, but you’ve got to be as smart as you can too,” Shanahan said. “That’s something we work at, but, no, that’s not going to change how we practice.”

San Francisco 49er linebacker Donavin Newsom (48) lines up behind teammate Reuben Foster (56) during training camp, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, in Santa Clara, California. Newsom was injured at camp Tuesday and was taken away by ambulance. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
San Francisco 49er linebacker Donavin Newsom (48) lines up behind teammate Reuben Foster (56) during training camp, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, in Santa Clara, California. Newsom was injured at camp Tuesday and was taken away by ambulance. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

2. Linebacker depth. Newsom is out indefinitely or at least until he clears the league’s post-concussion protocol, leaving the 49ers a little understaffed at that position, although not as bad as the injury-laden 2016 campaign.

Tuesday’s practice saw NaVorro Bowman and Ray-Ray Armstrong on the first team, followed by Newsom and Reuben Foster on the second team, although Foster likely will rotate with Armstrong until an official starter is named.

Malcolm Smith was lost for the season Saturday to a pectoral tear. Brock Coyle has been hindered by a rib injury from Thursday’s action, although he’s close to returning. Jayson Dimanche and Austin Calitro signed in recent days.

It’s unknown how much Shanahan plans to play Bowman, if at all, in Friday’s exhibition as the former All-Pro hasn’t seen game action since October’s Achilles tear.

3. Situational work. The offense hasn’t looked too sharp the past couple practices while working on situational aspects, including in the red zone and clock-management drills. For instance, Hoyer’s cadence is causing too many false starts from his offensive linemen.

The 49ers refreshed their base offenses and defense through the first few days of camp, and after a little lull, those units started showing well. Can they regain the momentum heading into their exhibition opener?

By the way, anyone recall Jim Harbaugh’s exhibition debut in 2011? The 49ers weren’t prepared to handled a startling barrage of blitzes from the host New Orleans Saints. Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick got sacked a combined six times in the 24-3 loss. The 49ers’ revenge came in the playoffs by virtue of a 36-32 victory.

 

 



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