49ers struggling on defensive line
The Sports Xchange
NFL Team Report - San Francisco 49ers - INSIDE SLANT
San Francisco allowed 237 rushing yards to the Ravens, who finished last in the NFL in yards per carry in 2013. Stalwart defensive ends Justin Smith and Ray McDonald and nose tackle Glenn Dorsey, who is out for the season, did not play. And the team is still waiting on nose tackle Ian Williams to return to practice after having four surgeries on his broken ankle sustained last September against the Seahawks.
Only six defensive linemen suited up in Baltimore, a very low number for a preseason game. And none had NFL starts. Last season's second-round draft pick defensive end Tank Carradine made his pro debut after missing all of 2013 while recovering from an ACL tear suffered in college. He had offseason surgery on the same knee to remove scar tissue, but that didn't prevent him from playing 60 snaps.
Defensive end Quinton Dial, taken in the third round last year, played 56 snaps after making scant appearances in three regular season games. Demarcus Dobbs and Lawrence Okoye both suffered ankle injuries during Thursday's loss, forcing fullback Will Tukuafu to return to the defensive line, where he began his pro career, for four plays.
"We've got some reinforcements coming next week, from our own team," head coach Jim Harbaugh said.
The 49ers will practice with the Ravens at their facility through Monday before returning to the Bay Area to gear up for the second preseason game against the Denver Broncos. That game is Sunday and will be the first football game played in the team's new home venue Levi's Stadium.
NFL Team Report - San Francisco 49ers - NOTES, QUOTES
--The 49ers are conducting their first joint practices with another team since Jim Harbaugh became the coach in 2011. It's no wonder, then, it's against his brother's team.
"Always feel like you can make a lot of progress as a football team between the first game and the second game. Couldn't have a better place to do it," Harbaugh said. "Tremendous facility. Appreciate the Ravens. Looks like they've gone to a lot of expense and effort to make sure that we have a first-class environment here. So, we really appreciate that and look forward to great work. Look forward to good practice with a first-class organization. We have tremendous respect for the Baltimore Ravens, their team, their organization, their coach. Definitely want to beat them when we play them, but always cheer for them when we're not playing them."
Anquan Boldin returned to the Ravens' facility for the first time since the team traded him to San Francisco in the spring of 2013 just weeks after beating the 49ers in the Super Bowl. He played seven plays in Thursday night's game.
It's clear Boldin's legendary practice habits have rubbed off on both teams.
"(Boldin's) the most special practice player I've ever seen. None better than him," Harbaugh said. "Just the way he competes to make the tough catch in practice, in games. Great leadership. Any player, any coach could watch him and know that's the way it's supposed to be done. Very serious about winning. Very serious about being good. He just showers us with all those qualities daily, hourly."
--The 49ers have had a few dustups during training camp, creating one of the more tense atmospheres at practice since Harbaugh took over as head coach in 2011. With all three practices between the two teams coming in pads, the Harbaugh brothers have talked about ways to avoid any extracurricular activity from going on between the two teams.
"We've talked about it," said Harbaugh. "We want to take care of the Ravens, we want to be safe out here, and we need them to do the same for us. That's the kind of environment where iron sharpens iron. That's what we're looking for. We're looking for good practice work. These aren't games out here. This is practice. This is drills. Expect really good practice."
BATTLE OF THE WEEK: After an uninspiring 3-for-11 performance from Blaine Gabbert in the first half of Thursday's loss, the 49ers' No. 2 quarterback job might still be up for grabs.
"I think all the quarterbacks...are coming out of this thinking there are a few (throws) they want back," Harbaugh said. "I think they all did about the same. A couple of good throws and runs and extending the play, and a few they'd like to have back, too."