49ers' offense shows potential for more

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Those hoping to see the San Francisco 49ers ramp up their passing game would have enjoyed the team's practice Tuesday afternoon.

The ball scarcely hit the ground when Alex Smith and the starters were on the field.

Smith to tight end Vernon Davis over the middle, time and again. Smith to receiver Randy Moss in the end zone, twice. Smith to receiver Mario Manningham in the corner of the end zone, as if it were automatic.

This was the most impressive passing performance I've seen in training camp trips this summer to St. Louis, Seattle and the 49ers. Davis caught one pass from Smith while pirouetting, timing his spin so the ball met his torso on rhythm.

The 49ers probably will not stray too far from their basic philosophies. They'll still use two or more tight ends regularly, health permitting (Delanie Walker is expected back for the season, and probably sooner). But on this day, at least, the 49ers' offense demonstrated the potential for diversification.

I'll be taking that visual back to NFC West blog headquarters on a flight leaving the San Francisco Bay Area for the Pacific Northwest on Tuesday night. Our "Camp Confidential" file on the 49ers is tentatively scheduled for Thursday. Then it's off to Arizona for Cardinals camp early next week -- the last stop in this NFC West tour.