Notes, observations from 49ers minicamp

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Things I noticed while watching the San Francisco 49ers during their minicamp practice Tuesday at team headquarters:

  • A fully engaged Randy Moss. When Moss wasn't making impressive catches over defensive backs such as Chris Culliver, he was engaged in other ways. Moss worked with quarterbacks Alex Smith and Scott Tolzien off to the side during breaks. He easily could have stood and watched those portions of practice. When the receivers were moving their drill into an area occupied by defensive lineman, Moss jokingly instructed them to vacate the area. Such details mean little when isolated. Together, they validate what coaches and teammates have said about Moss to this point.

  • Patrick Willis leaving practice. The Pro Bowl linebacker wasn't injured. The team said Willis left for personal reasons. Larry Grant took over for Willis. All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman was not there at all. He had an excused absence.

  • Rookie A.J. Jenkins getting deep. The usual disclaimers about minicamps apply. Rules allow defenders to cover, but not to defend aggressively. Still, the 49ers had to like seeing their first-round choice get deep for a reception along the left sideline.

  • Michael Crabtree's hands. Coach Jim Harbaugh provided welcome blog fodder when he called Crabtree's hands the best he'd seen. It's going to be a news event when Crabtree eventually drops one. He bobbled one Tuesday. Crabtree made an impressive deep grab from Colin Kaepernick with a defender running close by.

  • A couple of drops. Chris Owusu and Garrett Celek were among the players dropping passes.

  • Frank Gore as a receiver. Gore uncharacteristically suffered from seven drops last season. He made an leaping grab against Ahmad Brooks in this practice. A wideout would have been happy to have made that grab.

  • Steve Mariucci in attendance. The 49ers' ex-coach was on assignment for NFL Network. He watched practice with general manager Trent Baalke.

  • Nate Byham's knee. The blocking tight end has returned from the knee injury he suffered a year ago. Byham is wearing a brace on his left knee. He was emerging as a top blocking back before the injury. Rules against contact during minicamps make it tough to gauge a player's power.

  • Carlos Rogers' debut. The Pro Bowl cornerback made his offseason debut after resting a calf injury previously.

  • A few guys watching. Delanie Walker, Ted Ginn Jr., Cam Johnson, Darius Fleming and Joe Looney did not participate for various reasons. Rules prevented second-round choice LaMichael James from attending because his college class at Oregon has not yet graduated.

That's if for the time being. Back in a bit.