It's not about defending themselves in a brawl, though end Ziggy Hood said, "I think we'd be OK." Rather, it's about simulating movements that translate to the field. There's also a cardio benefit. When Tomsula coached San Francisco's defensive linemen, they performed these drills, too.
While inside linebacker remains a battle, Will Compton and Mason Fostertypically work with the starters. At nose tackle, there's no one working all the time with the starters. Joey Mbu, Phil Taylor and A.J. Francis all have rotated there -- one might win the job; all might get cut. Stacy McGee, among others, can play end or nose tackle. This spot remains the most uncertain on the roster. -- John Keim
Swagger: You can thank Swearinger in part for this; he definitely has some -- and he also plays with a passion that appears to be contagious. So does cornerback Josh Norman. And linebacker Will Compton. It doesn't end there, but the defense should have more of it than in the past. Of course, the way you maintain that swagger is by playing well. The back-end swagger pairs with a front that is workmanlike.
Wide receivers (6)
Starters: Josh Doctson, Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder (slot)
Backups: Maurice Harris, Ryan Grant, Robert Davis
Bubble: Brian Quick
I’m tempted to switch Quick and Davis as the veteran has looked much better in camp than he did in the offseason program while Davis still is learning. But I’ll hold off until after a preseason game or two; I still think that special teams will give the rookie Davis the edge. Harris and Crowder both have been out while nursing injuries, giving Grant a chance to shine in practice. Undrafted rookie Zach Pascal (Old Dominion) is putting on a good showing but his best shot appears to be the practice squad.
While the defensive line remains unsettled, it appears the linebacker group is starting to get some clarity. On Thursday, Will Compton and Zach Brown took the field together with the first group, and that dup was on the field for the final 2-minute drill of the session. It's starting to look like Mason Foster will be the third interior linebacker, and while he will still play plenty, it seems Compton and Brown will be the starters.