49ers mini-camp: Phase 2 of a laid-back offseason?

Last year’s offseason was completely different than this year’s offseason. Last year was strenuous. Jim Harbaugh made every practice extremely competitive. Players got hurt. Michael Crabtree blew out his Achilles’ tendon right away. So, Harbaugh created an open competition for the No.2 WR job. That didn’t work out so well. Quinton Patton broke his finger during training camp.

This year’s offseason has been much more laid back. Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin and Frank Gore have participated in position drills in front of the media, but not team drills. Stevie Johnson did not participate in team drills in front of the media, either. Somehow, he still re-injured the hamstring that slowed him down last season. Quinton Patton participated in team drills during Week 1 of OTAs and was excellent, so the 49ers held him out of team drills during Weeks 2 and 3. While he was stretching last Tuesday, 49ers’ wide receiver coach John Morton walked over to Patton and told him not to get hurt, whatever he did. Patton followed directions.

Without Crabtree, Boldin, Johnson or Patton on the field, Brandon Lloyd has been the starting split end and Bruce Ellington has been the backup split end.

It will be interesting to see if the 49ers continue to rest and protect most of their key offensive players during mini camp next week.

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  1. Makes sense to avoid “one size fits all” regiments.
    - Rookies are in combine shape, trying to get back to football shape.
    - Starters are dealing with a shortened recovery season because they played deep into the post season.
    - 2nd stringers will be in pretty good shape, having avoided much of the wear and tear of 2013 season.
    - Older players need the rest, and don’t need the repetition they way younger players do.
    - Injured players.

    I wonder if importing Irish conditioning guru Fergus Connolly as “Director of Elite Performance” has anything to with the the changes in routine?

    1. I meant regimens, not “regiments.” Would be a bit of a shock to see 49ers suddenly impressed into the French Foreign Legion.

        1. 49ers in the Foreign Legion? Shocking yes! But it would be interesting. After all the bad luck they had last season some of them might welcome the opportunity ” To Forget”.

      1. Oh, I dunno, Brodie. Those FFL guys are some bad hombres! ; >)
        We trained with them and some Aussie SBS guys back in the day, and those Frogs are rugged! They lost a bet with us and so the last day they had to carry their Sergeant and his gear through the drills. The last km of the run the guy carrying his Sarge jogged up next to me and offered to carry my ruck too, and then tried to out-sprint me to the end. We had a beer later;OK, more than one.

        1. When my older brother was in the navy they exchanged a sailor for a 24hr period with n Aussie ship. He was picked to go. The Australian sailors got to have beer after chow. What a treat!

          1. another typo… sorry. Having my Saturday night cigar under the stars. Caan’t keyboard worth a dang. My FFL comment was to be funny. I know them froggies are major buh-dasses.

    2. That the same Fergus who got in a fight with a rugby union member over how a certain Irish song should be sung? If so, he’s supposed to be some sports science guru. Interesting character, and with as many technological advances that are available, this dude could prove valuable…..

      1. That’s the same guy all right. Head butts were involved…. and they were (and still are) friends. Fergus will fit right in with Lord Fang and the Gang.

    3. I like the idea of resting veterans.
      But I believe that the ramifications of doing ding so can be counter productive on a couple of levels.

      1. The obvious one for me; Where do you draw the line as to how much rest is needed in OTA’s and TC for a vet, vs having him being ready to physically take the hitting that a football players body must get acclimated too by the time the season starts.

      2. Resting veteran players (if eventually adopted by all teams) has the potential of creating certain stipulations and wording that may effect the bottom line in vet players contract.

      Again, I like the idea especially after losing Crabtree for the better part of last season, but I hope that coaches and vet players have a good gauge on it.

      1. Good point AES

        I remember Ron Mix being quoted that his ‘skin got thinner’ after missing the hitting practice being injured part5 of a season. I guess we’ll know by how loud the “OUCHs” are when TC begins.

      1. Hunter makes sense. Strange how often he becomes the forgotten guy, especially in national media. Its huge if he can return to pre-injury form.

      2. How can Lattimore just be No. 4 on your depth chart?? That indicates, for me, that the issues that he is working through, is much more serious than we would hope for. To be frank, it indicates that he is not ready to play and I wonder if he ever will be that.

        1. joegen,
          The possiblity of Marcus not being ready this season may have merit. His injury was devastating and potentially career ending. That he is even able to work out and attempt to play in the NFL is a great commentary to his endearing dedication and huge advances in the medical field.

          Players like Gale Sayers, Bo Jackson and many of the greats who suffered career ending injuries wish they could have had the medical technology of today.

          I wonder if the team will allow Marcus the luxury of another year to rehab if he needs more time.
          I love Lattimore’ heart and passion for the game and hope he makes a full recovery but if he does not return to complete playing capacity he may take it upon himself to bow out.
          We’ll know by the middle of TC how far ML has come on his road back.

  2. Definitely a different approach. I wonder how much player feedback influenced the change?

    I also find it interesting that Patton is one of the guys they are coddling – I would have thought they’d be keen to see him get some reps, by holding him back it would seem they are confident in what he brings, and feel he’s important enough to ensure he stays healthy.

      1. I sure hope so razor! He’s not a burner, but he’s got enough speed to provide a deep threat complement. If he can win the 3rd WR spot over Johnson and Lloyd that would put the 49ers in a very strong position at WR.

        1. His vision and antcipation, coupled with quickness makes him a very formidable runner with the ball in his hands….

          1. He was a good route running WR at Louisiana Tech too. I’ve got high hopes for Patton as a 49er. I was really surprised he lasted to the 4th round in 2013 – thought he’d go in the 2nd round for sure.

            1. If that foot is completely healed, and he’s not one of these china dolls, I think he’s a player that can make plays for the 49ers…..

              1. But that is the question. Is he injury prone? And how do you tell if he has recovered from his injuries? Of course OTA’s isn’t regular training camp, but I sure hope they take a different tack and make their players show what they have on the field instead of assuming they can based on past performances. That’s what they did last year and look what happened. I also don’t trust their ability to make WR evaluations.

              2. Yikes, the kid broke his foot when it was stepped on, and broke a finger catching a pass. Those things are bad luck. In college he wasn’t injury prone. Why assume the worst after a couple of unlucky incidents? I’d be a little worried if it was muscle, tendon or ligament issues, as those can become chronic, but it hasn’t been.

                And why do they need Crabtree, Boldin or Johnson to show what they’ve got? We aren’t talking about unknown quantities here. These are guys that have proven themselves. Last year after Crabtree got hurt they were in a bind because they had a bunch of unknowns other than Boldin. Not the case this year.

                “I also don’t trust their ability to make WR evaluations.” Everyone’s favourite comment. We’ll have a better understanding of whether they can identify and develop talent in a couple of years, when Patton and Ellington have been around for a little while. At the moment Jenkins puts a large question mark on it, but anyone can make a bad pick. Other than Jenkins, they’ve not taken any receivers in the early rounds since Crabtree. Patton and Ellington are the only mid round WRs Baalke has drafted, and there is definitely reason to be optimistic about those two. Other than that it has been late round flyers in Kyle Williams (who at least developed into a contributor) and Ronald Johnson. Too soon to be labelling Baalke as unable to identify WR talent.

              3. That’s all I’m hoping it is, just rotten luck. Got to prove that’s all it was……

              1. Its an opinion, but without any of us having had a chance to see these guys live this year (aside from Grant) I’m not sure what you are basing it on…?

                Lloyd has only had one 1,000+ yard receiving season in 10 seasons of football, which was back in 2010, and he sat out last season. Without seeing these guys in action, it is hard to see how he can be considered better than:

                - Anquan Boldin: six 1,000+ yard seasons in 11 seasons of football, including last year.
                - Michael Crabtree: also only one 1,000+ yard season, but has played only 5 seasons, and his 1,000+ year was more recent, and he’s an ascending player that has gotten better each year prior to his injury-hit 2013.
                - Stevie Johnson: three 1,000+ yard seasons in 6 seasons of football.

                I’m not saying your opinion is wrong, just not sure how you got to it. What I will say is if Lloyd’s still got some gas left in the tank, he provides something different to Boldin, Crabtree and Johnson which could make him useful to keep.

              2. It’s no coincicence the 49ers brought in two receivers who have had success against the Seahawks. Lloyd improves the odds of scoring in the red zone…..

              3. Scooter M, Aren’t stats fun? You say that Lloyd has had only one season over 1000 yards. That season was 1448 yards. He had two seasons barely under 1000 yards and one of them was in 2012, when he caught 74 passes for 911 yards. According to Patrick Willis, the guy is much faster off the line than expected, jumps better than anyone else, and is a tremendous weapon in the Red Zone. If they give him a fair shot, he’ll make the team. He still holds his old high school record in the high jump of 7’2″. This guy is an athlete.

              4. @ Old Niner yes stats are good and he had ONE 1,000 yd season and couldn’t get over 1,000 with Brady throwing him the ball. Sure he looks like the best WR right now because he is one of the only WRs with actual playing experiences on the field right now lol. Who cares if he has the high jump record from high school that happened over 10 yrs ago. I hope they keep the best players for now and the FUTURE, who would they cut to create room for him?

  3. Excellent color, thanks Grant. Very curious change vs last year but probably the right move for a veteran and talented team.

  4. Grant,

    Are you suggesting Crabtree injured his achilles and Patton broke his finger because Harbaugh made practices last offseason “extremely competitive?”

  5. NFL insider says Niners are pursuing Flowers for a one year deal.

    Sports radio reported Lloyd ran a 4 31 in the 40 at camp and Hyde ran a 4.39. Lattimore 4.6

    1. Razor,
      Not refuting the Sports Radio (well, maybe sort of, lol) about Lloyd’ 4.31 40 in camp, but if he did every NFL player needs to immediately adopt his training regiment since his best time coming out of college was 4.6.

      Brandon Lloyd NFL Combine Results

      Player Info

      Height: 73 inches
      Weight: 184 pounds
      Arm Length: (N/A) inches
      Hand Size: (N/A) inches
      Position: WR
      College: Illinois
      Draft Class: 2003

      Measurables

      40 Yard Dash: 4.62 seconds
      20 Yard Dash: 2.71 seconds
      10 Yard Dash: 1.62 seconds
      Bench Press: (N/A) reps (225 lb)
      Wonderlic: (N/A) (0-50)

      Vertical Leap: 36.0 inches
      Broad Jump: (N/A) inches
      20 Yd Shuttle: (N/A) seconds
      Three Cone: (N/A) seconds
      60 Yd Shuttle: (N/A) seconds

      Brandon Lloyd was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in Round 4 with the #124 overall pick of the 2003 NFL Draft.

      NFLCombineResults.com

      1. LOL ran a 4.31 come on man, that’s just silly… if that’s the case he will be peeping in a cup very soon.

    1. Thank you Mary.
      I also send out a Happy Father’s Day to the entire PD blog family and staff.
      Hope all dads have a great day!

  6. For anyone interested, there is a fluff piece on the PD about Jim Harbaugh attending a fundraiser for the Santa Rosa JC football program. Its mildly amusing off-season filler…..
    …IF you’re a 49er Fan. Boring to others, no doubt.
    Some guy was prepared to bid $5k for a Seahawks autographed football if he and Jim would go out to the parking lot and film for You Tube burning that football. The actual ball wasn’t there at the auction, so missing the chance with Harbaugh, the guy took a pass.
    OK, so this brings up a peripheral issue. I’m going long-winded on this one, so check-out if you want. Yesterday Razor was questioning Mary for posting links to Seahawks articles. Previously someone (Space?) had teased about that and maybe Mary misunderstood and took him up on that.
    Mary is not a problem; she’s perfectly nice and never unpleasant. Grant rose to her defense in posting links. Fine. Why she or other fans of other teams want to hang around an ‘enemy’ blog I don’t understand, but no matter since she isn’t a negative influence.
    But I get where Razor was coming from. Many here believe that this blog is a 49er Fan Site. I do. It was before Grant arrived. Grant considers himself “above” fandom. OK. But from that he seems to think that this blog is some wellspring of technical and intellectual information about football in general and the 49ers in particular. I gots news; it ain’t.
    Those who frequent this blog are overwhelmingly Forty Niner Fans or we wouldn’t be interested in all the minute details that we engage in. Grant, with help from occasional henchmen, loves to scorn Fanboys and throw poo at the Niners organization, ownership, front office, coaching staff and players.
    So it seems to me, he doesn’t understand his customer base very well; you know those of us who consume all this stuff. Questionable business model. Matt M. has and will go further in his career than Grant will, although Grant could find a gig with the NY Daily News or some rabble rousing rag like it.

      1. I have no animus toward Mary or Grant, but having been here since Branch, I consider this a 49er home for serious fans. Brotha nailed where I was coming from, and hence the aforementioned gratitude…..

    1. I got news for you. You don’t define what this blog is. Thanks for your input, though. Much appreciated.

      Happy Father’s Day.

      1. The 49er fans are the heart and soul of this blog, and have been long before you became steward. I appreciate your work, but I’ve got news for you, you’re not the reason we’re here…..

        1. Just don’t bully other posters for not being hardcore Niners fans. Take as many shots at me as you’d like, though.

          1. I’d agree the blog is a better place without the name calling and attempts at bullying that we used to see here. That said, if anyone has the free speech right to post links (within reason & decorum), then doesn’t Razor, or anyone else have the right to react? No vulgarity. No abusiveness, just a pointed question from a Fanatical Team Supporter (in Sonoma County we call that a fan.)

            1. Yes, everyone has the right to react.

              Anyone who adds to the discussion is OK by me. Outside perspectives are interesting. Diversity is the spice of life.

              1. Not be rude Grant, but what exactly then does the Super Monkey with multiple personalties offer to this blog? He (or she) neither offers any outside perspective or diversity.

              1. Heckle is a better word. I want you to make posters like Mary feel welcome here as long as those posters are respectful. Can you do that?

              2. Look Grant, Mary can bloviate all she desires, all I wanted to know is why we would need Mary, Peter or Paul posting Seahawk links everyday on a 49ers blog. Not necessary, and personally I find it disrespectful. I also find the colors chosen by the bus transit system annoying as well…..

              3. It’s a free country and she’s not being disrespectful. People are free to post whatever links they want as long they’re PG.

              4. Free country, and sometimes that freedom is expressed in ways that are void of common sense. Case in point, you don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off that old lone ranger and you don’t post Seahawk links on a 49ers blog…..

              5. Never asked you too, but for every action, there is a reaction. To not expect a negative reaction, would seem folly….

              6. To help Grant understand the difference:

                Bully: a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker

                Heckler: someone who tries to embarrass you with gibes and questions and objections

              7. That’s why they pay you the big bucks. I’m just a part of the fan base that bleeds Scarlet and Gold, and by extension facilitates yourself with a premise to put in a request for a raise…..

        2. Razor,
          I don’t have a problem with Mary’ reports about the c-hawks. I find it less tolerable than some of the postings about Alex Smith’ KC numbers comparison to Kaep’ last season.

          If I want the full gamut of 49ers news (without the edge) I can find it on other links at the touch of a finger.

            1. Correct. Thanks Razor.

              I would be ok with less news about the c-hawks, but I would very happy with no news about Alex this upcoming season.
              That ship has sailed.
              Arriverderci!
              Sayounara!
              Esta Luego!
              Aloha!

    2. Brotha, I believe Mary stated that the reason she was coming on this blog is that her son works for the 49er organization. In what capacity, she wouldn’t state. If true, I could see why she would want to also follow the 49ers on the PD.

      1. OMG, that was a lie, okay. Everyone was trying to figure out a scenario. So I threw that out as an interesting twist.

        1. Hopefully, that was the only lie. There was really no need for that kind of deceit to make an interesting twist. Being yourself should always be enough. Do you really live in Seattle or was that a little bit of untruth as well? You do know Grant can check that kind of thing with his IP address software?

          1. Space, of course it was the only fib. I’m reducing it to a fib. If you’ll recall the spirit of the conversation everyone was trying to figure out which fan base I belonged to b/c my posts were favorable to both 49ers as well as Seahawks. I was just joking around.

    3. Bro Tuna

      Thank you for clarifying feelings to Mary and other bloggers from other sites, because like yourself, I think that she has been very pleasant in presenting her views, as you said; perfectly nice. I don’t know if I qualify as one of the noted ‘henchmen’ you mentioned, but on occasion I am guilty of what you took note of. There have been a myriad of times that I have been unhappy about personnel and other decisions made by OUR front office and have not attempted to hide those feelings. I have scorned, and tossed the obligatory poo at whom I felt was responsible. I think that you have done that with your final statement. I have gained from several of your posts about football and appreciate them. Happy Fathers Day everyone….(except Mary)

      1. Oregon-
        >Thanks for those thoughts. I’ll accept your criticism of my parting shot. Strong opinion could be correct but flung like poo; guilty.
        >I didn’t have you in mind. Let’s just say sometimes I see High School-like cliques form-up here.
        >Opposing opinions, minority opinions don’t offend me. I disagree with your assessments of CK but I don’t disrespect you and always read your comments. Its guys like you and a bunch of others that keep me checking in, whether I agree or not.
        >I’m not so respectful of hypocrisy nor sophomoric arrogance.

      1. Thinking he deserves a new deal and actually getting one are entirely different stories.

        This is a team that was within two muffed punts of reaching a Super Bowl with Chilo Rachal and Adam Snyder starting at RG.

        1. That’s a good way to put it. Boone is good and probably could get Saffold money from another team on the open market, but he doesn’t make or break the Niners.

          1. How long do you think he’ll hold out Grant? He hasn’t got the large salary to be able to take the fines, and the 49ers have the depth to not feel pressured into getting something done. I’m guessing it is a short-lived hold out.

          2. Boone is good and probably could get Saffold money from another team on the open market, but he doesn’t make or break the Niners.

            I can’t agree with with this statement for two reasons:
            1. Boone has dealt with considerably less injuries and has performed better than Saffold, so he would command more money on the market.
            2. It is incorrect to say that Boone doesn’t make or break the Niners since Davis’ play at RT has greatly improved since Boone was placed beside him. And let’s not forget Boone’s versatility either.

            1. I do think Boone has outplayed his current deal, but that being said he still has a couple yrs remaining and if he continues his current path he will be paid accordingly. We have Thomas(next yr), Martin, Looney, Snyder etc that could play guard at a cheaper price and probably not much of a downgrade. I think holdouts especially with the depth of SF’s team is foolish..next man up!!

              1. xavierd3

                Just to stir a little….how do we know that these guys aren’t the second coming of Chilo Rachal…? Just remember where we were before Boone….I hope they pay him

            2. “It is incorrect to say that Boone doesn’t make or break the Niners”

              No it’s not. They won 14 games in 2011 without him, and unlike when the team lost VD, they kept right on rolling when Looney was forced to step in at right guard against the Rams.

              1. They had no consistency at RG in 2011 and Boone can be inserted anywhere on the line in an emergency so a guy like Looney can be utilized Jack.

              2. “They had no consistency at RG in 2011″

                Yet they won 14 games.

                “Boone can be inserted anywhere on the line in an emergency”

                Boone is versatile, but so are Snyder and Martin. Both guys also have the ability to play guard and tackle.

            3. Boone was excellent in 2012 but wasn’t as good last year imo. That is just my opinion from watching; not breaking down the stats. He certainly doesn’t make or break the team. Not with Looney and the two Martins sitting there giving them quality depth.

              Truthfully Boone is underpaid, but he’s no different than many other players who are given a long term deal before they’ve earned it and then want more when they’ve outplayed it. He is signed for two more years and he needs to play out this season before expecting to renegotiate. The team would be foolish to open the door to allowing players to renegotiate with multiple years left on a contract.

              I don’t see them doing it for Boone or Davis quite honestly. If neither show up for the start of the season they’ll just move on without them.

    1. Thanks, Mary. I find the part about the de/dt hybrid particularly interesting. Michael Bennett was so important to the Seahawks last season. Tank Carradine could have that kind of an impact for the Niners next season.

      1. Thanks Grant and everybody else. Razor I understand exactly where you’re coming from as I understand where Grant is coming from.

        I think it might have been a bit much when I posted 3 links that were very Seahawk specific. I s/h spread them over a week. Haha. My thinking was and still is that this is the preseason and the OTAs and both teams are putting their Rosters. The 49ers are our biggest rivals & I’m interested in what they are doing and what their coaches might have to say. Hey I’m an equal opportunist and if I can find interesting articles relating to the 49ers, I’ll forward them.

    2. The Big Nickel is exactly why the 49ers drafted Ward. He’ll see a lot of snaps this season.

      Grant, you are right about Carradine. Will be interesting to see how they use him this year.

    1. Why’s that? Lloyd for Osgood is a no brainer, provided the positive reports and chemistry keep trending up….

  7. Re: Injuries

    http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2014/6/12/5804152/offseason-nfl-injuries-2014-sean-lee-jon-beason

    Why are so many NFL players getting hurt this offseason?

    INTERESTING COMMENT BY READER: NFL players are being conditioned beyond the limits of their bodies. A combination of diet, exercise and drugs (legal and otherwise) have increased strength, weight and speed more and more over the years. All of this muscle is being put onto skeletons and ligaments that have not enlarged at the same pace. Bodies are becoming capable of literally tearing themselves apart – Never mind these bodies running into each other at high speed. It’s like putting a racing engine in a normal car – You can make it fit and run but it will corkscrew drive shafts and blow transmissions apart.

      1. Good article Grant. You know I think it was Earl Thomas who had an interview post SB. The interviewer said watching the SB the Seahawks seemed to beat the Broncos so effortlessly and Thomas replied “we practice so hard that when we play a game, it’s actually easier.”

        Well that made me wonder what goes on in these practices. I tried to find articles and such but nata. It seemed a little secretive. I thought I’d sign up for some practice games — there are 11. Couldn’t get in – all booked.

    1. Ha!
      With the kind of money Kaep will be making he could buy California Chrome and have a couple of rants thrown in by Steve Coburn for good measure.

      1. Mary,

        Everyone I know here at the University of Nevada who interacted personally with Kap (faculty, staff, coaches) loved him, but I have heard quite a few stories about his quirky sense of humor.

        I will say this — the Kap we have seen in the media since mid-April is very similar to the Kap we saw for four years here in Reno. We shall see if the surly version shows back up during the season. I think it will bode well for the 49ers if grumpy Kap does not make many appearances this year.

        1. JPN001:

          I thought that pic of Kap was hysterical. Tall, lanky dude with all those tats and that horse head. Funny! I like Kaep and I think he’s going to have a good year. He finally got his raise and now knows the organization is committed to him, his coach believes in him and all that Florida stuff was much ado about nothing, which I thought it would be. And he learned a good lesson about how carefully a guy in his position has to be.

    1. Dan Kelly is a baby. And guess what Mary, if you post nicely on Dan Kelly’s site but you are an opposing fan, he kicks you off immediately. Labels you a troll even if you’ve done nothing wrong. The guy is garbage.

      1. Bay:
        Oh that’s too bad. He seems unbiased and knowledgeable. I know he’s a Seahawk fan, but that’s not why I like him and he certainly gives the 49ers top billing in this article based on RB.

        Can you suggest any other knowledgeable sports writers I can add to my list for balanced reading?

  8. Grant I have to disagree with you regarding Vernon Davis and his importance to the team. He’s thinner, is no longer a ferocious blocker, isn’t a great route runner. When he catches the underneath stuff he doesn’t fight for yardage. He is a fast straight line runner. The get the linebacker mismatch they are looking for and exploit it with him.

    That to me is not worth the headache of redoing his deal. If Ellington is truly a blazer, then put him in the slot and let the man stretch the defense. If he can’t do that, they Baalke whiffed again. Losing Davis hurts, but remember we also have two new toys that can win one on one matchups all over the field. And Lloyd and Johnson can get deep. They are more elusive than Crabtree….

  9. So Vernon’s rationale for wanting a new contract is that he is playing better now than he was 4 years ago. That in itself is debatable, but the problem with that is he is still paid top 3 TE money and is not better than the guys getting more than he is, so he really has no case here.

    Davis sees himself as one of the leaders on this team yet he is not acting like one in this regard. I can’t see any way the team gives in on this. There is no rhyme or reason to re do his contract unless it’s an extension paying him less on the back end. I don’t think that is what Davis is looking for.

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