Five biggest questions 49ers will face in training camp

Click here to read my Monday column.

  1. Grant:

    I enjoyed the column. However, I think you meant to day June 12th instead of July 12th in the following sentence:

    “On July 12 the retired offensive lineman tweeted, “I will play ball.” “

  2. Will Anthony Davis return? – I’m thinking no. My early guesses was his un-retire comments had something to do with a guaranteed money dispute. Now I’m thinking he’s just bat shinola crazy. Its a shame, because he’s very good.

    Buckner’s impact? – As a situational pass rusher, like Armstead last season. Though they played a different position, its the same training path Aldon Smith made. Haralson in base + Smith on passing downs was deadly. Buckner will get more snaps and possibly start.

    Stop the run under O’Neil? – Once Dorsey and Williams return. Reports are Bowman’s looking much better.

    Much will hinge on whether a corner really can play O’Neil’s outside man. If yes, one of the safeties will be closer to the LOS in run support. If not, expect a high 2017 draft pick.

    Can Chip Kelly produce a quality offense? – If Hyde can stay healthy, and Trent Brown’s fit enough. I don’t know about “quality”, but it won’t be an embarrassment.

    Will Kelly bring out the best in Colin Kaepernick? – I really don’t know. I think Colin will have a big comeback, or fade away.

  3. Lindy’s, ProFootball Weekly, or Althon’s has a section entitled, “View from the other sideline”
    and either a prior GM or scout said the 49ers tried to entice defensive free agents but by stating you can pile up the stats because of more chances due to Kelly’s offense. The person also went on to state that more likely an Acl injury will happen.

    Doesn’t sound like a very enticing strategy. But he stated that this is why the 49ers drafted defense, because no defensive F/A wanted to come here due to Kelly’s up-tempo offense.

    1. He is protesting Him Harbaugh’s firing. If Jim Harbaugh was still the 49ers HC, Davis would never “retired”

      1. That’s pretty funny. What’s his end game here, is he gonna keep “protesting” until Harbaugh is rehired or let me guess he’ll come back when Baalke has been fired, right? That’s well thought out. What if Baalke isn’t let go, Davis is going to throw away his career because he didn’t like a management decision? News flash buddy, welcome to the real world. I’d love for anyone to stop showing up to work as “protest” then next time someone they like or admire at work is let go and tell us how that works out for ya.

        When did Davis start assuming that his input had any bearing or weight on what the team does? I bet there were lots of players there were upset about Harbaugh being fired that are still on the team doing their job. The few that did leave, left and have moved on. Why doesn’t Davis do that?

        Here’s Anthony Davis. Immature player that was listening to vets talking about how the team was going down hill and how Harbaugh was going to get fired and how they were going to retire and not be a part of the dumpster fire that was coming. So him being an egotistical immature young guy got caught up and assumed he would be regarded in the same light as these other veterans and his absence would be so felt by the team that they would be compelled to act to get him back. Cut to nearly two years later and nothing he hoped would happen has. So now he realizes that he wasn’t as coveted as he thought he was and he’s also missing out on the limelight that the NFL brought him so he’s constantly reminding everyone that he’s “going to return” so people will keep asking about him and make him feel important. However the one entity that matters, the one that holds his rights, doesn’t really care at this point and he his ego just cant handle it.

        The real bottom line is it doesn’t even matter anymore. There is no chance at this point that Davis could earn a starting job after being away from practice, conditioning and the game for this long. IF he shows back up, I’ll take anyone that wants this bet: Davis will be back out of the league in less then 3 months. After trying to come back and discovering that he’s no longer in any position to compete at the NFL level his ‘concussion’ symptoms will return and he’ll quit again.

        1. CFC,

          That’s quite a story you’ve come up with but nobody knows what is really going on here. Davis throws out some strange tweets at times including ones that talk about Baalke giving him a headache and not wanting to let him go. Seems like a personal beef with Baalke to me. When he initially retired it was because of injuries suffered the season prior and a concussion that seemed to scare him. Now it appears he either really doesn’t want to come back and just wants attention as you pointed out, or he doesn’t want to play for the Niners.

          I really don’t understand this passage you wrote:

          So him being an egotistical immature young guy got caught up and assumed he would be regarded in the same light as these other veterans and his absence would be so felt by the team that they would be compelled to act to get him back. Cut to nearly two years later and nothing he hoped would happen has. So now he realizes that he wasn’t as coveted as he thought he was

          I have no idea where you are going with this. The team obviously missed him badly, both last season and the season prior when the injuries kept him out. He was early into an extension so I don’t think the terms of the contract were a problem, so what is it you believe he wanted that he didn’t get? The Niners obviously covet him enough to hold onto his rights and they have no real option at his position right now, so I don’t get this line of thinking at all.

          I doubt he comes back, but if he did and actually wanted to play, he would win the RT job pretty easily imo. He’d have to get into shape of course, but this team has nobody near his caliber on the roster right now. They are faced with starting a vet who shouldn’t even be in the league, or a second year 7th rounder who can’t stop eating. Davis would be the starter in pretty short order if he showed up for TC.

          1. Personal conjecture Rocket, don’t take this the wrong way but I thought I was obvious about it.

              1. Based upon the events that have transpired and Davis’s maturity level and attitude in general all paint a picture in my mind of a situation as I described it. Sure the team did miss him but have we seen or heard any indication that they are doing everything that can to try and convince him to return or have we seen the opposite? They seem to be operating under the idea that they can get by just fine without him. If they were bluffing I doubt they would be taking the posture they they have towards his return.

              2. What is it they should be doing that they haven’t done? They’ve said he’s welcome back. What else is there? They aren’t going to publically beg the guy to return and everyone can see they don’t have an option as good as he is at RT, so I’m not sure why you think the team is indifferent towards his return if that is what you are saying.

              3. After taking a hiatus, there’s no way of knowing if he would be an upgrade over what they have. Skills diminish quickly on the couch….

              4. If they needed and missed him as badly as you suggest then given how prolific Anthony is about his tweeting we would have heard, something. Something would exist out there, leaks have been not hard to come by with this team so if there was any indication that the team was reaching out and checking in on him we would have heard it and we haven’t. Anyone would have expect that if they were really hoping and hot for his return that they would have stayed in contact and worked harder to maintain a relationship with him.

                They have not only done nothing, when asked about it Baalke went as far to say that it wasn’t even a given that he would be reinstated. Now that’s not the kind of thing you would expect to hear from a team that is eagerly awaiting a players return.

              5. Given the apparent fact that Baalke hasn’t even had a discussion with Kap yet, it seems doubtful that he would have a discussion with AD unless AD instigated it. Having said that, I think the team has done enough. Davis left the team for whatever reason. It’s up to him to restart his reinstatement not the team. His first step needs to be to get those reinstatement papers in. He needs to show that he is serious about getting back in the NFL by pursuing the reinstatement and not by using Twitter.

                Of course, there are many here that don’t want him back under any circumstances. I think it is wishful thinking to expect him to come back and immediately be an upgrade at RT. Having said that if he files I think the team should talk to him and see if the relationship is salvageable.

              6. My question is: what is there to leak? The 49ers have publicly stated they would welcome AD back and AD said he would like to play again. What else is there? It’s up to Davis to file for reinstatement and come back. The team can’t really do anything beyond leaving the door open. The only thing Davis has done with his tweets is antagonize Baalke. It’s obvious he doesn’t like the guy for whatever reason and likely wants out, but Baalke has held onto his rights. There is no doubt the 49ers would welcome him back imo. They don’t have a RT they can rely on at this point

                Baalke has left the door open even after the negative tweets directed both at him and Staley. In fact he said in May that Davis could be given a clean slate with the New Coaching staff.

              7. Kaep is already under contract, what’s to discuss?

                In AD’s case, he left for apparent health reasons. This isn’t a manor of maintaining leverage in a negotiation this is showing general interest in ones health especially when you want them to feel welcomed back. Is there any indication that the team has made any such gestures?

              8. Razor,

                Davis would be a clear upgrade from what they have. He is likely not in football shape and would need to work his ass off, but skill wise he is far superior to anything the Niners have right now. That is why Baalke hasn’t gone off on a tangent about the tweets or closed the door on a return.

              9. “far superior”? After sitting on the couch for over a year? I don’t think so. Maybe he could be after working his tail off, but he doesn’t impress me as a guy who takes pride in that type of work ethic….

              10. Razor,

                Davis is more talented than any RT option the Niners have on their roster and it isn’t close. Yes he would need to work hard and get into shape, but he is far superior to any one else they have. I’m sure there would be some rust, but eventually the talent rises and he has a lot more of it than Pears or Brown.

              11. They’ve got plenty they should discuss in order to patch up the relationship, but it is not required. I would argue that there is nothing for Baalke to discuss with Davis because he is not an NFL player at this point in time nor is he a person seeking to become an NFL player (until he gets those papers in). What’s the problem with him doing that?

                If someone wants a job from me, they have to provide a resume. If they refuse to do it, then nothing happens. They need to take that step; I can’t do it for them and even if I could, I wouldn’t? Same, imho, applies here.

              12. Had talent, not sure what he has now other than mental indigestion. He was good but due to his work ethic, he never was and never will be a Pro Bowl talent….

          2. I try not to say things like: “in my opinion” or “I think this is how it went down.” Simply to avoid redundancy.

  4. There’s still a better chance of a trade than there is of Kap starting. Kap will take less money from a new team now that the 49ers are on the hook to make up the balance of his guarantee, and Baalke will be fine with a bag of cheetos in trade because due to offset language, whatever the new team pays is money the 49ers won’t have to pay.

    Kap’s just not a Chip Kelly qb, and he won’t start over Gabbert. The NFL is not exactly beating down Kap’s door, but keep an eye on the Jets situation. Nessa awaits with open arms.

    I suspect Anthony Davis is probably 50 lbs overweight (maybe he can give them to Kap) and would love to be traded rather than have to run all the time like Chip wants of his OLs. AD is the biggest soft man, or the softest big man, out there and I don’t see him back with the 49ers.

    1. I beg to differ. Kaep himself said that Chip’s system fits perfectly with his skillsets. Chip is Kaeps’ best chance for redeeming himself, and Chip will be hailed as a genius if he can resurrect Kaep’s career.

      AD will surprise you. Instead of big softy, he will be finely attuned athlete with chiseled features. Remember, this guy played in 3 NFCCGs in a row and one SB. He knows what it takes to play in the league.

      I will concede that AD may not be the best fit in a Chip Kelly offense, but he would be far and away the most talented RT they have. There is a reason why he was a first round pick.

  5. That Chip has sailed, and Bam is one of the passengers on board. Bye, bye Bam!

    Uncle Buck wasn’t supposed to be available at seven, but I don’t remember Conklin ever being mocked that high. He’s better than Armstead was coming out, so I feel he has a good chance to start in Justin Smith’s role as the 5 tech.

    With Bowman behind the Twin Towers, the opponents rushing game should not see the light of day.

    Kaepernick and Hyde in this offense seems like a dream come true, but a defensive coordinator like Dom Capers’ worst nightmare….

  6. I think that the Niners, if they want to win, should do everything in their power to get AD back. He will return fully healthy, and I am confident that he is in shape since he wants to play again. If he is sitting on his couch, then all are wasting their time talking about him.

    Baalke should put aside his ego and do it for the good of the team. He should not be giving AD any more headaches. The Niners should let Flaherty be his protector, just like Chip is doing for Kaep.The Niners should be generous financially since they have 53 mill in cap space.

    They should welcome him back with open arms, with assurances that he will be treated fairly, and with respect. If it is too toxic, they should promise him the chance to be traded to a team of his choice if the Niners can get adequate compensation. That way, both parties can move on.

  7. Grant,

    Conklin is far from polished at OT he’s a huge liability in pass protection. Buckner really doesn’t have any flaws in his game and could have been a top 3 pick, couldn’t say the same for Conklin….SF needs BPA not players of need in their current state. Let’s see what brown or one of the rookies has. This isn’t a playoff team….it’s rebuild mode and Rome wasn’t built in a day.

    1. Xavier

      Good post….we’ve got a lot of ‘possibilities’ in our UDFA and second year players group, and we don’t need to be begging AD or anyone else. If it takes an extra year to develop them…so be it….only one team wins the SB each year, and we’re not ready yet. Personally, I want to see Trent Brown flatten some ‘dudes’….

      1. I want to see Trent Brown flatten some ‘dudes’….

        Oregoniner, we agree on something and I’d like one of those ‘dudes’ to be Sherman….

  8. If I was in Vegas, I would push all the Chips in on # 2 to start the season. When last seen, reports have stated Kap had an emaciated look to him and passing was weak enough the 49ers halted his workout regimine. Rumors of a vegan diet did not thrill the F/O either.
    Gabbert received all the OTA reps so it really a money in the bank bet.

  9. I was strongly in favor of AD coming back until he started his twitter campaign of lunatic remarks, now I believe there is no way he will be back. I believe that it might take until the middle of Sept but by then T. Brown will be in shape and the starting RT. I commented during the draft that I thought the 49ers were rebuilding the way winning teams always do….from the inside out. I believe the O line will be greatly improved this year. I believe that when the D line gets healthy they will do at least an avg job stopping the run and will develop into an outstanding pass rush group.
    If CK [with the help of Kelly] can over come his case of the yips this season then step 2 of their rebuilding campaign will receive a huge jump start. If he isn’t able to overcome his mental block then acquiring a QB will be the teams #1 off season goal. Either way next year will be all about skill players both FA’s and draft picks. I believe the team will win 4games if Kap doesn’t improve and as many as 7 if he does. In 2017 it will be a return to the playoffs. imho

    1. Totally agree OC. If you are going to rebuild this team it has to be inside out. Glad that the first picks were defensive line and offensive line. Solidifying these two units will make the team much better. If the D line can put pressure on the QB whether collapsing the pocket or getting hits or sacks it will not matter, the net effect is that the defensive backfield will look better and +/- differential will improve. Additionally the linebackers will be able to concentrate on what they do best, and create havoc. Inversely our QB play will improve with a solid O line and suddenly those 4-6 round WRs may not look so mediocre as plays have a little more time to develop. The key will be to stay healthy.

    2. Agreed OldCoach,
      In regards to AD there are multiple concerns. 1. This is a player that has had a history of being out of shape. 2. Even if healthy, as a player he is bound to be rusty after taking a year off. 3. He will need to learn a new offensive system. 4. His tweets show a player who is a me person at worst or an immature person at best, this is not a great personality to add to a locker room lacking leadership.

      Each of the above items are cause for concern but when coupled with the fact that he has already chosen to forgo the practice reps he could get at camp… I have to wonder if his commitment level is high enough for him to earn a roster spot, in spite of his God given abilities.

  10. I bet the talking heads in Vegas ..
    (the ones who say the Niners will
    lose all 16 games this season) ..are basing
    their prediction … on
    Gabbert as the starting QB …

    If he does, indeed start … then ..it’s probably
    an accurate prediction …

    1. Odd that you’d say that about the guy who came off the bench and had 3 wins instead of the guy who started the season and only got 2…

  11. I don’t know why, perhaps I’m believing the Chip hype or something, but for me the most interesting questions heading into camp and the season revolve around the D. Sure, the QB battle will be a huge storyline this year, and seeing how the OL and receivers shake out (and perform) is of interest, but the key question marks for me are:

    1. Completely agree on the run D angle. Teams will likely try and run against the 49ers to give their D a breather and slow the game down. O’Neil has a bad track record on run D, and has received some strong criticism for his schemes in this regard. Will he learn? Will he change? Can they stop the run and force teams to try and best them through the air?

    2. The strength of the 49ers appears to be their talented DL unit. Azzinaro did a fantastic job with the Eagles DL, can he also get the best out of the 49ers unit and make it one of the strongest in the NFL? If so, that should help the run D.

    3. How will be the 49ers CB battle shake out? And are any of these guys really going to be able to handle the press man duties O’Neil is expected to task them with? It appears the 49ers intend to play a high risk, high reward type of pass D, with creating turnovers a focus. But will it work, or will they give up more big plays than they create?

    4. Where will the pass rush come from, and what sort of looks will they employ? For O’Neil’s D to work it needs to create pressure and force the ball out of the QBs hands quickly. Will they be able to do so?

    5. Will the young guys step up? Lots of youth on the team, especially on D. For the 49ers D to play well will require quite a few of these guys to step and become legitimate NFL talent, rather than just guys with promise.

    1. Good questions Scooter. I’ll add:

      Is our WR group really as bad as it looks? Who will end up starting along side Smith? Will Ellington stay healthy all season? With these QB’s does it even matter who you have at receiver?

    2. Some good questions Scooter. The offense is going to be interesting because Kelly has shown he can have success of some level no matter who he has operating in it. It’s going to be a challenge with this group though because there really aren’t many proven playmakers on this team and the Oline is still a huge concern. I think you’re right about the defensive question marks though. None of the moves seem to have been made in response to the problems stopping the run. They still don’t have much at ILB and other than Buckner who is not going to be a dominant run stopper out of the gate, they didn’t address it at all. I’d say the answer is to scheme run fits and blitzes along with changing the gap assignments at times, but as mentioned, O’Neil’s scheme hasn’t held up very well previously. Add the fact that Williams and Dorsey will likely be on the PUP to start the season and it’s going to be tough to see the run defense improve very much.

  12. Happy Father Day to all fathers and that includes you too Seb.

    1. Your questions of fitness and his ridiculous twitter statements makes me pause and clearly state – his days are numbered. Also Davis is not holding them hostage they will be fine without him – eventually.

    2. Buckner is better then Armstead coming out of college I can see him starting towards the end of the season. However you never know about a rookie he could be huge coming out the gate.

    3. I do believe the run defense will depend upon scheme. Armstead was known for a run stopper at Oregon, I was thinking that scheme is why he did not appear to be able to stop the run last year.

    4. Kelly’s offense is going to be explosive if the run game works. That includes some QB runs sprinkled into the game/season.

    5. Kelly will make both Kaep and Gabbert better statistically not sure if that translates into better QB’s.

    Since I have followed Kelly’s career at Oregon and somewhat at Philly and have a very high admiration for him, I will be disappointed in Kelly if this team does not have a winning record.

    I am really looking forward to the new offensive and defensive look.

    1. UC, Happy Father’s day to you, and all Niner fans who are fathers.

      I may have bought the steaks, cleaned the grill, bought propane and grilled the steaks, but I definitely had a very enjoyable meal with my family. We are so fortunate to be able to live in America, and am looking forward to next season.

      I wish to express sorrow about the Warriors, but was so proud to see Steph Curry showing humilty and class congratulating the Cavs.

      Oh, and a Happy belated Father’s Day to all you cobbers down under.

  13. I think it’s kool…..I only wear levi jeans, work for SAP and the 49ers are my fav sports team……

    Go niners

  14. Being the eternal optimist, I think AD will return, because he is too talented to waste.

    Buckner may give the Niners the pass rush they desperately need. Especially if they can get back to Niner football and get pressure on the QB with only a 4 man rush. If both Armstead and Buckner live up to their potential, they can drive their man back into the pocket, and collapse the pocket while containing the QB.

    ONeil is a huge question mark, and may be the biggest weakness on the coaching staff. Both Dorsey and Williams need to come back strong, or the D line may struggle. Who will line up next to Bow is also a big question mark. My sleeper in this defense is Corey Lemonier. I am hoping that the past coaches did not utilize him properly, so in a new system, he will exceed expectations. He did seem to be good against the run, so he may be a first and second down player. My other sleeper is Garrison Smith. The last Smith did pretty well, so I hope he follows in his footsteps.

    The good thing about all the DBs is that all have 4.3 speed. Technique may be their achilles heel, but all seem to be competent enough to create a fierce competition. TC will sort out who starts.

    Now that Devey is gone, I expect the O line to improve. With Chip Kelly’s system, maybe it would be good to have 2 full sets of O line players, and they could play in rotating basis.

    Kaep is the key. If he does well, the Niners will do well.

    Chip may be hailed as a genius, but he will just say that it was not a hard fix. He will say that he just accentuated his strengths, and hid his weaknesses, and his talents shined.

    Grant says Kaep should run. I expect he will run away with the competition.

    1. My sleeper on offense is DiAndrew White. He may win the return position, and give the Niners another vertical threat. If Torrey is double covered, White could shine.

    2. Seb, I will eat crow if lemonaid does a thing. That cream would have exposed itself and risen to the top by now. Aint gonna happen.

      1. Do you want it fricasseed or boiled in bear grease?

        I really think Lemonier has quickness. He is stout against the run. His main weakness was the pass rush. If they use him for only first or second downs, he may surprise fans.

        I also do not expect he will start, but provide good backup so the defense can stay fresh. He will help contribute to the defense, if they accentuate his strengths and hide his weaknesses.

          1. I just remember him during his Auburn days. He was part of that team that won a championship.

            Maybe he will not make it, but maybe he was not in the right system. Maybe Chip will use him wisely. Mangenius was clueless.

  15. Blaine Gabbert is not decisive and quick read QB at all. He is just as bad as Kap in that regard. Gabbert misses reads all the time, doesnt go thru progressions, and eyes down WRs all the time…just like Kap. Take away his checkdowns and he is completing probably less than 45% of his passes.

  16. I’ve just returned from a week in Ashland at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

    I want to reply to these posters from about a week ago.

    Razoreater:
    Under Eisenhower I don’t think Nixon had any say in the original strategic concept for South East Asia. After Kennedy and Johnson, Nixon added his own twist to the whole mess.

    Brodie2Washington:We enjoyed our family time in Bangkok (1968-69), and our youngest who came along slightly later has been to Thailand to make up for what he missed.

    The people who were there ten years ahead of us, were full of true “good old days” stories. If I went back now, 46 years later, I would also be full of true “good old days” stories. ;-}

    AES & rocket:
    SAC in 54-56 and being a mostly unwitting cover in Bangkok for less than two years amounted to not much more than boring holes in the sky, and writing code that wasn’t needed beyond it’s surface objective.

    In 2016 they make better topics for a bull session, than a book. If there was talent and a book, that might be fun, but I didn’t take notes, I’ve never written anything longer than 500 words, and little of what I have written has been funny.

    Rebelscum:

    Our “46 year old youngest kid with the knee” went up and down Mount Ashland (49 miles in four hours) this week, and only suffered from the cold. It was 36 degrees which caused him to lose feeling in his hands on the way down. He didn’t wear gloves. Poor planning.

    Thank to all for your comments.

    1. Good to have you back! My wife is excited to go to Ashland to watch plays as we have family who just relocated there. It is three something in the morning and I am contemplating why I watch sports and why I care or don’t. Being a life long 49er fan, warrior, and giants fan, I now can say I have watched all three teams win a championship and lose a champion ship. Pain and happiness . Yin and yang. Bottom line, watching the niners lose to the Ravens still the most painful sports memory for me, 49 er’s come first, hope York learns to put a championship team back on the field,I feel he loves money more, funny how the filthy rich always want more. Just like us fans who want to watch and have more championships! Be close to your family members, be positive as you can and hope life lessons don’t kill you. Also wish all of you dads had a happy Father’s Day !

      1. I agree. My worst was the game the 49ers lost to Dallas when Stauback was playing. A close second was the line drive that McCovey hit to end the World Series in 1962.By the way, the “kid” was on a bicycle. I didn’t make that clear. “Paragraphs? We ain’t got no paragraphs. We don’t need no paragraphs. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ paragraphs!”

        1. Roger Stauback was the reason my grandmother liked the Cowboys back then. She was a volunteer at the Naval Academy when Roger was there, and thought he was the bees knees. I have a picture with Roger holding me as a baby and the Navy coach standing beside him. I also have one of those old footballs with the entire Navy team, including Roger’s, autographs….

            1. It is and my grandmother was as sweet as the day is long. After her passing in the ’90’s, I often reflect on the many good memories she provided me growing up….

  17. Blaine Gabbert the “heavy favorite” to start for 49ers

    Posted by Mike Florio on June 8, 2016, 1:58 PM EDT

    Both were drafted in 2011. The guy taken in round two became a star, and the first-rounder a bust. Now, the roles are in the process of reversing.Mike Silver of NFL Media reports that Blaine Gabbert is the “heavy favorite” to become the starting quarterback in San Francisco over Colin Kaepernick.

    It’s not a surprise, for several reasons. First, Gabbert has been available to learn new coach Chip Kelly’s offense; Kaepernick hasn’t. Second, Gabbert

  18. If AD wanted to come back he would have filed his reinstatement paperwork with the NFL already and have gotten in the practice time with Chip’s new system and new teammates. All AD has done is make senseless rants on twitter. Grow up AD, this is a man’s sport – so man up and get in gear or go somewhere else. I disagree with you Grant – the niner’s are not at AD’s mercy, it is the other way around. If AD does not come back, then the niners have to move on and develop the players they have, period.

    In regards to Kaep, why do people keep saying that Chip will revive his career? People – Kaep still his to come up to the line of scrimmage, make pre-snap reads and then read the coverage as a play develops (which are both big weaknesses in his game). The reason Kaep has regressed the past several seasons is simple: Kaep hasn’t developed his ability to read defenses before the snap, look off defenders and progress through his reads during any give play. Kaep does make good plays here and there, and sometimes great plays – but not consistently enough to be a good quarterback.

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    Around the NFL

    Eleven takeaways from Thursday’s minicamps, OTAs

    51

    By Chris Wesseling
    Around the NFL Writer
    Published: June 9, 2016 at 08:51 p.m.
    Updated: June 10, 2016 at 12:28 p.m.

    The San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks took center stage this week, with Blaine Gabbert emerging as the “heavy favorite” to win the starting job despite Colin Kaepernick’s long-awaited return to the practice field.

    Although Kaepernick refused to discuss his fractured relationship with the team’s front office, he stressed Thursday that he has no issues with Chip Kelly’s coaching staff. In fact, Kaepernick believes Kelly’s offensive system is “great for me.”

    Kaepernick insists he has matured since losing his QB1 spot to Gabbert last November.

    “I’m definitely not the same person,” Kaepernick said, via NFL Media’s Steve Wyche. “Being able to grow … I took a big step this offseason.”

    While Gabbert has seemingly gained momentum over the past month, Kelly emphasized the opportunity for Kaepernick to gain ground going forward.

    “We have enough reps,” Kelly said, per the Sacramento Bee. “We get enough reps during the course of training camp and during the course of our training where it’s never been a concern for us in terms of, ‘Geez, we’re not going to get enough looks out there.’ So we have enough reps for everybody.”

    Once Kaepernick fully recovers from three offseason surgeries, San Francisco’s real quarterback competition will commence. The 49ers’ first training camp practice is tentatively scheduled for July 31.

    Here’s what else we learned during Thursday’s minicamps and organized team activities:

    1. If there was one team that could not afford to lose a talented young nucleus player on defense, it was the New Orleans Saints. Second-year defensive end Hau’oli Kikaha will miss the entire 2016 season after suffering a torn ACL. The injury leaves coordinator Dennis Allen short on depth and pass-rushing potential as he attempts to improve the league’s worst defense.

    2. Is Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the No. 38 overall pick in the 2014 draft, falling out of favor in Tampa? The athletic tight end was dismissed from Thursday’s practice because he “didn’t know what he was doing,” coach Dirk Koetter explained.

    Seferian-Jenkins is in danger of losing his starting job after Koetter spent the past few months talking up second-year tight end Cameron Brate. Undrafted out of Harvard, Brate demonstrated a strong rapport with Jameis Winston and better than advertised receiving ability as a rookie.

    3. After years of watching tandem attacks in the backfield, the Broncos might finally have a workhorse feature back. Coach Gary Kubiak believes a streamlined C.J. Anderson is ready to be an every-down back, per NFL Media’s James Palmer. Anderson and DeAngelo Williams were the AFC’s best runners in the second half of the 2015 season.

    4. Former Falcons wide receiver Roddy White said he will end up retiring if he doesn’t catch on with a contender. “I’ll let it go into the season, maybe Week 4 or 5,” White explained. “If it doesn’t happen, I’ll be putting my cleats on a power line, just like Marshawn Lynch.”

    This represents a bit of a Catch-22 for White. From what we’ve seen on game film the past two years, an offense won’t be effective enough to mount a deep playoff run if a declining White is playing a major role in the aerial attack.

    5. Don’t count rookie Derrick Henry out of the Titans’ running back competition just yet. Although DeMarco Murray is penciled in as the lead back, offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie stressed that Tennessee’s backfield will be a “hot hand” situation in 2016. Coach Mike Mularkey also pointed out that the bruising Henry has been very impressive as a pass catcher, belying pre-draft scouting reports.

    6. The Seahawks are coming off one of the most impressive four-year stretches of the 21st century. After hearing from coach Pete Carroll, we have reason to believe the defense will be as dominant as ever. Carroll believes the “Legion of Boom” secondary has even more flexibility this season with the Jeremy Lane and the perennial Pro Bowlers healthy, DeShawn Shead emerging as a strong third cornerback and Brandon Browner returning to match up with bigger receivers and tight ends.

    “This is really as strong as I’ve felt we’ve gone into this portion of the year with versatility, and the competition is really going to be on,” Carroll said. “… It does give us choices, matchup-wise, if it all stays somewhat the same. So that’s a real positive.”

    7. The Seahawks’ Frank Clark has indeed slimmed down to 260 pounds, but he’s not switching positions. Per Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune, Clark will remain a pass rusher at defensive end despite an offseason of speculation that he is moving to linebacker as Bruce Irvin’s replacement.

    8. Hue Jackson continues to be the most relentlessly optimistic coach in the NFL. The new Browns head man raved about Corey Coleman, touting the first-round wideout as a “tremendous player.”

    “He’s going to be really good,” Jackson said. “I ride him pretty hard because he has so much ability, and I want to get it out of him. He’s really shown why we drafted him in the first round. He is a tremendous talent, and if he keeps working like he is and stays as humble, and he has great desire to be a great football player, I think that’s going to happen for him.”

    9. In other rookie news, the Lions appear to be serious about stationing first-round pick Taylor Decker on Matthew Stafford’s blind side. The former Ohio State star was at left tackle all three practices open to the media this offseason, while veteran Riley Reiff switched over to the right side.

    10. Say goodbye to the most polarizing touchdown dance in recent memory. Cam Newton revealed he will ditch the dab in favor of a new celebration this season.

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    51

    By Chris Wesseling
    Around the NFL Writer
    Published: June 9, 2016 at 08:51 p.m.
    Updated: June 10, 2016 at 12:28 p.m.

    The San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks took center stage this week, with Blaine Gabbert emerging as the “heavy favorite” to win the starting job despite Colin Kaepernick’s long-awaited return to the practice field.

    1. I think the author of that projection is either really, really stupid, or just doesn’t follow the 49ers at all and just threw darts at the list of 90. No Bell, Blair, Cooper, Rogers, Robinson, Burbridge, Driskel. The guy is really off.

    2. They also have McCray gone. ST coverage is night and day when McCray’s went out hurt. I think he sticks.

      1. Same here, and I haven’t read anything on the 49ers from ESPN ever since Sando was moved to Seattle, his homer team….

    1. Is he a good prospect? Correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding is that he has gotten little offensive play work at OTAs and minicamp. His work has been primarily on special teams. Is that how you handle a rookie QB that you consider a QB prospect? Or is there some truth that the team will be using “trick” plays on 4th down?

      1. Cubus,

        You are correct. Driskel is a project taken late in the draft and there is little expectation based on how the Coaches have used him early on, but that’s how things tend to go around here sometimes. There is a long list of players who were very popular based on name or workout numbers, even preseason performance, and then the inevitable disbelief and disgust when that player was released. Driskel is likely headed for the PS unless he plays really well in preseason.

    2. While I agree the ESPN projections are crap, he doesn’t write that the Niners would give away Driskel; rather, that Driskel would be on the practice squad. Which is likely, given that Thad Lewis has starting experience in the NFL and Driskel has a lot of work going forward.

      1. Attempting to hide Driskel on the practice squad would be extremely risky, and if Chip hand picked him, I don’t think he’d be agreeable to that….

        1. Always some risk trying to stash a guy on the PS, but its not too risky unless he shows something in preseason.

          1. Sure, they can attempt to hide him but if B J Daniels can get picked off the practice squad, I have a hard time believing Driskel wouldn’t be. Every team still has their scouting report on him, and when a team attempts to hide a player during preseason, not only is it obvious but it begs the question, why are they trying to hide him? I’d really hate to see Arians or Carroll get their paws on him….

            1. Daniels got picked up back in the day when teams actually looked at 49ers offcasts as being worth picking up.

              If Driskel can’t beat out Lewis, why would any team want to add him to their 53?

              1. I was referencing the Titans poaching him from the Seahawks.

                If Driskel can’t beat out Lewis, why would any team want to add him to their 53?

                6′-4″ 235 pounds 4.5 forty yard dash, 5 star recruit, the fact that he was heaving lasers deep downfield and eluding tacklers like a running back at LaTech. Scouts were drooling over him at the Senior Bowl. If you look at his game against Miss St, he was very productive. Florida was handed an A+ talent and coached him to a C- result. Who was his coach at LaTech? Tony Petersen, the former Marshall quarterback, who now holds the offensive coordinator position for Scottie Montgomery’s East Carolina staff. I’ve got a feeling that Driskel’s mentally has been toughened up by his collegiate experience, and under Kelly’s tutelage, has a great chance to realize his potential. Hide him if you can, but I don’t think that’s Kelly’s plan….

              2. Scooter, you could ask the same question about Brady and Wilson. Does it really matter where he’s drafted?

              3. What his rating was coming out of HS is irrelevant Razor. He did not play well at Florida and while he played better at LT, he didn’t put up the numbers the guy he followed did, and that guy isn’t in the league. In other words, putting up numbers at LT is far less indicative of where he is as a player than struggling in the SEC is.

                Nobody is drooling over this kid. If they were he wouldn’t have fallen into the late 6th round. He has physical traits that Coaches like and he has a pretty good arm, but that describes about 50 other QB’s who come out of College every year.

              4. Rocket – you’re better than that…lol

                “The conversation I’ve heard a lot of GMs talk about is who’s the next Kurt Cousins?” said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock. “Who’s the middle round guy that you’re going to get in the third, fourth, fifth round that after two or three years can lead your team to the playoffs. There’s more of those guys this year than most years and Driskel is one of them.”

                “I like Driskel,” an AFC scouting director told National Football Post. “He can still use more polish, but he’s got a big arm and can move and seems very coachable. I could see him being drafted higher than most people think. He helped himself a lot this week.”

                What his rating was coming out of HS is irrelevant Razor.

                Sure, that’s why every coach in the country wants to land a 5 star recruit, especially at the quarterback position. Not only that, but it’s a highest ranking you can get, plus it’s an honor to receive it. Next, comes the pressure with being one and what’s expected. And lastly, it’s not an accidental rating. It’s reflective of the players skill level relative to his peers. Here is a list and notice where Driskel is among an impressive group of players – http://247sports.com/Season/2011-Football/RecruitRankings?InstitutionGroup=highschool

              5. “Scooter, you could ask the same question about Brady and Wilson. Does it really matter where he’s drafted?”

                Of course it does, when it comes to whether another team would pick him up if he was released prior to ever making a 53-man roster. If teams thought so much of him, why was he available in the 6th round?

                There is no doubt that teams were wrong on Brady, and also Wilson. And a host of other players. But they all thought at one point these guys weren’t great prospects. And if the guy can’t win a spot onto the 53-man roster of one of the worst rosters in the NFL, why would they all of a sudden change their minds?

                He might be picked up by another team if he doesn’t make the 49ers 53, but only if he shows something in preseason games to make teams reconsider their opinion of him prior to the draft. And lets face it, if he does that then it is unlikely the 49ers will risk losing him to the PS. If, however, he shows he still has a lot of development to do before he is a functional NFL QB, can’t see too many teams changing their pre-draft evaluation and chomping at the bit to sign him to their 53-man rosters.

              6. Scooter, the draft is a real time, high pressure, high stakes game that can be influenced by any number of scenarios, real and imagined. To suggest he was only available in the 6th round because he wasn’t thought of highly, doesn’t take into account the context or tell the whole story….

              7. Razor, that is a truly weak argument. Are you honestly suggesting the only reason Driskel was taken in the 6th round is because teams panicked and forgot to take him?

                I think the far, far more likely scenario is that Driskel simply wasn’t rated that highly, and with teams were following their boards it turned out he was available in the 6th round.

                What we do know is there were 13 QBs taken ahead of Driskel. 13. He was the 14th QB taken. By comparison, there were only 7 QBs taken in 2015, 11 in 2012 and 2013, and 12 in 2011. Being the 14th QB taken puts him on equal footing with Garrett Gilbert, the 14th (and last) QB drafted in 2014 (also a 6th rounder, and now currently a FA).

                What does all this mean? It means there were an inordinate number of QBs taken in the draft this year, with nearly half the teams in the NFL investing a draft pick in the position, 13 of which rated another guy ahead of Driskel. With so many QBs being added to rosters, and Driskel so far down the pecking order, it seems unlikely there will be a huge market for his services unless he really shows something in preseason.

              8. “Scooter, the draft is a real time, high pressure, high stakes game that can be influenced by any number of scenarios, real and imagined.”

                So what you’re essentially implying is that there might be a GM out there who would give Driskel another look if given a second chance. He might have been a sixth rounder or higher selection on their board, but for one reason or another that GM went with a different selection.

                Even if you are right, I would think those same GMs would wonder why he was released or put on the PS by the 49ers. I think that question would carry a fair amount of weight when it comes to deciding if they want to snatch up Driskel.

              9. Fair enough Scooter, but I’ll leave you with this question. If you had your choice, Driskel or Jones? One more thing, how many quarterbacks with legit NFL tools, last until round 6?

              10. Cubus, Mayock had Driskel in that 3rd, 4th, 5th round group of quarterbacks as well as working some NFL scouts….

              11. As in Cardale Jones? Easy – Jones.

                You may not recall, but I was quite vocal about not being a fan of Driskel prior to the draft. I’m always very hesitant about guys that struggled until they went down a grade in competition. If he struggled at Florida, it makes you really question whether he’ll be a better player against the much tougher NFL teams he’ll face.

                The only things that make me think he might be a better NFL player than college players are (a) injuries were part of the reason he struggled at Florida (though he wasn’t playing particularly well prior to his injuries) and (b) Kelly’s offense may be a better fit for him than Florida’s. But he is still a huge question mark, and there will no doubt be a lot of teams that ask the same question – can he handle tougher competition?

              12. Razor,

                You and I have a very different view of what drooling over a player means. That is not drooling. That is an unnamed team rep making a generic comment you can hear about any number of prospects.

                As to player rating coming out of HS, that doesn’t mean any more than NFL draft ratings. College HC’s recruit 100’s of players and some work out while others don’t. It has no bearing on NFL draft status. Driskel had a disappointing College career and no NFL team cares how good he was In HS, which is why he was a late 6th round pick.
                Seriously Razor, all we have to do is look at where the kid was picked to see how the NFL views him. He’s not the apple of some team’s eye waiting to be poached. Any team could have drafted him multiple times over. He’s a developmental player who’s got some physical skills, but needs a lot of work.

              13. Oh no Scooter, I didn’t forget. I just wanted to get you on record picking Jones, who played for a great coach at Ohio State and Driskel, while at Florida played poorly for a not so great coach, Muschamp. Further, I would point out that Skip Holtz stated that Jeff Driskel was a scapegoat at Florida. Quote, “It really became a negative situation, which is unfortunate because he’s such a great Christian young man with such great values who is a leader.” I would also remind you with respect to competition, that Driskel played very well against Miss St.

              14. Get me on record? Why, are you winding up to throw it back in my face some time down the track? If it makes you feel better, I’ve been wrong on plenty of players, and don’t expect that to change in the future.

              15. First off the article’s title is not reflective of the content and what else is Kelly going to say? “Well this guy’s big and athletic but he fell to the 6th round because he wasn’t very good in College.” Of course not. That article made a case for him making the team as a ST’s player more than it did as a QB.

                He is a project. He’s an athletic kid that the Coaches feel they can work with. That’s it. That’s what his draft spot says and the way they’ve used him in the offseason program. My guess is he plays little in preseason and they put him on the PS.

              16. Scooter, I like you too much to throw it in your face but I hope you don’t mind me poking a little fun at you along with a playful elbow to the side….

              17. Rocket, no one said Driskel didn’t need polishing but he does have a great polisher to shine him up in Chip Kelly….

              18. All good. If you want to poke fun at my stupid predictions feel free to mention things like:

                – Arik Armstead was a terrible pick.
                – Ryan Shazier is a great athlete but only an average football player.
                – Kelvin Benjamin will be rubbish.
                – AJ Jenkins would have been a good 3rd round pick and will be a decent starting WR in time.
                – Dominique Easley is a better DT prospect than Aaron Donald.

                :-)

              19. Scooter, your predictions aren’t stupid. They are made with a scout’s eye and I know your list of misses pales in comparison to your hits….

              20. Cheers… although those were some pretty big misses! And there has been plenty of others.

              21. Scooter, I’d trust you to make the picks but I swear, if you took a guy like Cardale Jones in the 4th round, my eyebrow would raise just like Mr. Spock’s….

              22. I wouldn’t have taken Jones in the 4th round. I wasn’t a fan of either he or Driskel. But I’d have taken Jones ahead of Driskel. FWIW, Matt Waldman had Jones #1, though I strongly disagree with him on that. But in terms of athletic talent for the position, Jones has it all.

                I really wasn’t a huge fan of the QBs in this draft. But a lot of them got drafted, so I guess the NFL disagrees with me.

              23. You were close Scooter. Waldman had Jones ranked 2nd. Goff was first. Either way I too would have taken Jones over Driskel without hesitation. Not that I think Jones is going to be great, but because I don’t think Driskel has much of a future. I’d love to be wrong on that opinion though.

            2. Razor,

              He was a late 6th round pick. If some teams really wanted him they could have had him. If some team becomes desperate enough to sign him off the PS, then so be it. BJ Daniels is a great example of what to expect from a pick that late anyway.

              1. BJ Daniels is a great example of what to expect from a pick that late anyway.

                I’m sorry, but that’s laughable to compare their respective collegiate careers. Daniels was a 2 star recruit….

              2. I wasn’t talking about their HS rating or their College careers. I’m pointing out the type of career a QB taken late in the draft usually has. The chances Driskel even makes it onto a roster long term are slim never mind becoming a starting QB at some point.

              3. Rocket,

                But I thought you said that GM’s make their money by being good at hitting late round picks.

              4. Ex,

                They do. It’s hard to find late round picks that turn into something, so the GM’s that have shown they can find those guys once in awhile are paid pretty well.

              5. You cannot be seriously comparing the upside of a B J Daniels to that of a Jeff Driskel. No comparison….

              6. I’m not comparing them Razor. I’m saying QB’s picked late in the draft tend to have a career like Daniels has had or don’t make it at all.

              7. Ok Rocket, but I don’t know too many quarterbacks with the upside of Driskel, lasting until the 6th round. B J Daniels is not one of those few….

              8. There are a ton of guys with upside that are out of work Razor. Upside is a nice term for haven’t shown anything yet.

              9. I have no idea how he fits into this conversation, but Russell was a good College QB and had one of the best pro days anyone has ever had according to Mayock. He was a bust because he lacked motivation after getting the monster contract, and preferred drinking cough syrup to working out.

              10. There are a ton of guys with upside that are out of work Razor. Upside is a nice term for haven’t shown anything yet.

                My point was, that part of that tonnage comes from the top as well as the bottom….

              11. The difference is unlike Driskel, Russell did show something special in his College play and pro day. Enough to be taken number one overall in fact. Driskel by contrast had to transfer and then put up good numbers but fewer numbers than the guy he replaced. He is starting from square one; Russell came in with great expectations and simply didn’t care enough to work at it.

              12. Sure Rocket, that must be why Bruglar and Rang both agreed that Driskel had tremendous leadership and might be the most intriguing of the day three passing prospects in this year’s draft class….

              13. That really isn’t high praise Razor. He’s a talented kid, but it takes more than that to play in this league. Maybe Chip will turn him into something, I’d love to see it, but the odds are against it.

        2. Depends if he shows he can beat out Lewis in training camp. So far, reports seem to indicate he’s still quite raw and not there yet.

          1. I think there is s real danger to get too hung up on the metrics here guys. Driskel is a raw talent whose NFL production is largely unknown.

            Lewis’ production is known and I don’t think too many teams have been impressed.

            Going on draft position would mean that we shouldn’t keep or shouldn’t value late round picks but just because they are not too 100 picks does not mean they cannot become functional or even good NFL players. I know the counter argument about the numbers being against the players, but that’s why you evaluate the players in the first place. You don’t simply pigeon hole them based on draft position and what you think they did the year prior. So many factors go into a successful professional career (talent, work ethic, chemistry, right system fit, mental acuity, strength of character, temperance, maturity, ability to learn, coachability, health, luck, timing, etc.) that it makes it impossible to accurately predict who will be successful and who will not. Some kids who you think will succeed implode, while others who you expect to fall apart rise to the occasion. This is why sometimes perception of success shapes the places of players in the draft, but not their ability. Keen managers know to distinguish between the two. Whether Driskel is the a success or anther player in the constant turnstile that is the NFL remains to be seen. I do believe the team drafted him with more than the practice squad in mind though.

            1. EC,

              Try thinking about as if you are Chip Kelly. A HC isn’t thinking about anything but the coming season and which players give him the best chance to win. He doesn’t care where the player was drafted or if he was drafted, just that the player can contribute on game day and during the week.

              Driskel was taken at a position where the team isn’t counting on him for anything but being a developmental player. That’s who gets picked in the last couple of rounds are players who have shown some ability but have a lot of things to work on that may or may not pan out over time. If you are Kelly and you are focused on winning games now, which QB are you going to trust more to run your offense if injuries hit: Lewis or Driskel? Keep in mind 1 has experience and has actually played in the league while the other was a late round pick who needs a ton of work.

              As fans we get caught up in young players who are talented that we feel should be kept for their potential, but you never have enough roster space to keep potential. You need contributors and guys who can play now in some capacity. That is why developmental players usually wind up on the PS. There are exceptions of course, but as we’ve seen with most of our young WR’s, the PS is usually the first step in eventually making the roster. Obviously all bets are off if Driskel comes out and looks great during the preseason and they are forced to put him on the 53 to avoid losing him, but the chances of that are slim to none based on Driskel’s uneven College play and the fact that they don’t seem to be giving him many snaps to begin with. That is actually a pretty large indicator of how they view him right now imo. He’s taken very few snaps and has actually been working more on ST’s than at QB from what we’ve read. That is during the time of year when they have the time to give a young QB reps and yet he didn’t get much of any, especially once Kap came back.

              Keep in mind that any team that picks Driskel up in the event he is released has to keep him on their active roster in which case they will be faced with the same problem the Niners have in regards to keeping the best 53. It’s extremely unlikely he would be claimed, but even if he was it’s not a huge loss considering he’s a project and there are many just like him who come out every year.

              1. Rocket

                You make fine points and yet your very first point seems to undermine your entire premise. You select players to help your team win regardless of draft position. Draft position indicates perceived value cut not actual capacity for contribution (Boone, Bowman, Honey Badger and others are examples of this). Granted that Driskel has not shown the talent of say these players but the team did draft Robinson earlier with a smaller resume and lots more questions. We can get hung up on the lottery system for sure, and I may be as guilty of it, but I do not see Lewis bringing more upside than perhaps a Driskel (a caveat – I’m obviously not in the locker room or wit the team or have any prescience on internal team affairs), but the team seems unusually high on this young man who they are pumping up, why would they do that if they are going to cut him and resign? Better to keep him under the radar. My thinking is that Lewis gets the axe, that’s all.

                Difference of opinion. We’ll have to wait and see.

                Hopefully the team will be the better for it and we the fans will be the happy recipients of this work.

              2. EC,

                Not sure what you are referring to that undermines my premise. All I’m saying is that Chip Kelly won’t care who was drafted where when he’s looking at these guys play. That means that players taken in this past draft will not be given preference simply because they were the latest ones to be drafted and vets won’t be able to coast to a spot either.

                I’m not talking about upside in regards to Driskel. I’m talking about how ready he is to contribute when the season starts in Sept. Every player drafted has upside. I could be wrong obviously, but I doubt he’s ready to play at any point next season, at least well enough to give the team any chance of winning. If you are Kelly and know that, then why are you going to keep him on the active roster? Wouldn’t it make more sense to keep Lewis who you know can play if needed and put the developmental guy on the PS? Or go with more depth at another position while keeping 2 QB’s? It would be different if Driskel were a no doubt QB prospect who they were grooming to take over one day, but he’s not, and they certainly aren’t counting on that with where they selected him. They took a flyer on a big athletic kid who they hope they can develop. That’s about it right now.

                I have seen nothing to indicate the team is unusually high on him either. They’ve said the usual things Coaches say about rookies while also giving him few snaps at QB. I don’t see how that can be interpreted as being high on a player anymore than Coaches are about all their young players at this time of year.

                I think what has happened here is that we can all see the possibility that the long term QB is not on this team or at least not in the guise of BG or Kap, and so the next step is identifying a successor. You have to be realistic about players and their futures and understand that the team shows you clearly how they feel about players by where they draft them and how they are ultimately used. Getting drafted late and then being given little opportunity to play QB in the OTA’s is a pretty clear indication that the Niners don’t have big plans for this kid right now.

  20. The point you guys are completely missing is that why in the world would you keep Thad Lewis over Driskel????? Thad Lewis was picked off the scrap heap when NO ONE wanted him but Chip.. He is a camp arm. If you are relying on Lewis to get in the game,the season is toast. Driskel is no way will be put on the practice squad. Frankly the reports right now mean nothing. Wait until training camp to start sighting reports.

      1. Lewis, yeah, he has stood out. He is a camp arm, nothing more. Driskel is a project and they are working on keeping him on the 53 and having him actively contribute – I think that is great! Maybe it is off-season misdirection, but in either case I do not believe that he will be cut.

        It would be like cutting Burbridge or Taylor. These are real prospects the team picked up looking for value in the later rounds. I doubt they give up on any of them so rapidly unless they fail utterly miserably.

        And all I hear from these guys (at least Driskel and Burbridge) is praise. No way they give up on them. Just don’t see it. Their upside is too good.

        1. EC,

          The problem is there are only 53 spots on the roster, and most are filled before TC camp even starts. There are no guarantees for making the team, but the lower the pick, the less likely that guy is of making the team unless he stands out in TC and preseason. Burbridge has an uphill battle of making this roster as does Driskel because the numbers are not in their favor. Driskel won’t be ready to play this year and Burbridge is among a large group of similar young WR prospects. They are both more likely to wind up on the PS. Taylor has a good shot at making it if he plays well because the depth chart is pretty thin at RB.

          1. Rocket,

            All good points though I would argue you don’t simply punt with your picks if you can avoid it. You try to gain maximum value and that means giving them a real opportunity to make the team. I think there are other players who have hung around who have contributed little to the team and while they have experience, that experience is of the lowest rung. One need not look much further back than last year’s record for evidence of that. Granted some of that is coaching, but you know what they say about insanity…

            1. EC,

              They will be given every opportunity to make the team, but again how many openings are there for these guys? In Burbidge’s case, he is competing with holdovers from last year and a FA. We know Smith and Ellington are pretty much guaranteed two spots and Patton is likely going to make it due to a lack of experience at the position overall and his value on ST’s. So if they keep 5 WR’s it’s going to be tough for Burbridge to make it. If they keep 6 the odds are better but still 50-50 at best. Competing for possibly two or three spots on the roster are: Jerome Simpson, Smelter who was a 4th round pick last year, DeAndrew White who was on the active roster for a good part of the season, Dres Anderson who has impressed in OTA’s and Mini camp, Eric Rogers who was given a pretty decent SB and DiAndre Campbell who also showed flashes in OTA’s according to Grant and the other writers. Cajuste is also a guy who could be in the mix if he’s healthy.

              That’s a lot of bodies for very few spots. It’s not that we have a lot of great options, but most of them are similar in talent so it’s tough to gauge who will win out at this point. I think once you get to prospects taken in the final 3 rounds, it’s really a toss up because the talent is so close at that point even going into UDFA territory.

              1. Agree that there is a glut of WRs vying for spots and am not sure how many the team will carry. I think one or two will end up on injured and that will open up some spots which seems to happen every year. Ellington staying healthy would be a real plus but I don’t count on it anymore.

                I just think these late picks will be a pleasant surprise. Hope springs eternal at this point though, right?

        2. East, you hear only praise because that is the Bill Walsh legacy. He said that it does no good to say anything bad about a player, so he would be unstintingly positive in front of the media. In the locker room, it may have been a different story.

          I remember one story when Bill gave a player a heads up about some criticism, then in front of the team, he ripped him up and down. The player realized that Bill was just doing his job, and did not take it personally. It made a huge impression on the rest of the team, however, and everyone worked harder so they would not get similar treatment.

          There is a time and place for praise, and a time and place for criticism.

              1. That remains to be seen…CK has not been a tremendously positive force on this team going back last year. Perhaps it will change, but can he hold a clipboard and be happy after being “the man”? We will have to wait and see.

  21. RAW,

    Lewis is a vet who’s played in the NFL. Driskel is a late round pick who hasn’t taken more than a handful of offseason snaps. I’ve got news for you, the season would be lost if Driskel took over too. Hell it might be over with Kap or Gabbert but I digress. There is way too much love and expectation here for a late round pick who had a disappointing College career.

  22. Driskell would probably need to be lights out in TC and show great promise in preseason to push out Lewis.

    I don’t see this happening because the QB focus in TC will be on Gabbert and Kaep likely through preseason.

    If Driskell received any play time in the recent OA’s and mini camp it had to more to do with CK being unable to go full tilt.

    But having said that, I hope that Driskell gets enough touches in TC to make a statement.

    1. I think Lewis is the stronger candidate to be waiting by the phone for Chip to call if needed. I think he’s a camp arm that could shorten the other quarterbacks learning curve with the offense….

      1. Razor,

        Are you saying Driskell makes the 53, or that he ends up on the PS and the 49ers go with two QB’s on the 53?

        Unless Driskell does something remarkable in preseason, I’m thinking it will be the latter.

          1. Razor,
            As long time 49er fans haven’t we all been enamored by a rookie almost every year at this time?

            Ken Dorsey
            And of course who could forget Ricky Ray?
            Nate Davis
            BJ Daniels
            Dylan Thompson
            All have one thing in common; they were hopefuls that became TC darlings and emotionally adopted by fans wanting to find the next winning 49er QB.

            We have a 1st rd, and early 2nd rd QB’s in Gabbert and CK. Let’s first see what they can do in the Kelly system before we look elsewhere.
            But again, I would like to see Driskel gets some snaps in TC and especially in preseason because I must admit, I’m a sucker for the rookie QB myself ; )

            1. Dude, not one of those players you listed had the NFL tools or upside of Driskel. Not one of them was a 5 star recruit, and before you knock the star rating system like Scooter and Rocket, remember every coach in college country wants 5 star recruits, especially at quarterback….

              1. Razor, all those Florida QBs that were 5 star rated have gone on to stellar careers in the NFL.

                Just look at Tebow…..Uh wait a minute…. Never mind…..

              2. Hmm, that article labeled Driskel as a bust……

                Actually, I liked Jones and Braxton Miller in this last draft. If not Hogan, Jacoby Brisett was another QB with good potential.

                The only QB I did not like was Connor Cook.

              3. Razor,
                I’ll give you that, but a closer look at Ken Dorsey will reveal a national championship and a college record of 38-2. Not bad for a 7th rd pick. What was Driskel’ college win/loss record?
                He received honorable mention in his conference.

                Btw, Dorsey was a Heisman finalist two times.
                Looking back, yep, Dorsey didn’t have the NFL tools to make a name for himself – but can you guarantee that Driskel does? (dude)

  23. From PFT:

    49ers re-signed RB Kendall Gaskins.
    The 49ers waived Gaskins in May, but may have not loved what they saw from Mike Davis and rookie Kelvin Taylor at OTAs/minicamp. 25-year-old Gaskins managed 38 yards on 16 carries last season. He shouldn’t make the final 53.

    Not sure what to make of this.

  24. Gaskins is a big body, but kinda slow. He could take or fake the handoff in the Zone Read. Maybe he could get those 2 tough yards. Still, he may absorb a lot of hits that Hyde does not need to take, so he can help keep Hyde healthy. He also is familiar with the team, and since Hayne retired, he can fill his vacancy.

  25. Lewis has started games, and has been coached by Chip before. Obviously, Chip likes him.

    We should pump the brakes on Driskel. He was a dud with an all star cast, but shined against lesser competition. The only way he makes the team is if he can show that he can play ST. I was wondering if they might convert him to TE like Blake Bell, but maybe they should trade away a TE so they have a spot for him.

    1. Seb, you never liked him, you never trusted him. For all you know he had Kevin Hogan set up and had your friend Sun Tzu killed. But that’s history. Driskel’s here, Lewis won’t be. Do you wanna go on with Driskel, you say it. You don’t, then you make a move to the practice squad…;>)

      1. LOL, Razor I don’t know if anyone else picked up on the Tony Montana line, but I got a good chuckle out of it, haha.

  26. Vernon Davis on the Broncos (from PFT):

    “One thing about Denver this past year is that every single day everybody was walking through that locker room saying we [are] going to that [championship],” Davis said. “You could feel the energy and it was there and no matter how many mistakes someone would make, we just kept playing and staying in and playing together. The bond was tight and it was just a great atmosphere.”

    Let’s hope the niners can have that attitude ASAP.

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2016/06/20/vernon-davis-attended-white-house-trip-skipped-ring-ceremony/

    1. Hmm, wasn’t VD the one who bad mouthed the starting QB in front of the team? Sounds like he was a real ‘team’ player.

      VD did nothing, and got a ring. They cut him and his attitude loose after the season.

  27. Well, Baalke loves to lock up players under Rookie contracts, so maybe Driskel is a lock, but I think Thad may hit less screens. Chip may be the determinator. ;p

    1. Grant, I can’t believe you haven’t deleted this nasty trap “link” yet. Time to wake up and get to work Junior!

      1. I’m definitely not going to click on it, especially since I’m at work. But what past evidence do we have that it wasn’t hacked? You gotta give him the benefit of the doubt. Of course you can make up your own mind.

  28. Being the off season, I hope Kaep and Gabbert work together with the WRs informally. They should be working on timing and anticipation.

    I would like to acknowledge B2W, and his advice to practice plays over and over so they can do them in their sleep, and have both the thrower and pass catcher work on chemistry together.

    Kaep and Gabbert should be working on releasing the ball earlier and earlier, so eventually they can throw before the WR makes his break.

    I hope they can work together, and use with as many WRs as possible. If they work separately with different WRs, they will not be familiar with the other WRs when they get to TC. Thad and Driskel should pair up and do the same thing, with the lower tier WRs.

  29. Maiocco lists the cap space going into TC. Niners lead with $49.5M. Browns are second with $7M less. Looks like FO is setting for big moves for next season, or will they spend a chunk of it resigning some of the current ones? Any candidates for potentially having their contracts extended before season opener?

    1. I wonder how close the 49ers are to a “use it or lose it” scenario. It could be as simple as frontloading a few existing contracts, extending Reid or signing a key free 2017 agent.

      Key factors for the $49.5 seems to be
      – Few key players retained from the 2011 draft.
      – No one to extend from the 2012 draft.
      – Wait-n-see situation with key 2013 rookies Reid, McDonald, Carradine, Patton
      – Aldon Smith’s unexpected departure. This alone would count for alot of the cap space.
      – Willis, AD and other retirements.
      – Other teams wildly overpaying for 2016 free agents the 49ers were also targeting.
      – Free agents simply not wanting to play in San Francisco until things stabilize.
      – Baalke’s misjudging Delaney Walker’s value
      – Letting Mike Iupati walk
      – Ian Williams leg condition caused his longer contract to be nixed.

      1. I think their plan might be to lock up their own and target a couple 2017 F/A’s that could help where 2016 player assessment dictates. Also, if a trade becomes available and that player carries a high price tag, they’ll have the cap space to make the deal….

        1. If the rumours are true about the 49ers struggling to lure defensive FAs this year due to concerns about Kelly’s offense, I wonder if the pattern we’ll see moving forward is a focus on offensive FAs, and draft defense?

          1. You think it was the offense, or maybe they viewed this years crop of F/A’s as overpriced for their skills. Could be next year’s price tags might be more commensurate with the talent.

            I think that’s sound reasoning, Scooter, however if a player like Von Miller becomes available, I would expect them to pounce like a lion….

            1. Some FA’s get overpaid and some don’t, but prices are never coming down. Each year the price just gets higher. I’m not sure how FA’s view the Niners at this point but doing relatively nothing in FA was not a good luck for this team in any way shape or form.

            2. Jason Hurley in this article posted today on NN lists the projected 2017 salary cap at $166 million. That would seem to foreshadow another year of sky-high FA compensation. The 49ers would have even more cap space, but I’m just not convinced that Baalke and team can adjust adequately to the new norms for FA salaries. But they’ll have to do something at some point to meet the 89% cash spending requirement for the 2017-2020 period.

              http://www.ninersnation.com/2016/6/21/11991996/49ers-cap-space-and-cash-spending-looking-ahead-to-2017

        2. Honest question with no sarcasm Razor: who do you see worthy of being locked up long term and how many if any big contracts do you see them having to give out?

          1. Not razor, but at this juncture I can see Lynch and Hyde (if he stays healthy this year) being given a big contract extension, possibly Reid, and possibly Ward (though they might wait another year as they have the 5th year option). Smokeys could be Ellington and D. Johnson/ Acker if they have big years. I guess same applies for Gabbert in the off chance he plays well, as well as Tank, McDonald, Patton, etc (really scraping the barrel now).

            Other than that, I’m not seeing much that is likely to garner ‘big’ money from the 49ers next offseason.

            1. Not Scooter…lol, but I agree with his assessments. If Ward is shut down material, I could see them trying to lock him up early. Unless he’s greedy, then he’d be exercised for certain….

              1. Agree with the aforementioned assessment and I am not a Scooter nor a consumer of Razors but I did stay at a Holiday Inn…

              2. Using Occam’s Razor, Baalke is too cheap to lock up anyone yet. He will wait until at least the 6th game before deciding to lock anyone down.

                I think the Niners had a close shave, and almost lost Kaep.

                The team is on a blades’ edge between staying the same and improving.

                I will scoot now.

              3. “He will wait until at least the 6th game before deciding to lock anyone down.”

                I may be wrong here, but I believe the 49ers can’t extend the 2014 draft class until the end of the season anyway. He can extend guys from the 2013 draft class mid-season, but it really probably is best to wait and see what they produce over the first half of the season before considering it anyway, as that draft class is still mostly a whole lot of question marks.

              4. I may be wrong, but I thought that Denver locked in Derek Wolf before midseason, last year. That is where I got the 6 game mark.

              5. Yeah, that’s right. Wolfe was drafted in 2012, so last year was his 4th season in the NFL. As such he was eligible for a new contract. This year the 2013 draft class is eligible for new contracts. The 2014 draft class won’t be eligible until the end of the season.

                Capiche?

              6. Hmm, I never mentioned the year that they would be eligible…..

                Maybe I should have been more specific and said- anyone eligible.

              7. “Using Occam’s Razor, Baalke is too cheap to lock up anyone yet.”

                By saying “yet”, this sentence makes it clear you were referring to now, and this season. But whatever.

          2. I don’t see anybody they will need to give a large contract too unless Lynch blows up this year. That is why I didn’t get the lack of urgency in FA this off season. They have no potential superstars in the pipeline they need to extend at this point, and are sitting on 50 mill in cap room. Reminds me of the Bucs the past few years. If it was due to FA’s not wanting to come here then they have to pay more to entice them.

            1. All Lynch has to do is play lime he did last season and he’ll be in line for a big contract. But I guess it depends on what you mean by large contract. He’s unlikely to get what Von Miller can demand unless he starts translating pressures into sacks. But he’ll still get paid big.

              Same with Hyde if he stays healthy. Reid will be able to get a pretty big contract somewhere too, so long as he doesn’t regress like he did the first half of last season again.

              1. I’m talking about guys who will get paid at the upper end of their position. None of these guys fall into that category unless they have monster seasons. There are no upper tier players on this team that have to be paid huge deals is what I’m saying.

              2. If Miller sits out this year, Baalke can give him a helicopter ride and sign him to big bucks. Miller/Lynch would be very formidable behind The Twin Towers….

              3. Yeah, again, depends on what you mean rocket. If you are asking who will command the highest contract for their position, then sure, nobody. But top 5? Top 10? Lynch could get that kind of money if he has another good year. And when healthy Hyde has shown a lot of ability too – if he stays healthy this season and has a good year (doesn’t need to be a monster year) he could command big dollars too.

              4. Lynch as I said previously is the one guy who could warrant a decent sized contract if he takes the next step and hits double digits in sacks. Pass rushers get paid and even an average one will get some good money, but if he finishes with 5-6 sacks for the third year in a row, I don’t see top ten money going his way.

                I disagree with you on Hyde. He has to have a huge year to warrant a big money contract and even then RB’s aren’t commanding that much compared to other positions anyway. He has less than 200 carries in two seasons and has averaged 4.1 yards a carry.

                The point I was getting at is that the Niners are sitting here with the most cap money to spend and could wind up with a lot more after the season, and really don’t have many of their own to give it too.

              5. ‘Lynch as I said previously is the one guy who could warrant a decent sized contract if he takes the next step and hits double digits in sacks.’

                Pernell McPhee proves otherwise. All Lynch needs to do to get a big contract is continue to be very disruptive. He was one of the league leaders in pressures last season. He doesn’t need to take another step to get paid. If he does take another step it will probably be the difference between getting a contract around the bottom of the top 10 for the position and getting a contract somewhere in the top 5.

                ‘I disagree with you on Hyde. He has to have a huge year to warrant a big money contract and even then RB’s aren’t commanding that much compared to other positions anyway.’

                I agree to get a huge contract he needs to have a huge year, but that is based on the position more than his place among the top RBs. Your previous comment was based on value in respect to the position they play however (‘I’m talking about guys who will get paid at the upper end of their position’), though I understand that really wasn’t the thrust of your argument. It is highly unlikely he will get a huge contract based on being a RB. But in terms of RB contracts, I think if he has a good (without needing to be great) season, e.g., over 1,000 yards, over 4ypc, 6-10 TDs, and some decent receiving numbers thrown in, he will be in line for a pretty big payday as far as RB contracts go.

              6. Scooter,

                I agree Pass rushers get paid. I don’t think Lynch is worth top ten money based on what I saw last year, but somebody will pay him for that kind of production. That really wasn’t the just of the point though. The Niners have a ton of money and nobody to spend it on except for 3-4 good but not great players. There is no monster deal they are facing unless Lynch really breaks out this season with a higher number of sacks. We don’t agree on Hyde. He has nothing on the resume to warrant top twenty money at his position never mind top ten. He needs a big year staying healthy and averaging a higher YPC and even then they will likely let him play out his deal to see if he can stay healthy two years in a row unless he agrees to a team friendly deal.

                Bottom line is they will have a ton of money to spend, but will need to spend it mainly on outside FA’s if they actually plan on using it because there are few of their own to sign.

              7. “Bottom line is they will have a ton of money to spend, but will need to spend it mainly on outside FA’s if they actually plan on using it because there are few of their own to sign.”

                Yeah, I should have said that I wasn’t debating that. I was simply replying to your original question to razor as to who the 49ers might pay. I was actually trying to back up your argument by showing there aren’t many guys, and even those guys aren’t going to get close to taking up the entire budget.

      2. Those points pretty much cover the reasons. Also some players did not reach the milestones for triggering performance bonuses.

    1. Famous GM, Gil Brandt, architect of the1970’s Dallas Cowboy’s SuperBowl teams called Driskel a mid round talent.

  30. The point of the Jeff Driskel articles above, is the 49ers finally have a head man who has a clue about QB’s and their psychological outlook that effects them.

    Baalke knew none of this. Most on this site would agree that Kap was always a project and that Harbaugh installed the read option and paired the 49er offense down for his comfort level, eventually leading to building a solid NFL QB. However, with Harbaugh fired and Baalke in charge, we saw an array of 4-6th round Guards and OT’s fail, not to mention the inept list of (choose your favorite bust) WR’s and TE’s…Lets give Kelly some time to develop driskel as he learns on the bench–w/o the pressure as Bill Walsh did with Montana and Young.

    1. TomD

      It’s a good idea to make the question ‘either / or’ because every coach ‘Chip” has faced at both Oregon or Philly has had him figured out…chuckle, chuckle…one of those erstwhile geniuses was none other than our last genius, Jim Harbaugh. His record as an NFL coach is 26- 21 after taking over a 4-12 team, and operating without a QB to fit his system. His college record is off the chart….and all because of those coaches who “had him figured out”

      Man, I can’t wait for tjhis season to start….

  31. I wonder if any team inquired about trading for Gabbert or if Baalke put the word out that he was unavailable or he wanted a 2nd Rounder for him….

  32. Gabbert would be a big upgrade over Sanchez, who threw a pick on his second pass during these past OTAs. Lynch is already relegated to the third string, so they may want a QB who can both run and pass.

    Denver, since they faltered in their attempt to get Kaep, may settle for Gabbert, since both Kaep and Gabbert have similar skillsets.

    Denver has to contend against KC, who improved with a good draft, and the Raiders, who probably had the best offseason if you consider Free Agency along with the draft.

    Gabbert would give them an established veteran who is not a butt fumbler. A second round pick would be a steal, considering how much Goff and Wentz cost.

    1. CFC,
      Nice story regarding CK’s time and efforts for Camp Taylor.

      I find it somewhat hypocritical that the Org did not get behind the effort this year.

      No 49ers cheerleaders and teammates giving their support as in the past is a cold and harsh realization of how much credibility is lost when you lose your starting QB position.

      Good to see Kaep keeping his Camp Taylor vision alive as well as receiving support from the community that still holds him in high regard.

      1. i keep screwing up the timing of this, but i was just wondering if anyone else had any thoughts on my previous post:

        “what i was referring to was my earlier post “I believe that the reason he was so sullen with the press previously, was due to that phony “rape” story that came out. He was crucified in the press for at least 3 months before it was finally revealed that he was not even there at the time of that (apparently mentally impaired) women’s episode.

        As far as I know, nobody from the press ever apologized to him or loudly proclaimed his innocence. No wonder he was jaded.

        This really angered me at the time and still does. On the other hand, the guy’s never bought me a drink, so what do I care? But, you know what I mean, even though I don’t know him personally, I hate to see a guy get raked over the coals for nothing.

        What is your take on this, Grant?”

  33. NFC West Q&A: Which quarterback gives the 49ers a better chance to win?
    With Kaepernick on the field for nine games last season, the 49ers averaged 37.9 real seconds per play, compared to the Eagles’ 30.4, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Without Kaepernick, the Niners averaged 34.2 real seconds per play.
    Nick Wagoner, Los Angeles Rams reporter: The Rams played against both QBs in 2015. They won by three touchdowns when Kaepernick was at the helm and lost by a field goal when Gabbert was the man. Gabbert threw for 354 yards in that season-ending victory, though of course, success against the Rams doesn’t equal long-term production as a starter against the entire league. There seems to be a faction of people who believe Chip Kelly can right the Kaepernick ship, and there’s little doubt that he is an intriguing fit in Kelly’s offense. But I think it has been underrated how Gabbert could fit in that offense too. He’s a pretty good athlete in his own right, and he proved to be a more accurate passer last season. Learning a sixth offensive scheme won’t make Gabbert’s life any easier, and the 49ers probably still need to find a long-term solution, but for now, Gabbert seems like the better bet to give San Francisco a chance in 2016.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/san-francisco-49ers/post/_/id/17816/nfc-west-qa-which-quarterback-gives-the-49ers-a-better-chance-to-win

  34. Before the start of last season it seemed like an impossibility Blaine Gabbert would end up starting games for the 49ers.

    But after eight strange months, Gabbert entering training camp is the favorite to start for San Francisco in 2016.

    After the 49ers moved on from Jim Harbaugh, Kaepernick sought out Kurt Warner and QB guru Dennis Gile to help improve his fundamentals with offseason work in Arizona. But it didn’t pay off.
    Kaepernick wound up having the worst eight-game stretch of his career before getting benched for Gabbert.

    With Kaepernick on injured reserve in November, Gabbert went on to have the most steady eight-game run of his career.

  35. TomD

    June 23, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Trade hypothetical: Von Miller to 49ers for Colin Kaepernick, draft picks would be interesting

    By David Fucillo  @davidfucillo on Jun 21, 2016, 3:54p 91

    The most notable player facing contract problems right now is Denver Broncos pass rusher Von Miller.

    The 49ers will hope for big things from Eli Harold and/or Tank Carradine, but if you could stick Von Miller in that pass rush opposite Aaron Lynch? Oh boy, that would be something else.

    Above Source:

    http://www.ninersnation.com/2016/6/21/11994232/trade-hypothetical-von-miller-to-49ers-for-colin-kaepernick-draft-picks-would-be-interesting

  36. Here are all of Matthew Berry’s Smith/Kelly facts:

    •76. During the Chip Kelly era (2013-15), the Philadelphia Eagles ranked third in average yards per catch (12.13).
    •76a. Chip Kelly is now the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers
    •77. Since entering the NFL in 2011, 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith ranks third in yards per catch (17.29).
    •78. Since 2011, no player has averaged more yards per catch AND scored more touchdowns than Smith.
    •79. Smith has converted 70.8 percent of his career red zone catches into touchdowns.
    •80. DeSean Jackson (2013), Jeremy Maclin (2014) and Jordan Matthews (2015) each had one season as the top target in Chip Kelly’s offense.
    •80a. In 2013, Jackson set career highs in targets, receptions, yards and tied his career high in touchdowns.
    •80b. In 2014, Maclin set career highs in targets, receptions (to that point in his career), yards and tied his career high in touchdowns.
    •80c. In 2015, Matthews set career highs in targets, receptions, yards and tied his career high in touchdowns.
    •81. If Torrey Smith sets career highs this season in receptions, yards and ties for his
    career high in touchdowns, he’ll have at least 66 receptions for 1,129 yards and 11 touchdowns, which last season would have made him the ninth-best WR in fantasy, just one point worse than A.J. Green.
    •82. In a five-year NFL career, Smith has never missed a game.
    •83. He is currently ranked outside of the top 40 at wide receiver; he’s often going lower than that in early drafts.

    By David Fucillo  @davidfucillo on Jun 21, 2016, 10:12a

  37. I’m surprised that Garnett hasn’t signed his rookie deal. What if he had been hurt during the recent minicamp? Didn’t Bosa miss OTAs and minicamps because he hasn’t signed his contract with the Chargers?

    1. He would have signed an injury protection waiver before joining activities. Like what Dante Fowler did last year (who hadn’t signed his contract prior to joining camp and injuring himself).

      1. Thanks, Scooter. Do you know roughly how that works? For example, the waiver would just refer to the current rookie deal with regards to how injuries are handled?

        1. I’m not exactly clear on the details, but my understanding is that is guarantees the player will be compensated commensurate with their draft status if they are injured participating in team activities before signing a contract. Its really there more for if a player suffers a career ending injury during this period.

          How the commensurate compensation is exactly worked out I don’t know, though with the new CBA I imagine it is a lot simpler than it used to be!

          1. I should also say that the exact language and details of the injury protection waiver needs to be worked out between the two parties (team and player), though I am sure there is pretty standard language used. For example, Dante Fowler’s waiver guaranteed the Jaguars would negotiate in ‘good faith’ if he was injured.

    2. Garnett and three or four others who haven’t signed are in a range where they feel the need to negotiate the terms of an early release. This year all of those players are represented by the same agent. I’m sure Garnett thought he was covered for injury, or he wouldn’t have participated for those few days that he was allowed to be there.

  38. Garnett is intelligent. He went to Stanford. Baalke cannot lowball him, and plead poverty, when the Niners have 49.5 mil in cap space.

    Obviously, Baalke is trying to pay him as a second round pick since he was the second player the Niners selected. However, he was selected in the first round, so he should be paid like a first round pick.

    Hope the Niners come up a bit, and Garnett lowers his number, so the off season will not have the possibility of a holdout, which is the last thing the Niners need right now.

    1. C’mon Seb, I think everybody knows by now the new CBA prevents the 49ers from trying any such tactic. Salaries for draft picks are slotted. The hold up is around guarantees, language, etc, not the dollar amount.

      This is a non-issue. No contract needs to be in place until the start of training camp. Neither side needs to rush things at this point.

      1. “This is a non-issue”.

        So what advantage does Bosa gain by holding out and not participating in mini-camp? Is it just to make a statement and let the team know that he and his agent are serious about the issues holding up the signing?

        1. Yep, that is the most likely reason, and the one being stated from Bosa’s camp.

          The fact Garnett was willing to sign the injury protection waiver to join the offseason program is a pretty good indication there aren’t any major contract issues being experienced at this juncture, or at least none were foreseen at that time from Garnett’s camp.

      2. Scooter, when I saw the word- Holdout, I automatically thought of dollar amounts.

        Now that I read more, I see it is about years eligible before being able to get an early release, or renegotiate.

        Yep, it is no big deal. I agree, both sides have plenty of time before TC.

        1. Yeah, I think it is more about offsets for guaranteed money if released early. I don’t believe any rookie contracts include an option for early release at the player’s discretion, while any team is always allowed to release a player at their own discretion (though are liable for whatever monies have been guaranteed under the contract signed).

          Basically, the reason Bosa is holding out is he (his agents) don’t want any offsets included in the contract, which means if the Chargers released him they would be fully liable for all remaining guaranteed monies, even if another team signed him. This is basically double dipping for the player, as they get the money from the original team as well as the money from the new team. Pretty cheeky if you ask me.

          The Chargers want to include an offset, so if they release him they are only liable for the difference between what they owed him as per his original contract and what any team picking him up pays him. Obviously this is not the preferred option for the player as they don’t get to double dip. But personally I think this is the fairer option for both sides.

  39. Will Chip Kelly fix the offensive malaise? Does he need better players, or will the existing players suffice?

    I think the Niner offense will improve, because it could not get worse. Chip Kelly has a new system, but I hope he does not try to just implement his old system in, because other teams have had time to study it, and devise ways to counter it. Chip needs to have a constantly changing system so the other team cannot figure out what he is trying to do. It needs to be totally unpredictable, and he should make them have to protect the length and breadth of the field. No more running into the teeth of the defense.

    Chip should be thinking 2 plays ahead, so he is setting up the defense, and could actually invite the blitz so he can target the position the blitzer left. If they try to stack the box and dare them to pass, Chip should spread them wide with 4 receiver sets and attack the edges. If the defense puts a spy on the QB, Chip should make that player useless by using the QB as a decoy.

    I am more optimistic, because if Cleveland could win a championship, anything is possible.

    I have good vibes about Flaherty. Since he has assembled Super Bowl quality O lines, I think he can do the same thing in San Francisco. If he can fix the O line, he will make the running game and passing attack stronger. Imagine, Kaep will not have a pass rusher in his face before he can get his feet set. Imagine, the QB will not be sacked an average of 4 times per game. I do not know how they will prevent Hyde from getting injured, but at least the RBs may average more than 2 yards per carry. A decent O line will get enough push so the Niners are not confronted with third and long all the time.

    I am even more optimistic about the QB situation. Chip must be pinching himself, because finally, he not only has a mobile QB, he has 3. Kaep was on target 13 out of 14 throws, so maybe he has improved his accuracy now that he is healthy. If Kaep can redeem himself, the Niners could actually avoid a losing season.

    Still, it is a daunting task. Both Seattle and the Cards are playoff teams, and the Rams might actually have a QB who can throw the ball. The Niners have to play the Pats and Panthers, and travel to the East Coast for early games. Still, I think they will win more games than last year.

    1. CHIP ECSTATIC OVER GABBERT’S QUICK READ ABILITY an RUNNING MOBILITY FOR HIS OFFENSE!!!

      On what strikes him about what he is asked to do this season with new offense:

      It’s quarterback friendly. The balls in our hand, they ask us to distribute it, make the reads. That’s all you can ask playing quarterback. You wanna have the ball in your hands and be responsible for it. And that’s what Coach Kelly entrusts in us, and we have to go out and perform.

      http://www.ninersnation.com/2016/5/18/11700338/blaine-gabbert-qb-competition-colin-kaepernick-chip-kelly-offensive-tempo

  40. Colin the Loner–This is not a team player:

    On QB room, practice and any potential awkwardness with Colin Kaepernick:

    It has been normal. His focus right now is rehab,

    my focus right now is learning offense, being in the weight room, being with the guys on the football field. But no, it’s been great. We’re in the meetings together, we’re in the locker rooms together, and we’re out there working to get better together.

  41. Joe Montana Comments on Colin Kaepernick’s Relationship with 49ers Teammates
    By Scott Polacek , Featured Columnist May 11, 2016

    Joe Montana was the quarterback during the golden age for the San Francisco 49ers, and he recently discussed the concerns surrounding his old franchise and current signal-caller Colin Kaepernick with Sports Illustrated.

    (The quarterback) is usually the leader of the team in most cases. And people look to (Kaepernick) at this point, and he’s a quiet person. You know, he doesn’t share a lot, he doesn’t talk to a lot of the guys. And that’s difficult for an offense to operate because the communication between the quarterback and the receiver is one of the most important things.

  42. When a Hall of famer, Pro wide receiver, and All Pro (potential Hall of Fame WR) all discredit Kapp;s leadership ability, fans, somethings wrong–Gabbert will win the QB competition, hands down….TomD

    Mike Crabtree takes a shot at Kap’s leadership:

    Crabtree doesn’t want to take shots at any of his former teammates but sometimes he can’t help it.” And shots indeed were sort of fired:

    “I needed new scenery. It wasn’t for me,” Crabtree said. “I needed a quarterback that can deliver the ball, and that was hungry like I was.”

    http://www.ninersnation.com/2015/9/12/9317935/michael-crabtree-throws-shade-at-colin-kaepernick-49ers

  43. Grant was correct, League has figured out Kelly:

    His biggest problem, however, is his methods are exposed at this level. Tempo might wear out a bad defense, but the good ones are ready. After that, what does Kelly really have to offer? His offense, in terms of scheme, didn’t appear to be all that innovative after all, often reduced to running 15 or 20 plays a game.

    It’s about how fundamentally flawed his coaching philosophies were. It’s about the juxtaposition of Kelly against not just Pederson, but essentially any other coach in the NFL.

    It’s about how unimaginative Kelly’s offense truly was. It’s about how fundamentally flawed his coaching philosophies were. It’s about the juxtaposition of Kelly against not just Pederson, but essentially any other coach in the NFL.

    Not one player went so far as to say Pederson’s approach is actually better. They didn’t have to. After a while, it became clear Kelly ignores far too many conventions of pro football to ever experience sustained success in this league — if that much wasn’t obvious already.

    Yes, Kelly has a second life with the San Francisco 49ers, but honestly, how long will that last?

    http://www.csnphilly.com/the700level/new-eagles-regime-highlights-problems-chip-kellys-methods

  44. IF JOHN YORK LOVES 49ERS—FIRE JED.

    To say the 49ers were dogs Sunday is to insult all local canines. They quit in Cleveland .

    He’s (John York) the one who hatched the hideous idea of moving the San Francisco 49ers to a plot of sweetheart land 42 miles south in Santa Clara, where the franchise has been cursed ever since, ha ha, hoo hoo.

    But if York really and truly loves the Niners, he should stop professing how much he loves the Niners and take a dramatic step in proving how much he loves the Niners.

    That being, the removal of his son as CEO.

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/if-john-york-loves-49ers-hell-fire-jed/

    1. Jed York might be the most loathed owner in American sports right now. That’s some accomplishment considering three other NFL owners, including Mark Davis in Oakland, are alienating fan bases by lobbying to move their teams to Los Angeles, while the likes of James Dolan, Daniel Snyder, Jeffrey Loria and the Philadelphia 76ers’ goof lurk back East. By now, it should be repugnantly obvious that Jed has allowed his football product to rot away while gleefully doubling his franchise value — now fifth-highest in the league, at $2.7 billion — and bringing Super Bowl 50 to Levi’s Stadium. The cardinal sin of the sports industry is to open a sparkling palace, ask customers to pay exorbitant prices and drive longer distances, then produce awful entertainment on the field.

    1. MWNiner

      Boy..Howdy….you flat stroked that one MWN…

      If nothing else pops up, how about some background on some of our UDFA’s ? Some of them are going to play some major parts in the rebuilding of our Niners….

  45. I feel like I’m in an episode of the twilight zone. I go away for about a week and Grant has disappeared and TomD has taken over the blog, quick somebody wake me up from this nightmare!!!!

    1. There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of TomD’s brain, and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of copy and paste. It is an area which we call … The Dimwit Zone!

      1. Razor,
        U funny. Did Grant leave any kind of date that he might be back? Seems like he could drop us a crumb from the road

        1. Razor.. OC …

          My first clue that Grant was gone when I noticed
          he hasn’t deleted his pr0n link …

          H-mmm … wonder where he’s off to ?

          (Is he on his honeymoon.. or sumptin’ ?)

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