The good and not so good from the 49ers’ third OTA of 2016

SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out to me during the 49ers’ third and final open OTA of the offseason.

THE GOOD

1. QB Blaine Gabbert. Completed 19 of 26 pass attempts (73 percent) during 3-on-3s, 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s. Gabbert’s favorite receiver by far was slot receiver Bruce Ellington, who caught three of Gabbert’s passes and dropped two. Don’t be shocked if Ellington becomes one of the Niners’ leading receivers next season. He already seems to have better chemistry with Gabbert than any other receiver including Torrey Smith.

2. OLB Eli Harold. Blew past second-team left tackle John Theus to tag-sack backup quarterback Thad Lewis on third-and-goal from the 8-yard line during a red-zone drill. Harold clearly is the 49ers’ most explosive pass-rusher. We’ll see how strong he really is when he puts on pads.

3. DE Arik Armstead. Pushed first-team right tackle Erik Pears all they way back into Gabbert’s lap on third-and-goal from the 5-yard line. Armstead is by far the most powerful pass-rusher on the team, much more powerful than DeForest Buckner. But Buckner is just as difficult to block because he has a full repertoire of pass-rush moves.

4. CB Jimmie Ward. Dove to break up a pass intended for Quinton Patton who was running an out route – the route that gave Ward problems the first two week of OTAs.

5. CB Rashard Robinson. Played both left and right corner for the No. 2 defense and gave up no catches for the second practice in a row. Quarterbacks never tested him. Throughout OTAs, I’ve seen Robinson give up just one catch, and that was to Aaron Burbridge on a short curl route. Burbridge had to wrestle the ball away from Robinson to catch it.

6. CB Keith Reaser. The backup slot corner behind starter Chris Davis. Intercepted a pass that bounced off of DeAndrew White’s facemask.

7. OT Fahn Cooper. The backup right tackle behind starter Erik Pears. Cooper gave up no pressure that I could tell. He held his ground against Ronald Blair, Kaleb Ramsey and Garrison Smith.

8. WR Aaron Burbridge. The backup flanker behind starter Torrey Smith, and the only receiver who beat Tramaine Brock. Burbridge beat him with a slant over the middle. No one on the 49ers fights harder for catches than Burbridge.

9. WR Bryce Treggs. The third-string slot receiver behind Bruce Ellington and DeAndrew White, and the only player who scored a touchdown today. Treggs beat backup safety Jered Bell to the back-left corner of the end zone during a red-zone drill, and Jeff Driskel hit Treggs in stride for an easy score.

10. WR Devon Cajuste. Returned to practice after spraining his ankle two weeks ago and seemed to move well, although he dropped his only target of the day.

THE NOT SO GOOD

1. CB Dontae Johnson. Seemed to injure his left knee during 11-on-11s. Johnson laid on the ground for at least a minute and a half before he hopped off the field unable to put weight on his injured leg.

2. CB Chris Davis. The starting slot corner for the second practice in a row. Davis seemed to get trampled during a run play up the middle, and had to leave practice after that play.

3. WR DeAndre Smelter. Rode a stationary bike during team drills.

4. G Brandon Thomas. Participated in individual drills but not team drills. With Thomas out, Andrew Tiller was the starting right guard and Alex Balducci was the second- and third-team right guard.

5. WR Quinton Patton. Finally caught his first pass in front of the media – a three-yard gain on a crossing route. NaVorro Bowman seemed to catch the ball as well, but the coaching staff gave Patton credit for the catch. The rest of practice, Patton received three more targets and failed to catch all three. Each time, he let a defender step in front of him and slap the ball away to the ground. Patton does not fight to make contested catches. Burbridge is better than Patton right now.

  1. Grant,

    Really enjoying your work this past year. You have moved your writing to another level of excellence.

    1. How Grant has a job is beyond me… Constantly states incorrect facts and blatantly attacks players in articles. His writing is and has always been horrendous. The Cohn family is the bottom of the barrel in Bay Area sports writing. That’s why Grant works for the SRPD.

      1. That’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater isn’t it?
        Grant does a very good job in some areas and needs some improvement in others. However, he is a relatively young reporter who cares about his craft, so I expect the best is yet to come. While I disagree with a lot of what he says I appreciate the fact that he is very interactive on these boards and is willing to argue his points. He is a big reason why this is one of the most active niner boards around.

      1. I agree. I was not a fan of your work a few years ago but you have grown on me. Your articles usually contain a different perspective than some of the other writers and it’s refreshing. Keep it up.

    2. I wanted to say that as well. I hadn’t check this site for a while now, but just came back and read some of the last few articles and really enjoyed them. The “good and not so-good” ones are a really good staple of the off-season workouts, the piece about the coaching staff techniques was also a really good read, same with the “under-the-radar” article. Keep up the good work Grant.

  2. Nice to hear Harold doesn’t seem to have lost very much speed. Even if the increased lbs increase umph only a little, mass+speed=power would mark an improvement.

    1. Brodie,
      I expect a big jump from him this year. The only issue with the excess muscle I would expect would be in terms of change of direction ability. With that said, I think most coaches would happily sacrifice a bit in coverage for an increase in his pass rushing skills.

  3. Wow 10 “Good” and only 3 “Bad” (which 2 were injuries), I guess it was a solid practice.

    Great to hear about Eli and Arik. Rashard might surprise a lot of people this year, who knows.

    Solid work Grant.

    How did Rogers look by the way.

  4. Sure hope dontae johnson is ok, had high hopes for him.really liked the burbridge pick,always liked patton but dont know if he makes the cut this year.Grant how have the tackels looked besides staley?sure hope pears is cut this year hes terrible.also ehos looked better to you Grant Hodges or wilhoite?How has Smelter looked?

    1. I really think we need to start talking about Trent B. job. He has done a poor job.And we need a lot of help to get the back up players that we can grow in to starters but he is not any good picking up draft picks or signing FA. He needs to start putting better players on the field or he should go. Kap is a long way from being a starter. And I think he don’t see just how bad he plays. He don’t no how to read a D-fence and holds the ball if his first read is not open. And that is not what a good QB does.

  5. Another informative practice report Grant!

    I sense you’re warming up to Robinson. The kid seems to have a high ceiling when it comes to man coverage, doesn’t he? Let’s hope he keeps himself out of trouble.

    Maiocco substantiated your assessment of Patton’s day: “It was a rough day for 49ers receiver QUINTON PATTON, who had multiple catchable passes glance off his hands during 7-on-7 and team drills.” I’m over #11 – Quinton Patton, at this point, and I think most of his struggles boil down to immaturity. I really can’t see him winning a roster spot this season.

    I’m not sure there is a more pivotal player on this years defense than ELI HAROLD. I like what I am hearing about him this offseason!

    1. Its too bad about Patton. He was a good “up and coming” type guy that I could really pull for and hold out hope that when he finally got a chance he would shine. But it doesn’t sound like he’s going to get over that hump.

      1. I was rooting for him, too………..until I remembered he is a Balky offensive skill position pick. Forgetaboutit.

  6. Thanks for the information on the OTAs Grant, though everything that occurs during needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

  7. I am concerned Patton doesn’t seem to put in the time or effort to improve in terms of his craft that strikes me as a significant disadvantage.

  8. How long before Patton starts moving down the pecking order?

    Grant, if we assume Patton doesn’t make the roster, who do you think would be the most likely to take his STs roles?

      1. Neither White or Treggs strike me as potential gunners/ STs coverage guys. Burbridge might though. Could also look at the DBs for that role. McCray and Cromartie?

  9. Robinson sure sounds like he has impressed so far.

    Any news on Acker, Grant? Which unit is he playing with, and which side of the D? Thanks.

    1. He played left corner with the 2nd-stringers today. Hasn’t been tested much, which is a good thing.

      1. Thanks Grant. Sounds like the outside CBs have generally been winning their matchups. Could the QBs be part of the reason? Gabbert isn’t really known to test the CBs, are Lewis and Driskel perhaps looking elsewhere to quickly too?

          1. I think that’s definitely part of it. This is probably the best CB group the 49ers have had for a couple of years, so the mediocre WRs are getting shown up.

            And that is not to suggest the CB group is great. Just better than the WRs and therefore may be made to look better than they are. In the past couple of years it was the other way around, so the WRs looked better than they were at this time of year.

            1. We like talking about this stuff but like you or someone mentioned below it will be good to see guys in pads and against another team. We’ve had mediocre WR talent for a long time. We’re all desperate for any one of these guys to break out. I wonder if Chip’s offense can work with below average WR’s?

              1. With Bolding and Crabtree both gone we could be really exposed. That’s won’t help either BG throwing to RB’s or short of the sticks or CK’s issues.

              2. Exactly, so that is why they should re sign Boldin. They have tons of cap space and he would provide veteran leadership. Still think he has enough left in the tank for another season, if utilized wisely.

              3. Willy it’s a new era at the skilled positions. Out with the old, in with a new breed to develop. Remember “rebuild” after analyzing every guy.

              4. I don’t miss those guys, my issue is that TB has always bargain basement shopped for WR’s: Edwards, Moore, S Johnson, Hastings, Moss, Simpson and on and on. Now we have an unproven group of UDFA’s and mid to low round picks. He broke the bank on T Smith. He hasn’t really proven to be a #1. If we’re into TC and these guys can’t separate from our DB’s we’re in trouble.

    2. Guess I’m falling down on my high paying job as a 49er fan. I thought Robinson was injured and wouldn’t be able to practice for some time. Sounds like he’s a full go. Which CB was drafted with a knee problem? Was that kid out of Ms State?

  10. I asked Modkins about Draughn:

    ME: Last year in Detroit, you had a running back in Theo Riddick who caught 80 passes. RB Shaun Draughn in about seven games with Gabbert caught about 30 passes. Are they similar? What are you seeing from Shaun Draughn so far?

    MODKINS: “They’re similar. Yeah, they’re similar.”

    ME: What does Shaun Draughn do well?

    MODKINS: “Shaun’s a pro, one. He’s a pro. He’s a professional football player. The way he handles his business is the first thing that jumps out at you. But on the field, Shaun can do everything good. So, he gives you some versatility. He gives you the ability to create matchup problems and things like that. So, they’re very similar players. I’m excited about it.”

  11. I asked Staley about Balducci:

    ME: Alex Balducci played defensive line in college. How is he doing on the offensive line?

    STALEY: He’s doing really well. I mean, I would never have known that he came from D-line. I actually didn’t know that he had until a week after he was here. Offensive line and defensive line are so different in terms of footwork. Offensive line is such a technical position, and he had a lot of that stuff down Day 1. That’s a testament to his hard work and the coaching he’s had before the draft and since he’s got here. It has been encouraging. He’s picking it up. He’s playing center too. He’s picking up the stuff. Learning the playbook, learning the calls. And that’s pretty taxing mentally as far a position that you’re coming in and learning and you’ve never played it. So, excited about him.

    1. Most optimistic comment this preseason. Love seeing a guy trade positions and ride it for all he’s worth. Competent O line could make this year something exciting.

    2. Nice, You elicited good insights into Balducci, and since he is snapping the ball, I wonder if Marcus Martin is on the trade block, or will he become a backup guard.

  12. Don’t be shocked if Ellington becomes one of the Niners’ leading receivers next season. He already seems to have better chemistry with Gabbert than any other receiver including Torrey Smith.
    ————-
    Is that because Ellington generally runs shorter routes?

    1. Not really. They’re all running short routes. Tons of shallow crossers just like last season in Philly.

  13. …and the only receiver who beat Tramaine Brock.
    —————-
    I’m pretty sure that says more about our receivers then it does Brock.

    1. Coffee this part of OTA’s is all about learning and installation. I highly doubt or see a need for pass plays belong 15 yards.
      Sure Gabbert is the check down king but at this stage of this offense does it matter?

    2. Agreed.
      T. Smith would be very good if he was a complimentary piece but he is not reliable enough to be a number one, and the others have not shown the ability to beat man coverage. Don’t be shocked if our O has a lot of fast three and outs.
      This is why I am scared our D will get worn down early. Not because of the speed at which the offense operates, but because I don’t expect it to produce much with its current talent level.

  14. Overall a good practice, not too many bads you pointed out so it seems like they are getting better each week. Couple of Questions:

    1.Why is Smelter riding Stationary bike? Is he not completely healed?

    2. How did Vance Mac do today?

    1. Vance got one target and dropped it. In his defense, he had to dive for the pass because it was low and in front of him. Good effort, bad pass.

  15. Thank’s for the interview with Modkins and all your hard work Grant. Now I can use the player evaluations in case Seb tries another rugby player endorsement (a sport in which passing is illegal. I can see why Hayne would lose out to the pass catcher, Shaun Draughn).

    1. TrollD, Shaun Draughn was cut by 7 teams, so he is not a pro bowler.

      Hayne in his first game, let a tackler get in his face, then made such a deft move, he did not only make the tackler miss, he made him fall down. Not many players can do that, and if Hayne had not retired, he may have done well in the league. You, obsessing about a retired player, is pathetic. I have moved on, but think that in the future, there will be more rugby players converting to football. It will continue with players in the collegiate ranks, so they will get at least 3 years of learning.

  16. Grant, I’ve really enjoyed your writing since OTA’s started happening. Previously, it was all snarky stuff about Jed and Trent and what complete idiots they are. I know it must be difficult to write about the 49ers when there is no football actually happening.

    Now that there is football going on it’s most interesting to read your observations on the players and coaches. What will you write about now since their will be no actual football till training camp?

    1. You know a tree by the fruit it bears. Snarky or not, the stuff about the front office is true. And that is a reflection on York/Baalke.

  17. Now, with Kap never playing again, will Seb move to another blogsite. He never liked the 49ers except if he could pick personnel losers like Hayne and Kap. It was always about the Seb, not the 49ers…No reason to stay, Goodbye, Seb.

    By Bay Area Sports Guy  

    Posted on April 30, 2016

    Two things are pretty obvious: the 49ers feel settled at the quarterback position, and they prefer Gabbert over Colin Kaepernick.

    •The 49ers benched Colin Kaepernick in favor of Gabbert last season.
    •They allowed Kaepernick to meet John Elway at Elway’s house. This doesn’t happen when you’re in love with a player.

    1. TrollD, guess again. I will stay on this site until Grant kicks me off.
      Niners are not in love with Kaep? He is still on the roster, so I think Chip likes him.

      First you say Kaep will never play again, them say rugby players never pass the ball, when I see them pass the ball backwards all the time. Now you say it is about me, and I do not have a reason to stay on this site. You are so wrong about everything, you are forced to be a kiss arse to Grant so he will let you troll away.

      TrollD, maybe you should leave before you humiliate yourself any more.

    2. This is stupid.
      Kelly has not had a chance to work with Kaep yet, so of course he wants to see what he has there. I believe Gabbert will win but it would be foolish to let Kaep walk without letting Kelly see what he has to work with. Besides it’s not like the 49ers don’t have the cap space.

      1. Benjamin Allbright Twitter May 27th

        Midway, FL
        @E_Dilla @AllbrightNFL Gabbert?

        @OchoFisho @E_Dilla early word is Kelly prefers Kaepernick to Gabbert

        1. Personally,and without a shred of evidence, I think the rumor of friction between Chip and Baalke was over Kaep. I speculate that Chip threatened to quit if they got rid of Kaep.

          Chip needs Kaep. If Chip can resurrect Kaep, he will be hailed as a genius.

          It sure was nice to hear that Kaep is throwing again.

          1. Why would Chip quit over a player he has never worked with? Do you read what you write before you hit send?

            I mean seriously, Chip was FIRED 5 months ago, he’s not quitting after 2 months on the job when NO ONE wanted him in the NFL, and all other coaching vacancies have been filled. He’s making 6 million a year, you don’t walk away from that before it’s even started because of some QB, especially when that QB is named Colin Kaepernick and he’s been trying to get out of SF the whole offseason.

            1. MJ, Chip could have sat at his home and collected a paycheck like Tomsula, but chose to come to the Niners. If Jed and Baalke had traded away his best chance to succeed, he probably would have felt like he was thrown under the bus. Chip wants to win, and trading away Kaep would have just doomed the Niners to another losing season.

              Sounds like Chip likes Kaep, and do not know if Baalke has spoken to Kaep lately. My speculation is totally logical and plausible.

              1. Seb, what you are suggesting is not only illogical, it’s also not plausible.

                The 49ers are bigger than any one player & Chip understands this.

                Not only is there no evidence that Chip prefers Kap over Blaine, and that Kaepernick gives Chip his best chance to succeed, there is also no chance “Chip could have sat at his home and collected a paycheck like Tomsula” as you seem to suggest. Tomsula was fired Seb, he didn’t quit! Chip could not have QUIT over kaepernick, and still sat home and collected his paycheck like you suggest Tomsula is doing.

                Honestly Sebnynah, you really ought to think before you post some of these ridiculous comments!

            2. MJ, you need to understand the source.

              Sebnynah doesn’t understand team dynamics MJ. Seb doesn’t understand how NFL teams operate. And since he makes assumptions and predictions based on his false understanding of the nature of an NFL team, and the way it’s structured, most of his comments make very little sense to those of us who have a better understanding than himself.

              For example: Sebnynah actually believes that Chip should have innitaited a private meeting with Colin and his father, and communicated to them how badly he needs Colin and how valuable Colin is to the team, despite being benched and despite the having lost the confidence of the lockerroom. Seb also believes that the 49ers should also have traded Blaine Gabbert, even before the two compete with each other for the starting job, in order to prove his loyalty towards Kaepernick. In other words, in Seb’s world, a player can put himself ahead of the team (Colin opting for season ending surgery despite the fact that medically, he could have waited until after the season, therefore continuing to commit to his fellow teammates as backup quarterback) and then going public with a trade request.

              Chip Kelly’s first order of business would have been to acquiesce to the demands of a disgruntled player, and to show blind devotion to a player who many teammates believe quit on his team prematurely last season.

              Sebnynah would have preferred that Chip Kelly send a message that any one player, if he’s valuable enough, is more important than the team, as a collective whole. And that, if that one player gives his team the best chance to win, they will be treated differently than others (Blaine Gabbert being traded, despite his professionalism, and relationship with his fellow teammates) no matter how they handle themselves, or how they act in the eyes of their teammates.

              That’s how Sebnynah’s brain works MJ.

          1. Team activities through training camp will only solidify his preference. Don’t hate the messenger….

            1. Razor

              I love your strong allegiance, but you don’t even know if Kaep can still run OR pass…surely not accurately….I think he’s trade bait….

    1. Yeah, though I can also understand why they might be holding him back a bit at this point too. No point reinjuring the knee in OTAs. If he is still limited come TC I will be concerned.

      1. Smelter said at the end of last year he was healthy enough to play in 2015. He said the same thing this spring. I’m not sure what is going on with his leg.

    2. My guess(mostly hoping) is that it’s an issue of conditioning. Without having been able to go full out he’s probably not in the best of shape. Or at least not in ‘Football’ shape.

      1. B2W
        \

        perhaps (probably) the coaching staff believes he’s ready, and wants to see some of the other WR candidates on the field….

  18. I for one remember some of the reports from last year where dismal so it is good to see that some of the young players, in particular, are shining. I hope this carries into the season.

    1. It appears Grant was correct about the coaching staff improvement. The Kelly–Balducci–Buckner–Pac 12 (Bryce Treggs, Cal, 4.34 40 yd) connections are good stories…Keep up the good work, Grant!

      1. cubus,
        I thought Garnett had already graduated. It seems that a clause should be added that allows participation in practice in the event that said player has already completed all the coursework necessary for graduation.

        1. I too am confused. I thought Buckner was the one that would have issues with showing up at OTAs, similar to Armstead last year. Or am I remembering incorrectly.

          1. The rule is that the player cannot attend OTAs or other activities (other than the rookie mini-camp) that occur before the player has finished the semester in which the player is currently enrolled. For a quarter system school, enrollment in the spring semester will impact the player’s eligibility to attend OTAs and other activities as the quarter ends in early June. Oregon and Stanford both use the quarter system.

            Buckner graduated at the end of the Winter term (March), so he did not have to wait for the end of Spring term (June). Conversely, Armstead was enrolled in the Spring term last year so had to wait until classes ended in June.

            Garnett was seemingly enrolled in the Spring term as his graduation is set after the end of that term (http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers/article78016687.html). Had he completed his coursework in the Winter term (ending in March), he would have graduated at the end of that term and been eligible to attend.

            1. I should not have used ‘semester’ in the first paragraph with respect to quarter schools. ‘Term’ is the more appropriate word.

              1. Actually I have seen both terms used JPN. It mainly depends on what the school wishes to call it from what I understand.

              2. Mid,

                A ‘semester’ is traditionally half of an academic year, although the word has been stretched to include other academic terms, such as summer semesters, at some schools. In this way, it has broadened to mean any academic term that ends with a final grade in the courses taken during that term. Even so, I do not know of a single college/university on the quarter system that uses ‘semester’ as the official designation for an academic term, and certainly not the two mentioned above.

                And yes, I realize my need to self-correct my infelicitous usage even though people reading my post would have known what I meant (and few would have questioned it) is likely an obsessive tendency. ;)

              3. JPN,

                “Shoe in”, instead of “shoo-in” and “tow the line”, instead of “toe the line”. Also correct either way?

                How about expressions that leave the reader or listener unsure of the meaning?

                For example: The negotiations were a wash.
                In this context, “wash” is supposed to mean “mostly even”. However, many use “wash”, in place of “wash out”, which means a waste of time.

              1. Ah…those terms that come from the English nautical tradition. (With apologies to JPN as there was no pun intended).

              2. Ex, Tow the line is different than toe the line.

                I believe -tow the line refers to towing barges in a canal, like the Erie Canal. It is repetitive, drudgery and hard work. Tow the company line- may have come from that term.

                Toe the line refers to lining up on a ship (British), or standing toe to toe before a boxing match with a line painted down the middle of the ring.

              3. Seb,

                Toe the line means to do what is expected.

                I don’t believe “tow the line” is an expression that has a separate definition.

        2. The last day of finals is June 8th with graduation Thursday June 9th.

          It seems like the earliest he could attend would be Thursday but he may want to attend his graduation. What time is practice and what time is graduation?

  19. Nice player assessments, but I want to know how the practice dynamics are evolving and are the schemes being picked up by the whole squad, or is it hit or miss? Did Chip show more innovations, or was he focused on the execution of the plays? It was nice to hear Gabbert doing well, but were the passes more simple and easier to complete? How about a comment on the overall red zone success?

    Glad to hear about Ellington. Think he will garner single coverage, so he should be open a lot.

  20. Interesting that Las Vegas currently has the 49ers favored to win 0 games. I think this tells what the industry thinks of the overall talent on the team.
    I was thinking it over and every team should have an advantage with their Dline against our Oline… that causes major problems for a team that primarily wants to run the ball.
    So my question is, assuming every team the niners face is actually more talented than them…
    How many games would you expect our coaches to coach the team to victory?
    and what would you expect from a great coach and an average coach?

    1. Shoup ..

      From the standpoint of the new coaching staff ..
      and who gets on the field … I’m still thinkin’ ..
      8-8 (or better) …

      (What do the talking heads in Vegas know, anyhoo ?)

      1. I’m an optimist but 8-8 seems on the high side. Yeah it could happen, but I’m just looking for improvement over last season, so 6 wins or more. 7 – 9 seems more like it, but anything above would be gravy.

          1. You are more optimistic than I am, Oregon. I think 8-8 is a more likely outcome. However, I will be very pleased to have been wrong if it turns out that you are closer to the mark.

      2. “What do the talking heads in Vegas know, anyhoo?”

        They know how to separate people from their money. Setting the line is about predicting the betting action not about predicting the game. And this early, predicting the betting action is mainly based on understanding the perceptions (and feelings) of the betting public. As more information comes in, it will be more about the talent level/performance of the team, but mainly with respect to using that information to predict how people will bet.

        It is interesting that the books have done a nice job selling the public on the idea that the ‘favorite’ is a prediction of the outcome of the game. Not surprisingly, this is disingenuous on their part (or, more charitably, good marketing). The books’ modern internal use of the term is the same as the historical use of the term in betting — the ‘favorite’ is that on which the most bets are placed. The line is set in anticipation of who/what will be the favorite and then is adjusted to meet the action. Thus, predicting the outcome of a sporting event is secondary to predicting the flow of the action and adjusting the line so that the book can either win or mitigate its losses.

        1. From my understanding that’s what the line is for. Predicting the actual winner of a game is a bit different as they wont make money if their prediction is incorrect. The line then helps them hedge their bet.

    2. The question is not about who is more talented, but who can play play better as a team.

      Look at the Warriors. Both of their most talented players laid an egg, but the subs bailed them out. Their subs played good team ball, so they won by 15 points.

      The importance of Kerr cannot be over stated. His strategy and game plan helped them win 73 games, and allowed the Warriors to come back from a 1-3 deficit.

      I expect Chip to improve the Niner offense, so he might be instrumental in winning 3 more games. The Niners may go 8-8, and if Kaep plays, maybe even more.

      1. I think we need to temper our expectations. Kerr and the Warriors are the exception, not the rule, and are not a good barometer to judge this current team (remember Jed’s comments las year).

        A good solid competent and competitive team that is there to the end will be a huge improvement. If the team can make 8-8, I for one will be overjoyed. Don’t see it, but I can dream, as I dream of winning the lottery too.

      2. Freekin sebnoying! Kap is not Montana–or Young–and his regression was such that hes not even Alex Smith!!!!!!

      3. Is that a good analogy? Top to bottom imho the warriors are the most talented team in basketball. Their depth allows them to win even when their best players lay an egg.

        1. Shoup, I am not equating the Niners with the Warriors. I am saying that IF the Niners want to be champions, they should learn from, and emulate the Warriors.

            1. Hmmm, both are professional sports teams. Both are in leagues. Both are in the Western Division. Both have an owner and GM. Both have Head Coaches and assistant coaches. Both have players and a reserve squad. Both use preparation, practices and team strategies.

              Yup, they have absolutely nothing in common.

              1. Another ridiculous SEBNYNAH analogy.

                The only real similarity is that they are both professional sports teams (franchises). Their Collective Bargaining Agreements and size of rosters are so entirely different, that the way the two teams handle their rosters is not even remotely comparable.

                Comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges.

              2. 49, I agree. Warriors win with class and dignity. hey are true champions.

                Niners lose like clueless idiots, with a classless and imbecilic FO. The team is the butt of jokes and their former rivals pity them.

                Night and Day.

    3. 0 wins?

      Bovada set the 49ERS over/under for the wins in 2016 at 5.5 games.

      I predict the 49ERS will win 6-7 games in Chip’s first season, and with a little luck in terms of health, 500% isn’t completely out of the question, IMO.

      As a matter of fact, I predict a rough rookie season for JARRED GOFF. Rough enough to give the 49ERS a chance at 3rd place in the NFC West this season. I believe the Ram’s defense is one of, if not the most overrated defense in the NFL. They finished the 2015 season ranked 23rd overall defensively (23rd against the pass and 20th against the run). They lost their top CB in free agency while they are VASTLY overpaying MARK BARRON at Linebacker (Barron has played a little more than a half-season in that role for the Rams, and they’re paying him as if he’s a superstar. The five-year, $45 million deal the Rams gave Barron guarantees him $20 million and pays him a whopping $29 million over its first three years), and as long as Fisher remains the Ram’s HC, the Ram’s offense will continue struggling to put points on the board!

  21. 8-8 or better is sounding really good about right now. I see us winning a game each againist Shehawk, Cards and Rams.

  22. 2. OLB Eli Harold. Blew past second-team left tackle John Theus to tag-sack backup quarterback Thad Lewis on third-and-goal from the 8-yard line during a red-zone drill. Harold clearly is the 49ers’ most explosive pass-rusher. We’ll see how strong he really is when he puts on pads.
    ——————–
    Sounds good but it’s nearly verbatim to the comments about him last year in OTA’s and early off season work. We can only hope the extra weight and year of experience will allow him to carry his Summertime success into the regular season.

    Do the 49ers have any practices scheduled with other teams?

    1. Yeah. The positive I take from this is that he is still explosive after bulking up to 270lbs. That was a big question mark for me.

      1. Do you really think one can gauge explosiveness if Harold is not in pads and really engaging blockers? I know Grant said that, but he might subconsciously be using mental images from last year where Harold was in an actual game as his baseline reference. If that’s the case, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to say that Harold looks more explosive in OTAs. I’m just suggesting it might not be an accurate comparison.

        1. I think you can see which guys are explosive without pads. If Harold is standing out for his explosiveness he is I assume looking more explosive than the other guys. Some guys might struggle to stay explosive with pads, but I doubt it will be a big issue for guys already carrying 270lbs.

  23. Grant,

    Would love to see an article on the most improved or impressive players under Kelly’s new system and why, from what you’re seeing and hearing.

    1. Miller is a football player. He will do whatever it takes so he can stay on the field. He is why I am thinking Vance might be a footnote in Niner lore.

      1. On paper, Miller should lose out to VMac at TE.

        On the field it will likely be a different story. Miller will give it everything he has to be on this team, and in the end I expect to see him playing on Sundays. I am not so sure about VMac.

    2. I believe it was Harbaugh who said that Miller was a football player and he stated with great admiration. He is going to find a way to play.

  24. Am glad the rams are back in LA. My contempt for all LA teams remain high. The rams rode an anal chinook which we all know will dissipate into a vastness of nothing to get back to LA. Lucky they did not start a fire on their return trip. If the Niners can not beat the rams with rookie Goofy at QB then we are in for a long season.

  25. Just heard Muhammad Ali has passed away. Brings back alot of memories. A big but sad day in sports for sure.

    1. B2W,
      Growing up in Oakland as a teenager, I had two celebrity hero’s – James Brown and Muhamad Ali.

      James Brown because when he performed at the old Fox theater on Broadway in Oakland back in the early 60’s he allowed a group of people who couldn’t afford to buy a ticket (we could hear the concert from small speakers outside) to come inside. I didn’t even know who James Brown was at the time. My cousin (who lived a few blocks away) and I just seen a crowd when we were walking by and stopped to hear the music on the outside speakers.

      Once inside, I saw a man perform with such precision and energy that I immediately became fan for life.

      In the ring, Muhamad Ali performed with the same precision and energy. As amazing a fighter that he was, he was even better at promoting his fights with his well timed antics and hyperbole. His interviews with Howard Cosell were pure entertainment and made ABC Wide World of Sports must watch TV.

      Muhamad Ali will forever take his place on the world landscape of great personalities and a hero to millions.
      Good night Champ!

      1. What I marvel at is Ali’s speed early in his career, before he was sent to prison. Of course he was an incredible boxer after he got out, but I don’t think he ever fully recovered that “snap” and movement he had before.

        Can you imagine how good he would have been if he didn’t have this interruption in his career? He was a stunning boxer no matter what.

  26. Seb,

    Your polluting our environment with your asnine observation on an industrial scale not seen since BP’s Gulf spill disaster. Your sanitarium can not take your computer priveledges away fast enough!

    sebnynah

    June 2, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    First you say Kaep will never play again, them say rugby players never pass the ball, when I see them pass the ball backwards all the time.

    Wikipedia: American football vs. Rugby:

    The forward pass is one of the main distinguishers between gridiron football (American football and Canadian football) in which the play is legal
    and widespread, and rugby football (union and league) from which the North American games evolved, in which the play is illegal

    Seb the genius says:

    sebnynah

    June 3, 2016 at 7:42 am

    I speculate that Chip threatened to quit if they got rid of Kaep.
    MJ

    June 3, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Why would Chip quit over a player he has never worked with? Do you read what you write before you hit send?

    I mean seriously, Chip was FIRED 5 months ago, he’s not quitting after 2 months on the job when NO ONE wanted him in the NFL, and all other coaching vacancies have been filled. He’s making 6 million a year, you don’t walk away from that before it’s even started because of some QB, especially when that QB is named Colin Kaepernick and he’s been trying to get out of SF the whole offseason.

    1. TrollD, I am impressed. You actually know the meaning of assinine.

      Too bad you associate the word with the wrong person. It fits you to a Tee.

    2. Enough you two. Let’s get back to talking 49ers football instead of this incessant back and forth you guys partake in.

      1. That’ll work as well as asking my dogs to stop tunneling to China. Actually I looked it up and if you dig straight down from the U.S. you end up in the Indian ocean kind of in the middle between the tip of Africa, Antarctica and Australia.

      2. Frankly, I have been getting fed up with all the bullying. They get to call me names and insult me, but when I push back I become the bad guy. So be it. I will reserve the right to retaliate, but will continue to post in a civil and respectful manner to like minded Niner fans.

        Tell TrollD to stop obsessing about me. I have been assiduously ignoring his posts until he started addressing me.

        1. ” I have been assiduously ignoring his posts until he started addressing me.”

          I would say that you’ve been assiduously replying to any post by TomD that mentions you. Only a fool would do that because that’s what give TomD his pleasure. Are you trying to one up a fool?

  27. I was never a fan of the sport of boxing, but Muhamad Ali’s influence was felt beyond the ring, and I’m thankful for that. R.I.P. Ali.

    1. Yep, as great a champion as Ali was in the ring, he was a greater champion for American civil rights and acceptance of multiculturalism outside the ring.

  28. Part of ownership is sending the proper message. Since the York’s spent little on f/a they should install a modern day velarium. This would tell fans they’re listening to them about the Santa Clara heat while caring about the players simulstaneously.

    Currently, the world leader in this technology is HKS who is building the LA Rams new stadium, due to open in 2019.

    The York’s showed they are tired of Baalke’s stone age offensive philosophy and hired Chip. Will they show they are not behind the Romans who invented the velarium for their coliseum fans over 2000 years ago? Did the Roman’s care more about fan health than the York’s?…And all these years I thought they were barbarians. If the York’s sit on their hands on this issue they are truly the barbarians.

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/19/architecture/new-nfl-stadium-los-angeles/

  29. HKS builds retractable synthetic velariums. The York’s would simply have to install a few game day air conditioners and lights.

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