Today was coordinator day at 49ers minicamp, as offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye and defensive coordinator Greg Manusky fielded questions in a group setting for the first time this offseason.
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Jimmy Raye intimated that he would like the quarterback competition to continue into the 49ers’ exhibition season. The 49ers’ first practice game is Aug. 14 against the Broncos.
“I’d like to see them both play football,” said Raye, referring to quarterbacks Alex Smith and Shaun Hill, who are competing for the starting job.
Raye said his focus to this point has been on installing the offense to the entire unit. The quarterbacks are just one piece of the puzzle. The offseason work continues with the 49ers’ organized team activities schedule for May 18-21, June 1-2, June 8-11, June 15-16.
–Any quarterback competition that is based on practices seems to put Shaun Hill at a disadvantage. He does not throw a pretty pass. The ball definitely lacks the zip of most other NFL quarterbacks. But Raye said he has been impressed with what he sees.
“He practices well,” Raye said. “Some quarterbacks are better game-speed players than they are playing against the air because of their abilities to do certain things.” Raye said if Hill takes it up a notch when the games begin, it will be a “win-win.”
–He said he wants the 49ers to be a “physically tough-minded football team.” He said the team will figure out what it does best, and that’s the direction the offense will lean.
“I don’t see it as run-oriented or pass-oriented,” he said. “Ideally, we’ll be the best mixture of run and pass.”
–The 49ers are in no hurry to get rookie quarterback Nate Davis ready to play. Raye said the only reason he knows
“His entrance into the meetings has been the same as most young quarterbacks I’ve had: confused, trying to sort things out, anxiety and nervous,” Raye said. “Those traits are with most guys.”
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Manusky said he expects starting outside linebacker Parys Haralson and Manny Lawson to remain on the field for all three downs, with them moving to defensive end positions on third downs when the 49ers generally go with a 4-2-5 or 4-1-6 defense.
–The 49ers have moved Ahmad Brooks to the weak outside linebacker position behind Haralson.
–Isaac Sopoaga and Kentwan Balmer will both be used at nose tackle, along with Aubrayo Franklin. Sopoaga is tentatively listed as the starter at left defensive end, but that could change depending on how well he performs in his transition back to nose.
–On Balmer, Manusky said, “I’m expecting big things from Kentwan. He’s right on track to become a fine football play for us in this league.” Manusky said defensive line might be the most difficult spot for a youngster to play immediately. “The reason is because there is so much technique involved and a lot of the offensive linemen are technique-sound and they’re veterans of the game,” Manusky said.
–When asked about first impressions of rookie DE Ricky Jean-Francois, Manusky said it’s way too early to tell anything. After all, this is a non-contact work. He’ll have a better idea when the pads go on at training camp.
–Manusky said he hopes to get DE Ray McDonald back on the practice field at some time during training camp. McDonald underwent ACL reconstruction this offseason.
–Reggie Smith is being moved from cornerback, where he was lined up as a rookie, to safety. Manusky said it should give him a better chance of getting on the field and contributing.
–Manusky likes cornerback Tarell Brown, calling him a smart player and saying “the sky’s the limit” as far as his potential. Manusky side-stepped a question about whether Brown was in competition with Walt Harris for a starting job. (That’s probably a “no,” unless something happens.)
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