Blaine Gabbert on Bruce Ellington: “He’s balling out right now…he’s catching a ton of balls.”

SANTA CLARA – Here are select quotes from Day 1 of 49ers minicamp.

Blaine Gabbert on Bruce Ellington: “Going into his third year, he’s now a vet. He’s a vet in that room. He knows how to prepare himself day in and day out, and it’s really carrying over to the field. He’s balling out right now. The biggest thing I see from him — he’s having fun, he’s enjoying it and he’s catching a ton of balls right now.

Gabbert on Vance McDonald: “He’s such a great athlete. He’s smart. He does a great job in the run and pass game. He’s a guy that we have to utilize. He’s a mismatch nightmare on linebackers. And you really kind of saw that jump Week 8 on last year. He did a great job, stayed healthy and had some good plays.”

Tight ends coach Jeff Nixon on Vance McDonald: “The sky is the limit for Vance. He’s very talented. He has the size and the speed. I think most of his drops sometimes are a little bit of a lack of concentration, because he does have good hands. But I’m expecting a big year out of Vance. He finished up the year strong. I think the last three or four games he had at least five catches in each of those games. We’re looking for him to take off right from where he left off last year, being a big-play tight-end target for us in the pass game.”

How to improve concentration? Nixon: “Catch the ball with your eyes. Most drops happen when you take your eye off the ball. You end up having bad hand placement or you’re trying to run before you catch it. So I think it’s more him keeping his eye on the ball, looking it all the way in. Catch if first before you try to run and get up the field, because he’s an explosive runner when he does have the ball in hands. I think sometimes he tries to run and make plays before he catches the ball.”

Nixon on Garrett Celek: “He really has become a complete football player. He’s solid for us…He really does a nice job of making traffic catches, as we expect our tight ends to do. Between him and Vance, they kind of give us some veteran leadership. I expect him to have a really good productive year for us.”

Nixon on Blake Bell: “Blake is about 270, but he really doesn’t look like it. He’s playing a lot more physical, playing with his hands. He’s doing a really good job in the run game and the pass game for us. I think the transition that he made a couple years ago from quarterback to tight end has gone well for him. He’s a full-fledged tight end and is playing better with more experience.”

Quarterbacks coach Ryan Day on Gabbert: “He’s a professional, first off. When he comes into the meeting room, you better buckle up because he knows what he’s talking about, he’s really sharp, he has experience, he has been on the field, he knows what is real and what isn’t, he knows what’s clinic talk and what isn’t, so when you get up on the board and you explain something to him, you need to have a plan and be well thought out and prepared every day. Which is great as a coach. You love that.

“On the field, I know Coach (Chip Kelly) talked about his athleticism. I felt the same way. I didn’t know he was as athletic as he was. Throwing the ball, too. He can make all the throws that you need. He has a really good skillset and we’re excited about that.”

Day on Jeff Driskel: “He’s dynamic with his feet, for sure. He can make a lot of the throws, too. There are a few things that we’re working on technically in terms of throwing the football. But he’s got a great skillset we look forward to develop.”

This article has 37 Comments

  1. Oh yeah … one half of this
    “Dynamic-duo” .. talking up ..the
    other half

    1. Yes…in fantasy football. Make sure to draft McDonald, Ellington and Draughn.

            1. I hope he has a great year because I will end up taking him again. I’m a sucker for my teams players!

            2. He killed me too. I traded my 2nd round pick for him after that incredible week one game against the Vikings. Zip, zilch, nada after that trade. Man, that sucked, but I have ALOT of faith in Hyde still. If he stays healthy he will kick some butt, both in fantasy and in real world football.

          1. That’s the head scratcher,can he stay healthy? Bruising backs light on their feet take beatings.Lynch survived all those years cause he had heavy legs and stayed low. Hyde is the complete opposite

            1. My advice would be to take him if he’s still on the board and you already have one if not two solid starters at the position.

      1. If you’re using draft picks on those guys I want to be in your league.

  2. I’ll be happy if McDonald finally breaks out, but I’m not holding my breath.

  3. I think that they should instruct Vance to run past the sticks, watch the ball into his hands, and just fall down while covering up the ball. I remember a couple games when he was stripped after catching the ball, so this way, he will drop the ball less and protect the ball better.

    No matter what, they will get another set of downs, so catching and securing the ball is a lot more important than running after the catch. The worst thing is to drop the ball, so falling down will ensure he is not distracted from his primary job, which is to catch the ball.

      1. What makes you so sure VMac
        can …catch the ball ?

        Hope he gets shown the door ..along with
        his other HOF-er buddie …

        Marcus Martin …

        Heck … those two moves just might
        put a sour note in the Vegas oddsmakers
        collective mouiths

        1. V-Mac isn’t going anywhere. He’s an ELITE blocking TE, with good speed. He’s got a role on this offense regardless of his inconsistency catching the football.

          And if he can improve his hands, he’s an absolute monster at the TE position.

      2. Prime

        We’ve had our moments challenging each other, but I beg you to stop engaging this moronic loser. Just be done with it. It’s DS94EVR.

      3. Just fall down after catching the football? Is this how you win games?

        Seb never ceases to amaze!

      4. Prime, does “Just fall down after catching the football” sound like a good strategy? Is this how you win games?

        Seb never ceases to amaze!

    1. JH is a drama queen…….it is obvious why the FO got tired of his drama

      Aldon Smith’s contribution did help in getting us to the playoffs……

    2. Good answer, it didn’t actually address the question in any form but if you feel better for getting that off your chest then I’m glad.

      1. ouch !

        Coffee .. probably not much different..
        only because the Jedster is still in charge …

        (The guy is 4 slices of ham… short of a
        full sandwich)

  4. “There are a few things that we’re working on technically in terms of throwing the football.”

    Well that seems like a nail in the coffin for Driskel. Guys don’t get to the NFL and change their throwing motion. See David Carr or Colin Kaepernick. So now the 49ers have 2 QB’s who are great athletes but have problems with their throwing motion? Awesome.

    1. Houston, guys can and do make suçcesful changes to their throwing motion at the NFL level. It all depends on how drastic the changes need to be.

      I’ve watched enough film to say with confidence that, unlike Kevin Hogan, I don’t see any major flaws in Driskel’s throwing motion, nor do I think Day’s comments suggest there are major changes required.

      Anyone who jumps to the conclusion that there are “nails in Driskel’s coffin” based on Day’s general & unspecific comments, is clearly someone who is going out of their way looking for reasons to be pessimistic about the 49ers roster.

    1. Biderman – “Trent Brown at RT and Andrew Tiller at RG. Erik Pears and Brandon Thomas worked with the twos.”

      Release the doves. Let church bells ring throughout the kingdom. At last, all is right with the world. (sarcasm)

      They will probably experiment with several O-line configurations before settling in.

  5. Hafley – “I think a guy who has natural press cover CB skills is Rashard Robinson.”

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