The good and not so good from Day 1 of 49ers’ minicamp


Here are the highlights from the 49ers’ first day of minicamp.


1. Colin Kaepernick rolling out. The 49ers called almost as many rollout passes as pocket passes during Tuesday’s practice. The rollout and play-action waggle seem to be a staples of the new offense, unlike the past few years under Jim Harbaugh.

Kaepernick made two gorgeous throws while rolling out. First, he rolled to his right and hit Anquan Boldin near the sideline for a 15-yard gain. Next, Kaepernick rolled to his left and threw a perfect pass against his body to Quinton Patton for another 15-yard gain.

Kaepernick’s accuracy while rolling out is uncanny.

2. Vernon Davis, tight end. On the first play of team drills, Vernon Davis sprinted down the middle of the field and blew by the Niners’ starting safeties. Kaepernick over-strode in the pocket and overthrew Davis.

Kaepernick completed the next four passes he threw to Davis. Davis was Kaepernick’s favorite target during practice, his safety blanket, not Anquan Boldin who missed OTAs and still is learning the new playbook.

Davis hasn’t looked this good since 2013.

3. Blake Bell, tight end. Also made four catches during team drills, including a 15-yarder and a 20-yarder down the seam. He has outstanding hands, but can he hold onto the ball over the middle when he takes a hit in a real game? No one can touch him during minicamp.

4. Keith Reaser, cornerback. The starting right cornerback in the base defense in place of the injured Shareece Wright, and the starting slot corner in the Nickel defense in place of the injured Jimmie Ward.

During 7-on-7s, Kaepernick attempted a deep pass to Boldin, who had lined up in the slot. Reaser was covering him man to man. Reaser easily ran stride for stride with Boldin, turned his head, found the ball and snatched it out of the air before Boldin could get a finger on it.

Reaser has been terrific so far this offseason. He might already be a better slot corner than Ward, the Niners’ first-round pick last year.

5. Alex Boone, guard. Faced Tank Carradine twice during one-on-one pass-rushing drills and won both battles. Played mostly left guard during team drills.

6. Erik Pears, tackle. Faced Ahmad Brooks twice during one-on-one pass-rushing drills and won both battles.

7. DeAndrew White, wide receiver. Clearly the best of the 49ers’ undrafted rookie wide receivers. Made four catches during team drills, including the catch of the day.

It was third-and-10. Kaepernick threw a pass from the pocket as hard as he could at White, who was running a deep comeback route. The pass sailed high. White jumped as high as he could and caught Kaepernick’s fastball with his fingertips.

White has terrific hands and body control. He’s fast, too.

9. Dres Anderson, wide receiver. Beat Kenneth Acker for a 15-yard gain down the left sideline on third-and-3. Acker never turned his head. Undrafted rookie quarterback Dylan Thompson threw the pass.


1. Colin Kaepernick in the pocket. Threw two picks from the pocket: First, he fired a short pass to Boldin. The ball bounced off Boldin’s hands and Michael Wilhoite caught it. Boldin had no chance—the pass had no touch. Later, Kaepernick threw a deep pass to Boldin and Reaser picked it off.

Two of Kaepernick’s passes from the pocket got batted down at the line of scrimmage. And his intermediate throws consistently sailed high because he was over-striding.

But he made one excellent pass from the pocket—a 20-yard pass to Torrey Smith, who beat free safety Eric Reid near the left sideline.

2. Tank Carradine. Didn’t beat any of the offensive linemen during one-on-one pass-rushing drills. Easily tied up by Boone.

3. Vance McDonald. Made just one catch for five yards during team drills. Rookie tight end Blake Bell clearly is a better receiver than Vance McDonald, who’s in his third season. Don’t be surprised if Bell beats out McDonald for the No. 2 tight end job.

This article has 154 Comments

  1. “Don’t be surprised if Bell beats out McDonald for the No. 2 tight end job.”

    With so many TEs on the roster, McDonald really has to stand out in TC and pre-season this year to earn the #2 TE spot. He might end up the specialist blocking TE (or just let go) if he’s not careful.

    1. It really is disappointing McDonald has been unreliable in the passing game (albeit in limited snaps) so far in his career. I won’t go into kneejerk reaction mode, but I can see why Grant would be suggesting McDonald is beginning to look like he’s in trouble.

      This offense needs to have an immediate 2nd TE contributor like Delanie Walker was, and an heir apparent to VD since we almost certainly won’t re-sign him.

    2. Early off season rumors speculated whether or not McDonald would even be able to continue his career because of injury concerns. Add in the fairly poor performances to date and you have to assume that when the team used a 4th round pick on another TE McDonalds days became numbered.

      Even if McDonald has an amazing TC and pre-season I think he’s gone, the only difference will be that instead of just being released the team might actually trade him for something.

      1. I’m not as sure as you are about McDonald’s prospects, but I do think he’s in a real fight for his job. If he does have an amazing TC and pre-season I’d be surprised if he didn’t win the #2 TE role let alone they keep him. But unlike the past couple of years I don’t think that job will just be handed to him. He’ll have to earn his role on the team this year.

        1. I’ve been very positive regarding McDonald even with the drops but Maiocco’s report early in the year about his back made me start to second guess. When the team used a 4th round pick on a TE my immediate thought was that they didn’t think McDonald would be able to play either at all or much longer. Given that he hasn’t exactly been a shining star makes me think that even if he performs wells in camp and in pre-season AND stays healthy it’s more likely in my mind that if the team has any question about his long term health that they’ll try and get something now rather then cutting him on an injury settlement at some point in the near future. We’re only talking about getting a 6th or 7th round pick at best and that would take one heck of a preseason I think.

          It’s also completely possible that Bell was brought in to replace Davis in a year, or even sooner if he has another season like last although it sounds like he’s pretty focused this year. We’ll see if that’s still the case if the team is losing.

          I think with Celek, Davis, Carrier and Bell the team has plenty of reasons to try and get a pick out of McDonald rather then risk getting nothing for a guy that so far has barely even given us a reason to have this conversation about him.

          1. Let me change that first sentence to; I think with Miller, Millard, Celek, Davis, Carrier and Bell the team has plenty of reasons…

            1. /sigh I meant first sentence of the last paragraph. Nope, no edit button needed here.

              1. McDonald did not have good hands in college either. He was known for making key drops. Don’t understand why you draft a Wr with questionable hands to try to convert him into a TE. And in the second round as well.

              2. He was a joker TE as a senior. Prior to that he played primarily as a slot WR, which is pretty similar to a joker/ flex TE anyway. A lot of NFL TEs drafted early play as joker/ flex TEs in college these days, and spend a lot of time playing out of the slot.

                His main issues are he has suspect hands and a history of injuries. Has done since college. As to why you’d draft him despite these issues, its because he should provide a matchup problem for the defense. He’s hardly the first 49ers TE that has come out of college with question marks regarding his hands – both Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker (a true WR convert) came with those questions.

    3. Did McDonald drop some passes or is this more GC hyperbole based on one guy catching four and the other guy catching one?

    4. It’s a run based offense….Baalke knew that it wasn’t typical West Coast when he chose Harbaugh from Stanford…This version of the West Coast requires lots of running backs and tight ends which is why he drafted 4 of them. It has to have a Delanie Walker type opposite Vernon Davis and Mcdonald hasn’t worked out….Baalke is in love with the run and in this type of offense (overpowering the opposition when they know what’s coming) injuries happen–like lineman falling on the back of Vernon Davis legs while he’s blocking or injured TE’s

    5. NOPE…. He will be the number two. He’s just better than McDonald. And with a rookie HC trying to get the best out of his team. He’s going to put the best out there. And the best always play better in practice or the games. McDonald is done!

  2. Grant, thanks. Question: regarding Colin’s not-so-good play, would you say you observed it as a sign that he’s actively trying to translate his new footwork and mechanics into consistent repeatable passes on the field?

  3. Grant,
    What formations were they using more of today? Was it more shotgun/pistol or were they operating more under center?

    And regarding Kaepernick in the pocket, how would you assess his decision making today? Was he getting the ball out on time?

  4. I don’t recall where I read it, but some SEC asst coach for another school said that the 49ers were going to love DeAndrew White.

  5. Appreciate the update Grant. A couple of things caught my eye:
    1. Boone lining up at LG. An indication of where the team sees him playing this season?
    2. Reaser continuing to look good. I’m beginning to think that he’s the one to beat in the RCB competition.
    3. Potential battle for WR position. I don’t think we’ll be able to get Anderson or White to the practice squad if they don’t make the final roster.
    3. Carradine getting shut down. Lining up with the second defense in voluntary OTAs and struggling again today just keeps increasing my belief that Carradine may not make the final roster.
    4. Kaep struggling in the pocket. He needs to improve in that area because teams know that keeping him in the picket increases their chances of winning.

    1. Mid
      Tomsula said they were continuing to rotate guys at different positions in OTAs and this week to see who works best where, and in combination with whom else. I’d guess we have to wait for TC to make any reasonable guesses as to the lineup for Opening Day.

      1. I know Brotha, but not being able to beat anyone on the OL today could be a bad sign. Time will tell, but right now I don’t think it looks good for Carradine.

          1. Again I know. But it still could be a bad sign hwaits. As I said though, time will tell.

            1. If you’re looking for signs maybe you can get someone to read your tea leaves.

              A bad sign would be Bowman working on a undefined knee problem with the team assurance that it’s not anything important, and that he is still on schedule to play some time in September.

  6. Grant, thanks for the updates.
    Mixed feelings regarding Kaep’s outing today. I like the idea of the offense gearing plays to utilize CK’ strengths. I know its early, but I’m a little concerned after hearing of CK’ two Int’ as a pocket passer.

    The roll-out could be an option play for us, but the pocket passing game should be our bread and butter, especially as CK loses a step or two after a few years.
    The pocket passing game has to become Kaep’ comfort area if he is to take his game to the next level and beyond. If not, the roll-out will become as predictable as the run-option became.

    Nice to hear that VD had a good practice, and same goes for Reaser and Bell.
    Carradine needs to pick up his game. He is a player that relies on his strength and one trick pony’s don’t last long in this league. He absolutely must develop some pass-rushing techniques to make a mark on this team.

    1. AES- It seems obvious that Kaep is more comfortable and accurate as a roll out passer than in the pocket. It might make more sense to phase him into his uncomfort zone gradually rather than like they attempted last season, especially when the O-line could not supply a consistent pocket to work in. Watching him play these past years I also can not understand the concern about his foot work. He appears to be more accurate on the run with his feet not set than when he has the time and tries to set his feet. This is a 180 from standard. I think his problems have less to do with mechanics than they do with a psychological pattern and mindset about where he feels comfortable. I think with time it is possible for him to get more comfortable in the pocket if he is eased in. No reason why this shouldn’t happen by the time he begins to lose some speed. If he doesn’t then so be it. No reason to focus on an unforeseen future at the expense of the present.

      1. Wiltalk and AES

        As much as I respect your loyalty to Kaepernick, I DO believe that it’s getting time to realize that he is not, nor will not become the pocket passer that you had hoped for. The ‘pistol’ worked for him until defenses took it away from him….the very same thing will happen when defenses take away his roll-out plays as soon as they start looking for them. Without success in transitioning to a pocket passer, I don’t see any change in the second-half doldrums that we experienced last season once the defenses recognize and correct their approach to Kaep. Perhaps some rotational QB series or ‘spotting’ him in….?

        1. 9yaI Agree, the man’s pushing 30…But Baalke’s in love with the run, and he knew that Harbaugh’s offense was not typical West Coast, with Harbaugh’s relying on 2 Tight End formations and unbalanced lines. However, the 49ers under Bill Walsh, knew that if you stack the box with 8, or 9 men it can be shut-out. An inaccurate QB who can’t read (Quickly!!! for those into word parsing) so has to compensate by firing fastballs because he’s late simply does not work. Kaepernick only got to the Superbowl and playoffs because of Superior defense…99 yard runs only happen rarely, but Baalke likes runners

        2. Oregonner: It’s less about Kaep than it is about what I feel is not allowing things to play out and not really considering variables. For example. Lets say Kaep had a couple of interceptions in the first day of mini-camp which happen to have happened while he was in the pocket. Why would we automatically assume that it portends his inability to throw in the pocket this season. If he throws well any particular day that wouldn’t necessarily mean that he was going to excel in the pocket that season. Now I am not saying that these sort of things should not be considered, however every player has good or bad days as well and one series in a practice does not translate to how a player will play the entire season. History has shown that Grant tends to not fill in the details on a play to justify what ever point he want to make. Just like Hyde dropping some passes in his first practice is automatically construed by the Kaep detractors that it’s Kaeps fault. Well if the other Rb’s didn’t have drops then it might just be that Hyde was rusty and having an off day. People will often prevaricate in order to promote their own agenda’s. Leaving out details can give an individual who was not there the wrong perspective of what actually happened.

          I am not a Tomsula lover either but lets wait to see what happens this coming season before making a judgement on his coaching abilities. I never thought Harbaugh was as good a coach as some fans made him out to be. He made enough mistakes to cost the team some games, but because of all the other circumstances I wouldn’t blame him for the 8 and 8 record of last season. As I always say you have to take the good with the bad. It is already evident that some of the issues that were due to Harbaugh’s negative’s are already being dealt with. However we still don’t know what the trade off in losing all the positives that he brought to the table will be.

          People that have agenda’s tend to focus on either the negatives or positives that will support their positions. To Grants credit he wrote an article on BR that focused on Kaeps positives. That is something that is usually ignored by his detractors. Rather than focusing on the fact that he throws really well on the run, they focus on his footwork and mechanics in the pocket. Now those same people will never focused on the fact that Vern Davis ran bad routes or has alligator arms because he compensated for and was effective due to his freakish speed. Kind of a double standard which is what I also have an issue with.

          Football by it’s very nature relies on repetitious regimented structure. Which is why there is an inherent resistance to change from the status quo. I mean any innovation in the game itself moves slower than a slug. I mean some of the thing they did for years along with what they still continue to do borders on the moronic. When it comes to creative innovation football people are not the sharpest tools in the shed. There is a tendency to feel uncomfortable with things that don’t reflect the established structure. A lot of the anti Kaep sentiment is powered by that sort of perspective. It robs those of you who fit that description of your objectivity.

          PS — Oregonnin I don’t every remember stating or defining what kind of pocket passer I ever hoped Kaep would become. Once more you are projecting your own perspective on to a reality in order to justify your own conclusion. You are the one who believed from the very beginning that Kaep would never be the pocket passer that fits your own criteria or definition of what a QB has to be to be successful.

          Look I don’t really know you as a person aside from your posts on this thread. The same holds for many others who post here. You might be very smart and rational in all the other area’s of your lives. But frankly when it comes to this particular issue you are narrow minded and irrational. Of course the emotional investment put into sports tends to make people that way.

          1. The second to last sentence should be “They might be” not ‘ You might be. It is a generic statement and not directed at any particular person. Although the previous person mentioned might fit into that class as well.

            1. Willtalk,
              I feel a certain affinity with Kaep after following some of his exploits when he was at high school in Turlock.
              So while I want to see CK go to the next level in his career, ultimately, I’m a 49ers fan first. Which simply means that I want the best players on the field at all times.

              Kaep is still one of our best players on the team, but unfortunately, his SB appearance may have hurt him because it left us all with high expectations for him going forward. So while CK has had some very good outings he has also had some head-scratchers mixed in.

              My thinking is that 4 years in, Kaep needs to put the offense on his back and play with the energy and intensity that he displayed in his first season as starter.
              I would love to see CK make take some strong strides as a pocket passer, but what I really want is for Kaep to put this offense on his back and will the team to win no matter how he does it.

          2. Willtalk

            It’s not so much about the ‘couple of ints’, it’s more about what the cause of those ints. Football has been played for over a hundred years, and has been reinvented more times than the wheel, but none of the teams at the highest level (professional) has found a way to successfully operate with a QB that can’t read his progressions consistantly yet. Also, a pass to be thrown with ‘touch’ that won’t break receivers fingers or thumbs from 5-10 yards away. You and I agree about the negatives we experienced with Harbaugh. OTOH, I am a Tomsula enthusiast and I agree we should give him the time to show his brilliance or his a$$. In my opinion, like Kaep. There does come a time however when we have to say ‘No more years’.I suppose that my complaint is the group that keeps saying ‘One more year’….I haven’t heard it said so often since the George Blanda days…and HE WON.
            I’ll acknowledge my bouts with narrow-mindedness, just like EVERYONE who posts on this blog…irrational…? we’ll see…

        3. Who are you going to spot him with Oregon? Gabbert? If that is seriously what you are suggesting then you really should go and watch some footage of Gabbert from the pocket because if you do you will see your suggestion is really unwise.

          I doubt Kap is ever going to be Aaron Rodgers in the pocket, in fact I would say there is no chance of that, but this idea he can’t play there at all and can’t get any better is nonsense. Both picks thrown yesterday came off of tipped passes. Grant predictably blames Kap, but that doesn’t mean he’s right. Receivers are paid to catch the ball. Yes you’d like to see the QB take a little something off, but if the defense is bringing an all out blitz as was reported on one of yesterdays picks, then the QB is not going to have time to sit there and loft it gently into a guys hands. If Kap throws behind a receiver and hits a DB in the chest, that’s his fault. If he hits a receiver in the hands and it pops up in the air and is intercepted, it’s the receivers fault. Brett Favre is one of the greatest QB’s in NFL history and he threw smoke much like Kap does for a good portion of his career. Receivers have to get used to it and catch the damn ball.

          Oh and it’s a non contact minicamp in June. Some of you need to settle down and relax.

          1. Rocket

            Yes, Gabbert…and Dylan Thompson. I doubt that anyone would argue that Gabbert got absolutely smoked coming into the Jags as a rook…probably as bad or worse than Alex Smith as a rookie. They both got toasted. Now Gabbert has been practicing for two years behind the best Oline he’s ever seen…the FO decided that he was recovered sufficently to re-sign him for two more years Both he and Dylan Thompson were taught ‘pro-style’ QB and have the advantage of knowing what Kaep was never taught. Their progressions are smoother and their passes more catchable. Yeah, Favre threw smoke…but not on short patterns

            1. Oregon,

              Gabbert doesn’t go through progressions any better than Kap, turns the ball over regularly and is afraid in the pocket. He’s already shown he is not a starting caliber in the league and is also one of the lowest paid backups which is why they brought him back. Dylan Thompson is an undrafted FA who started for one year in College. Kap is the only viable QB on this team. I know you hate to believe that but it’s a fact.

              Favre threw everything hard his first few years. He eventually learned to take something off but it took awhile. The bottom line is, Pro receivers should catch whatever they get their hands on. Saying the QB threw it too hard is a total cop out.

              1. Rocket

                C’mon man …you’re trying to elevate Kap by denigrating Gabbert and Thompson. All that I’m trying to point out is that Kaep has too many holes in his game to be considered a viable, starting QB in the NFL. He’s had his chances, and hasn’t improved…turns the ball over regularly and is afraid in the pocket…horsefeathers…who is throwing all of these ints that we’re talking about? And this is with no pads in a non contact minicamp in June.

              2. Oregon,

                No I’m not trying to elevate Kap. I don’t have to, the performance on the field tells you all you need to know. Gabbert turned the ball over 26 times in his first two years for goodness sake. He turtled under the pass rush regularly causing some to question his courage. He was ultimately replaced by Chad Henne who is a journeyman caliber player. I’m not making anything up here. He is barely hanging on to a job in the NFL at this point. Thompson is exactly what I said he is: a rookie UDFA one year starter and you mention him as an option based on nothing other than he’s not Kap.

                All that I’m trying to point out is that Kaep has too many holes in his game to be considered a viable, starting QB in the NFL

                This just leaves me shaking my head. How can you say something like this when he’s already taken a team to a SB and 2 NFCCG’s? How do you come to this conclusion when he was a top ten rated QB his first two years playing regularly? Do you understand how hypocritical it is to say something like this while supporting Alex Smith during his time here?

                Here’s the reality Oregon: Kap is the starting QB of the 49ers and is likely to continue to be for sometime. He was given an extension because he earned it with his play. Last year he was inconsistent, much like the team as a whole, but played as well or better than half the QB’s in the league. You don’t dump somebody because they had a season that didn’t meet your expectations. That is knee jerk reaction that leads to a turnstile at the most important position on the field. Kap has been a starter for 2 and a half years and been in the league for 4. Aaron Rodgers, arguably the best QB on the planet, sat on the bench for his first 3 years. Kap has learned by playing and is still learning. He’s achieved some great things already and hopefully will achieve more. Is he elite? No, but he’s a guy who’s proven he can win in this league and is still developing his game while doing it. That’s more than a viable starter.

          1. MD

            I think that RW is a better QB in that he sees all of his receivers and creates more separation between himself and tacklers.

            1. Oregon.. I’m talking strictly pocket play.
              He is deadly on the move. No doubt. But keep him in between the tackles and he struggles. At least more than when he’s out of it. I think he will improve that weakness this season too. And with a 6-7 stud running wild with hands it should make it a little easier for him.

              1. MD….

                You’re correct, but to me it appears that he has better control of the pocket when he is seeking out his receivers….more time…and yes, having Jimmy Graham will be an added burden for opposing defenses. Graham cannot be allowed to leave the LOS without getting hit.

  7. Grant, regarding your comment on Carradine, how many of the other interior DL won their matchups?

  8. Cam Inman has some interesting vids.

    I was particularly interested in the one showing the WRs doing a kind of gauntlet drill between dummies (fourth one down when I linked it) – practicing avoiding the jam by dipping the shoulder (and picking up a towel in the process) then making a hard cut behind a dummy and making the catch in front of a third dummy.

  9. Chris Biderman @ChrisBiderman
    Most logical reason, IMO, for Thomas and Martin to be working at RG would be the 49ers bracing for Boone’s pending move to RT. Still early..

    1. Too little too late! We needed roll outs, screen passes and slants in harbough/roman offense to take it to the next level. When the offense is actually built on these elements then defenses adjust and they will be less effective.

      Without iupati, Davis, and a true smash mouth running back to balance out fancy little roll outs, designed runs for qb, and screen passes will not be effective in my book.

      For the multi billion dollar organizations that they are, football teams sure struggle understanding the psychology of the game.

    2. The Niners’ base defense primarily has been a classic 3-4 during practice. They rarely shade it to an under front anymore.

      1. That is quite a change. Mangini’s fingerprints all over that.

        Have they done much nickel/ dime? If so, what sort of front have they been using – 3 or 4 man?

        1. For those into history and favoring the boy genius, Mangini, Fangio;’s I.Q. (Intelligence Quota) is superior. He tried complex defenses just like fangio when originally hired by the Niners, but with constant free agent transition Yearly, and a fearsome pass rush, he just felt there were too many blown assignments so he settled for a basic 3/4…Where’s Mangini been….

      2. That’s a shame, and a surprise. Tomsula said two months ago the 49ers were keeping the same defensive front.

        Franklin, Sopoaga, Dorsey, Williams, Dial all did well shading to the right shoulder of the center. Made play more aggressive, and the field of vision narrower. Reads were simpler.

        I also think converted 4-3 ends like Carradine will do better one gapping. Heck, look what Justin did single gapping.

        I’m hoping this is all training camp vanilla stuff, and we see shading week one.

  10. Erik Pears, tackle. Faced Ahmad Brooks twice during one-on-one pass-rushing drills and won both battles.
    Ignoring the sample size of, two, I’m not quite sure that this is really all that much of a compliment for Pears. Brooks’s pass rush productivity of 6.2 was less then a certain rookie outside linebacker playing for the Redskins this year.

    1. Just reporting what he saw. Izgood. I filter all sources by my perception of cred, not just Grant. He contributes to the mosaic of my evolving view of the team.

    1. I never mocked him to us but I chose Mike Davis as one of my draft fav’s because of his similarities to Gore. He’s a does everything well instead of excelling at just one thing type of player. He’s not a burner but relies on his timing and shiftiness to find holes in the line and then hits them. Outside of Hayne whom I still don’t really consider as a RB yet Davis is the back I’m most excited about.

      Outside of Frank Gore another player that he reminds me of(as a player) is Ray Rice.

    2. “…stretch runs to the outside and read-option plays up the middle.”

      Single back, deep I formation seems well suited to those plays, especially the stretch runs. Good for relatively upright runners like Hyde and Hayne.

      But what will the fullbacks role be? Looking forward to seeing how (or if) Miller and Millard fit the new scheme. Same for the Delaney Walker types like Carrier.

    3. As far as who gets the most snaps or is “number one” and “number two” etc…

      I think alot depends on health and comfort level with the new offense. A healthy Hunter might be neck and neck with Hyde as the 49ers best running back. But I think Hyde fits this new system well and is more durable.

    4. Grant, I don’t think we can definitively say Bush is a better receiver than Hunter. I think it is more accurate to say that Bush has had significantly more passes thrown his way, and he has performed above average. What we dont know is how JH would have performed or would perform with 5-8 passes thrown his way per game. Hunter is faster and younger than bush. I think he would be equally good if not better than bush, but we’ll have to wait and see.

      1. I’m not sure you’re correct about Hunter being faster than Bush even with the age differential. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Hunter.

    5. Good breakdown Grant. One small complaint: the BR slide format for their articles seems a little tedious and cheezy to me. The content is fine.
      Other than Hayne, none of these guys will make it through waivers to the PS. I can’t see them cutting Davis or Bush, so by default in a numbers game Hunter would seem like the likely trade bait.
      Unsaid in this particular article is the impact on other positions. If SF did keep 4 RBs that pretty well leaves Millard out in the cold. It makes it harder to keep another young TE or WR too.
      Trent better get in touch with his friendly Medicine Man and make an appointment for August to dial-up some mysterious SAS ailments for guys to the IR.
      (SAS = Stashed Athlete Syndrome)

  11. It seems that Hyde struggled today. He kept dropping passes and getting caught in the backfield.

    1. Not his fault Kaepernick has no touch on short passes and the offensive line was giving up penetration in the run game.

        1. I like that Tomsula is giving his Off. Cord space to add a few perks to the offense.
          Being too predictable became our enemy last season. Throwing to the RB’s will present a refreshing twist – and OTA’s and TC is the time to perfect it.

          Tomsula must commit to the outlet pass to RB’s and CK must consistently complete these passes or the team will suffer through an agonizing 2015 season offensively.
          When, ok I’ll say it, Alex Smith started the year Harbaugh became HC the general consensus was no more Alexcuses.
          Kaep should now be held to the same standard. Imo, this is a make or break year for CK.

          1. AES,

            I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but in your mind what is the make or break for Kap? What does he need to achieve for you to feel he met your expectations?

            1. rocket,
              Glad you asked bud.
              1. consistency
              2. better field vision
              3. more patience in the pocket
              4. absolute focus on the goal at hand vs getting caught up in emotional run-ins with opposing players (maturity).
              5. developing “touch” on passes that don’t need to be blistered.
              6. don’t force a pass that has little chance of completion because he wants to channel his inner Brett Favre.
              7. run only by design or when there is no other option
              8. take absolute control of the huddle
              9. continue to work during off-season to improve
              10. last but not least; put the offense on his back and do whatever it takes to win.

              All of these points are certainly attainable and if he learns to excel at the very least on two of these, he will be better than last season.

              1. AES,

                Essentially what you are saying is you want him to improve in all facets of his game and that’s fine, but it’s about winning first and foremost and he’s done that. As I’ve pointed out, some are really down on the season he had last year but it wasn’t all that far off from the season he had prior. The difference is they only won 8 games so all of a sudden it’s a much bigger issue.

                I agree that he needs to improve on some of the things you listed, but I also realize that he was a top ten QB playing his way and in the system they will use this year. There has to be improvement from year to year, at least you hope there is, but there also has to be an understanding that what we perceive to be a problem, very often isn’t to the team.

                I will disagree with you and say this is not a make or break year for Kap. The reason is simple: he hasn’t played that poorly, and in fact has played pretty well over the course of the 2 and a half years. When you add in the fact he’s still under 30 and they have no other options on the horizon, it becomes pretty clear he’s likely going to be the Niner QB for the next few years unless he has a career ending injury or completely falls apart and puts some Sanchez like seasons on the board. QB’s who don’t turn the ball over and can move it with both their arm and legs are not in large abundance.

          2. I agree. Last chance for ck. especially with that money. The 49ers will go as far as he can take them. Some might not like it, but this season is on him.

            1. Last chance for what? He was a top ten QB his first year and a half as a starter. I highly doubt he’s going anywhere unless he completely falls apart. I agree they need him to be a major factor but if the Oline doesn’t play well or the defense takes a step back, it’s not going to matter.

              1. He needs to be a better pocket passer. Period!
                I’m all for putting a lot on the o-line and injuries last year. But when they did protect he didn’t do anything to put fear in defenses in that pocket. Way late on reads, way late on throws, way inaccurate on throws, and staring his receivers down. The exact same thing I couldn’t stand about smith. The short leash is because smith didn’t make that money and it wasn’t growing year after year. Sorry bruh. Even with the o-line, coaching and player problems he had times where he could have shown some growth. He didn’t

              2. And I could always go back to Rogers who’s O-line has been horrible. He’s making that money so he should produce with the worth of that money. And he’s not even close to Rogers. If he was I wouldn’t be so impatient.

              3. MD,

                Needing to be better in the pocket is different than saying this is his last chance. Much like you did with Smith, you completely overlook all the games this guy has won, the fact he was top ten before last season and the fact they went away too often from what had worked previously on offense last year. Some of that was based on trying to change and some of it was due to injuries on the Oline and at TE, but even then, there wasn’t much of a difference between 2013-2014 statistically.

                QB’s get big money, that’s just the way it is and Kap is making what the market says he should, in fact he’s making less than the market says he should. Just look at the other QB’s who have put up similar numbers in recent years and you’ll see pretty clearly that he’s actually at the lower end of his value on this deal.

              4. Rocket… I’m not overlooking anything he’s done. He’s a phenomenal player. Not a qb. Again Alex smith didn’t win anything for 5 years. His contract was not this hefty and GROWING.. I think you’re overlooking the money he will be owned after this season. With his escalating pay I escalating play. It’s a pretty well known fact that most elites get it by this season. Yes I do take in account the horrible offense as a whole. I got crap for that and was called a kaeperscuser or whatever they call it. But looking back on the games last year (yes I record them all and watch during the offseason) I watched without emotion knowing the outcome already. And saw times where he could have shined. Even when the o-line wasn’t playing bad. Was he rattled? Could have been. But elites don’t get rattled when given the opportunity to shine. This is year 5 of him being in the league. The same amount of time I gave smith, and any other qb in the league. If you don’t get it by then you never will. I was right about smith. He’s mediocre and has never won anything. It’s not year 7-8 with ck. so my outlook is positive for this season. For you to take it as I’m done with him already is… Well overlooked.
                I’m sure he will be fine I’m pulling for him, but if he doesn’t improve in that pocket this year I’m done and I will bet anyone in here the 49ers will be done also. No way they are paying next years salary with how he’s playing as of now. Let alone if he falls back or slightly improves.
                It’s not a make or break season for just this fan. He will be gone if he has a year like last year or the year before. Book it!

              5. rocket,
                I know that there were extenuating circumstances that played a part in CK’ sub-par season last year, and I’ve been one of the first to voice that in defense of Kaep.
                But if you recall, many here were losing patience with Alex Smith when he was younger in age than is Kaep.

                I said sub-par because even if his numbers were slightly lower last year, the fact remains that they were lower.
                I failed to mention in my top ten and I should have placed this point at the very top – CK needs to find his way in the 4th quarter.

                Whether failed offensive calls or missed assignments, Kaep still has to find a way to win.
                I’m not counting CK out in any way shape or form, I want to see him have a turn-around season and not a replica of last year.

                I don’t adhere to the idea that we have no other options at QB therefore we stick with CK if he has a sub-par season.
                If Kaep falters, we must cut bait start from scratch and see how the dice roll.

              6. If I may Mr Aes… Hook my wagon up to yours.
                Well said. I agree 100 percent. Feel
                The exact same.
                It’s the money next year that has me REALLY hoping he blossoms this season. I really don’t think they keep him without obvious improvment. And all of these retirements might have them blowing this thing up if they play like last year. That could hurt ck if that’s the case. Without obvious improvment. Fingers crossed… But I think this kid will pull through

              7. AES,

                It was subpar compared to his previous season and a half, but it was not a bad season. If he puts up another 20-10 Td to Int, and has similar numbers to last season in the other categories, they aren’t going to dump him. He’s putting up numbers similar to Flacco.

                It’s fine to want more and I hope he does, but those numbers put him in the top half of the league and top ten in rating. Teams don’t dump QBs who achieve that unless they have an even better option backing up. Not the case here.

              8. AES, MD and Rocket,

                I have another extenuating circumstances for you: the 49ers were near the bottom (or actually last, I can’t remember) in number of times they threw more than 20 yards downfield, AND they were similarly near the bottom at throwing the ball to RB’s. Think about that. How much easier can a passing attack be to defend?

              9. “It’s fine to want more and I hope he does, but those numbers put him in the top half of the league and top ten in rating. Teams don’t dump QBs who achieve that unless they have an even better option backing up. Not the case here.”
                ~ rocket

                How much “rope” do you give Kaep this year?
                Would you be satisfied with last years numbers?
                How about his 4th Qtr stats?
                Would a below 500 record warrant dramatic changes if CK does not improve on the above questions?

                I believe that changes would be in order, but that is just one man’s decision.

              10. AES,

                I wouldn’t hold him back at all. Let the guy do his thing both passing and running and see where he can take you.

                I’d like to see numbers similar to 2013 or better, but ultimately it’s what ever it takes to win. The 4th quarter problems need to be rectified but I don’t put that all on Kap. Record is the same deal. If he’s got a 2-1 TD-Int ratio, has a completion percentage of 60+, and gives them a chance to win, I don’t think you can ask for much more in this style of offense.

    1. As noted several times earlier, Reid has been on Twitter saying he was misquoted:

      Eric Reid ‏@E_Reid35 4h4 hours ago
      The media always finds a way to twist your words…they just want you to click on their article

      Eric Reid ‏@E_Reid35 2h2 hours ago
      Just to be clear, I NEVER SAID, “I’ve given some thought to leaving the NFL.” @Eric_Branch

        1. Sorry, didn’t mean to sound harsh. Just wanted to “credit” a couple of people who mentioned it.

    1. Although admittedly the article is posing the possibility rather then making the case for.

    2. “Luck already sees the benefit of having Gore in the huddle. He gushed to Darlington about the runner’s pristine pass-protection and knowledge of the playbook, and told that Gore has “picked up on a bunch of stuff that guys who have been here three years haven’t picked up.”‘

      That’s Frank.

      1. Yeah, Frank’s “football” smarts are well known. I think in the 2014 playoffs against Carolina, Frank had worked with Vernon on that touchdown pass opportunity prior to it actually happening. I was hoping Frank would retire and stay on as an assistant. We’ll probably never know to what extent they’ll miss Frank’s insights.

      2. Grimey9er,
        Yep, I miss our true Warrior already. Hope FG get’s his SB ring this year, unless by some probable miracle he plays against the 49ers.

    3. Franks blocking is the part many are overlooking in his value. There isn’t a better blocking RB in the league.

        1. OREGON,
          Howz it going bud! Can you send some water over to California (lol).

          I like “Pop” Tartt a lot, but labeling him as our Troy Polomalu is a tall order. If JT can come close to playing at 75% of TP’ level we’ll have a special player.
          I pray we are not getting Taylor Mays 2.0. who was a big banger coming out of college.
          Mays had good strait-line speed but had tight hips making him a liability when moving laterally.

          Tartt’ highlight footage does show him moving from sideline to sideline very efficiently which bodes well.

          1. Hello AES

            ‘Wish I could accomodate your request for water, but here in Southern Oregon, it’s almost as dry as Northern Cali. Troy was from here in Oregon and we would watch him play at Douglas High school….He was just about all that they did have. Tartt reminds me a lot of him, what with the “hit first; ask questions later” attitude. I realize the blasphemous sound of it, but almost like my all-time favorite…Ronnie Lott. Like you, I’m hoping that we don’t end up with another Taylor Mays.

            I hope you Summer is a good one….

            1. OREGON,
              Thank you sir. Summer has already started here in the Central Valley, 106 on Monday!

              Been a tough week, Mom passed away this past Sunday. Lived to ripe age of 95 and went peacefully to be with her Lord as she would often pray for.

              I counted her as a “behind the scenes 49ers fan” as she would often prepare the meals for us before catching the games on TV when she was younger.
              She will be missed, but no sadness for us because she lived a fulfilling and happy life!

              1. Beautiful, AES. She left her family at Peace as she went to her own. That might define a successful life. Best to your family.

              2. AES

                My sincerest condolences on losing your mum….You did have her for a good long time though….I’m watching a f

                Good thoughts….riends mother who is 93 and beginning that slide…I was over to see her about a week ago and delivered a ‘command concert’ to her…She likes my picking, so I’m on call….

              3. OREGON,
                Thanks for the kind words. Hope your mom is doing well bud.

                We may not always agree on 49ers topics, but we certainly agree when it comes to caring and loving our family.

  12. The big question is what to do about right tackle.we got Pears and Brown as option. They should sign a RT before TC

    1. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Boone RT for the year while grooming T Brown . Grant any news on Brandon Thomas?

    1. Hammer,
      Yes sir!
      Although I am a little disappointed in my Warriors at the moment. Too much one-on-one play, missed 3 point shots and lackadaisical passing (especially by Curry) is uncharacteristic of their style of play.

      Btw, going up against the best player on the planet that is motivated in bringing a Championship to Cleveland after nearly a 60 yr drought is proving to be a tall order.
      Andrew Bogut is getting schooled by Mozgov and Dellavedova is draping Curry. Except for Iguodala, the other players have yet to step up or the Cavs will be hoisting the trophy.

      But aside from the Warriors, go SFGiants, and 49ers!

          1. KauaiRobert,
            Sorry, hit wrong button. But I totally agree, the Warriors are beating themselves by playing completely out of character.
            Hoping they can regroup by this time tomorrow!

  13. Barrows article on Marcus Martin:


    Martin, who had what can politely be called a Rubenesque build when he started eight games at center as a rookie last season, has a leaner look this year in both body and face. Last year, he said, he played in the 330-pound range. He is currently in the 320s with the intention of getting into the three-teens by the start of the season.

    Martin, 21, said he worked out with tight end Vernon Davis during the offseason, and he credits Davis for rounding him into the best shape of his life.

    “It’s a whole different mentality, a whole different level of fitness,” Martin said. “Coming in, coach (Jim) Tomsula told us that he was going to be the only fat guy in the room. And that hit home: You had to get in shape and get right.”

    His new fitness level is a necessity this season. Tomsula has stressed a fast-paced tempo by the offense, and incoming offensive line coach Chris Foerster wants his pupils to be mobile above all else.

    “He wants his guys moving, flying, you know?” Martin said. “Every play, you line up and get off the ball. That’s his biggest thing: Don’t hesitate, don’t pause. There’s no slowing down with him; there’s only speeding up.”

    1. In terms of endearment, while emphasizing fitness, Tomsula tells his men he will be the only fat man in the room. Golden….

      1. If he would really like to get some respect or tough play from his team he should go on a diet and start a weight lifting program. Idk I’d be more motivated if my fat coach was smashing some iron with me.

    2. I love Jim T’s line that he wants to be the only fat guy in the room. We’ll have to see how he does with game management and in game adjustments, but I like old JT.
      Originally I thought Gore wasn’t too smart because he isn’t well spoken; speaks street. Then I figured out he’s football Yota. Those who look at that first presser to pass judgement on Tomsula are in for a surprise. I think he knows what he needs to know about football.

      1. Can’t remember where I read it, but some 49er players considered Gore the smartest player on the team. The most qualified to go into coaching some day. But Gore doesn’t want to coach.

        The Colts have a smart RB paired with a smart QB. I’m excited to see how it turns out.

    3. Thanks for the link George…

      I haven’t heard too much about Martin this season and he’s one of the ones I’m most excited about. I like him at RG while Boone slides over to the Right.

      I know JT has really been talking up Pears but if he wins a spot on the starting 5 then I think we have serious issues on the line. Pears has consistently been solid at pass blocking, but a terrible run-blocker. Not a good fit at RT.

  14. Grant how about a piece on who will be the 49ers 4-5 captains? For the Niners to do anything substantial this year, I think all 5 guys need to have career years. Here is my prediction:

    1. Colin Kaepernick
    2. Navorro Bowman
    3. Vernon Davis
    4. Joe Staley
    5. Antoine Bethea

  15. Thanks for the updates Grant, keep them coming!
    I am getting more excited for football, and even the Warriors loss won’t temper it…. ugh on that loss though- too slow to bring Lee and Barbosa in who contribute scoring in the paint.

  16. When there’s press conferences and mini camps there’s usually a blizzard of Matt Maiocco articles. He hasn’t made a peep.

    Then I saw this from Barrows

    Is Maiocco in Cleveland covering GSW? Getting promoted, demoted, transferred? Get in a fight with Marcus Martin over who’s truly the “Real Double Ms?”

  17. Mindi Bach ✔ @MBachCSN
    #49ers Alex Boone getting work at LG Jim Tomsula says “more for the footwork & the stance and working to create some depth” along the OLine

  18. Barrows’ article re Boldin:


    Boldin, a 12-year veteran, spent the voluntary portion of the offseason in his native Florida. He arrived this week and during Tuesday’s session was struck by how much faster the team is at wideout.

    “Not only Torrey but a guy like Jerome Simpson,” Boldin said. “You’ve got (tight end) Vernon (Davis) and these guys are flying around. Definitely seeing a lot more speed on the outside. Like I said, it will open a lot of things up for us.”

    Read more here:

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