The good and not so good from 49ers OTAs: Week 1

1

SANTA CLARA

Here’s what stood out to me Tuesday.

THE GOOD

1. QB Brian Hoyer. I haven’t seen a 49ers quarterback play this well during practice since Alex Smith was on the team. Hoyer was in total command of the offense, made quick decisions in the pocket and completed 13-of-15 passes during team drills. Both of his incomplete passes were long throws intended for Marquise Goodwin, who stopped running during one play because he seemed to injure his hamstring. More on Goodwin below. Hoyer clearly is the best quarterback on the 49ers roster and seems on track to have a good season if he stays healthy.

2. CB Keith Reaser. I expected veteran Dontae Johnson or rookie third-round pick Ahkello Witherspoon would replace Tramaine Brock in the starting lineup, but I was wrong. Reaser replaced Brock. Reaser started on the right side of the defense, opposite second-year corner Rashard Robinson, and didn’t allow a single catch. Reaser seems to have a good chance to make the final roster, as opposed to Dontae Johnson, who may be on the bubble. Johnson probably will compete with rookie seventh-round pick Adrian Colbert for one spot.

3. WR Jeremy Kerley. When the 49ers traded for Anquan Boldin in 2013, he dominated practices the moment he arrived on the team, sometimes making seven or eight catches in an afternoon. I thought Pierre Garcon would have a similar impact this offseason, but so far he hasn’t done much. The 49ers’ best receiver has been Jeremy Kerley. Most of the time he faces starting nickelback K’Waun Williams, who simply can’t cover him. Look for Kerley to be a go-to player on third downs.

4. FS Lorenzo Jerome. The undrafted rookie intercepted a pass for the second time in front of the media this offseason. Today, he picked off third-round pick C.J. Beathard, who threw behind his intended receiver, Victor Bolden. Jerome always seems in the right place to make a play, unlike starting free safety Jimmie Ward, whom I haven’t seen make any plays yet this offseason. Maybe Ward is still learning his new position.

5. RB Tim Hightower. Hightower split time on the first-team offense with incumbent starter Carlos Hyde, who never seemed to find a hole Tuesday afternoon. Hyde mostly ran into the backs of his blockers or got tagged by defenders behind the line of scrimmage. Hightower was more successful. He found a hole and broke through the defense for a 60-yard touchdown run. He seems more comfortable than Hyde in Shanahan’s outside zone running scheme, which makes sense because Hightower has experience in it and Hyde is still adjusting.

6. RB Kapri Bibbs. Like Hightower, Bibbs found a hole and ran through the defense for a long touchdown. And like Hightower, Bibbs has experience in the 49ers’ current style of running game. Bibbs and Hightower were the best running backs on the field today.

After practice, Shanahan explained how he assesses running backs during OTAs when players don’t tackle or wear pads: “There is an art to hitting the right gap, running full speed and going to where the guy in the defense is out of position. I always joke with the backs, I can see it every time when I have a remote in my hand and it’s very slow. I can say, ‘Oh, you should have gone there.’ No one plays running back with a remote in their hand – they just run and it comes natural. So, you try to see who naturally runs to the right spots. There are guys who aren’t the most-flashy running backs to the naked eye, but for some reason they have a better yards-per-carry then everyone else does and that’s because they get to the right hole and it’s always four yards, six yards. And whatever the offense blocks for them, they usually get two more. So, we try to see who the most natural runners are, who it’s not too big for and their conditioning and how hard they go.”

THE NOT SO GOOD

1. DE Aaron Lynch. Two weeks ago, I wrote that Lynch was “a cool 20 pounds overweight,” and guessed that he weighed at least 290. Today, he looked a bit trimmer, but not much, and he played only with backups.

After practice, here’s what Lynch told reporters: “I came in heavy, but I’m working my a– off to get down to where my coaches want me to get down to…I’ve still got a long ways to go.”

Q: What is the coaching staff’s target weight for you?

LYNCH: “270, 260. In that range.”

Q: And what are you right now?

LYNCH: “I’m like more in the 280s right now.”

That means Lynch still has to lose between 15 and 20 pounds to make the team.

2. WR Marquise Goodwin. During seven-on-sevens, Goodwin stopped running mid-play and grabbed his left hamstring. He returned to practice, but caught just one pass and played sporadically. In four seasons, Goodwin already has missed 25 games due to various injuries, including a pulled hamstring in 2014. The Niners are depending on him to stay healthy this season. Can he do it?

3. RT Garry Gilliam. The Niners signed Garry Gilliam because he’s fast, which makes him a better fit for Shanahan’s outside-zone running game than last year’s starting right tackle Trent Brown, who isn’t fast. But Brown is a good pass-protector, and Gilliam isn’t. Today, Gilliams was horrible. Couldn’t block Arik Armstead or Ronald Blair, who pushed him into the quarterback easily.

4. QB Matt Barkley. The 49ers backup quarterback completed just 7-of-12 passes, sailed two throws about five feet over the heads of his intended targets and fumbled once even though the defense couldn’t touch him. I’m still not sure how Barkley pulled off that last one.

5. QB C.J. Beathard. The controversial third-round pick completed only three passes in eight attempts and threw one interception. He seems like he’ll need at least one year on the bench before he can play.

This article has 163 Comments

  1. My favorite part about the updated site is that the archives now go all the way back:

    Here’s a little perspective for you:

    Day 1 of the OTA’s last year.
    THE GOOD

    1. QB Blaine Gabbert. Drew three encroachment penalties with his hard count, went through his reads and frequently completed passes to the second or third receiver in the progression and released the ball quickly and decisively. Attempted five deep passes and completed three of them – one to Bruce Ellington, one to Bryce Treggs and one to Torrey Smith for a touchdown.

    2. OG Joshua Garnett. Practiced for the first-time as a member of the 49ers. Played right guard for the third-team offense and held his own against fellow rookie first-round pick DeForest Buckner when Buckner played with the third-team defense.

    3. DE DeForest Buckner. Played the first half of practice with the third-team base defense, then played the second of half of practice with the second-team nickel defense. Probably just a matter of weeks until he plays with the first-team nickel defense. The only player in his way is Tony Jerod-Eddie.

    4. RB Carlos Hyde. Made three catches out of the backfield, including a shoe-string catch on low a pass thrown by Blaine Gabbert. Don’t be shocked if Hyde catches 50 passes next season. He clearly is the 49ers’ best running back in all situations.

    5. WR Bruce Ellington. Led the team in catches as he’s done most of the offseason. Caught seven passes today including a deep touchdown pass from Blaine Gabbert.

    6. WR Dres Anderson. Beat Jimmie Ward with a slant route, beat Rashard Robinson with a shallow crossing route then beat Robinson again with a double move to the outside. Finished practice with five catches during team drills and was by far the Niners’ most productive split end.

    7. WR Bryce Treggs. Made three deep catches including a deep touchdown grab on third-and-7 toward the end of practice. Also blew by Keith Reaser for a deep catch toward the beginning of practice. I fully expect Treggs to make the final roster.

    8. TE Bruce Miller. Made six catches – more than any other player during practice except Ellington. Miller caught mostly short passes, although he could have caught a deep pass after beating an outside linebacker down the sideline with a wheel route. Thad Lewis simply overthrew the pass.

    9. TE Vance McDonald. Caught four passes and dropped none. Actually watched the ball hit his hands before turning his head and running up field. I’m as surprised as you are.

    THE NOT SO GOOD

    1. QB Colin Kaepernick. Practiced for the first time this offseason and looked like Captain America before the government experiments. Skinny. No heavier than 215 pounds. Participated in 7-on-7 drills and threw an interception right to Kenneth Acker, who was trailing Jerome Simpson on a post route. Simpson was open, but the pass was late and behind him.

    2. QB Jeff Driskel. Indecisive. Held the ball forever in the pocket and frequently seemed to look to scramble, which is not what Chip Kelly wants his quarterbacks to do.

    3. FS Eric Reid. Let an interception fly through his hands and let Torrey Smith fly right by him for a deep touchdown catch. Seemed to play a couple of snaps at nickel back while Antoine Bethea played free safety and Jaquiski Tartt played strong safety.

    4. CB Jimmie Ward. Gave up a first-down catch on third-and-eight to Quinton Patton, who ran a deep out route – the route that has given Ward problems this offseason. Also gave up a short catch to Dres Anderson who was running a slant.

    5. CB Rashard Robinson. Gave up four catches today after giving up just one in front of the media during OTAs. Robinson seems to excel defending deep routes down the sideline, but he struggled today defending routes over the middle.

    Posted in Inside the 49ers

    1. “QB Colin Kaepernick. Practiced for the first time this offseason and looked like Captain America…”

      Ha! Kaptain America, oh the irony.

    2. Sounds like Gabbert and Garnett are going to be pretty good for us.

      Love people getting excited over OTA reports.

  2. Always look forward to practice reports, even though I tell myself to under react to them.

    Goodwin seems to be from the “fast but fragile” segment of players. One reason I was so-so about drafting Lattimore or Ross. If those two stay healthy they will shine.

  3. On the subject of weight, some report Armstead looks a bit leaner compared to last season. Is that your take?

    I’m all for trying Armstead at various positions, but I don’t want him to have to reinvent himself every season like Carradine.

    1. I think Carradine really struggled because they made him bulk up as he recovered from his knee injury. I don’t expect that to be an issue for Armstead.

  4. Hmm, lot to digest. Reaser was a surprise, and i wonder if Hyde is fully healthy. Lynch, Goodwin and Gilliam are disappointments, but it is just one practice, so I hope they improve.
    .
    The fact that the 2 QBs did not do well may open the door for some one else, especially if he improves the team.

    1. Ha! Don’t forget you predict Barkley will take over for Hoyer at season’s start. And you, all knowledgeable and wise, can see the QB future perfectly after Grant’s immediate post. Let’s see, May 23…just a bit early yet, no?

      1. Yes, Cassie, it is the first practice, and I expected Hoyer to do well. Last thing the Niners need is for their starting QB to come out and throw 4 picks, like his last playoff game. They will allow him to make completions to avoid any controversy and bolster the whole team’s confidence. At least, that is the strategy I would have pursued to begin the OTAs.
        .
        Imagine if he had done as well as CJB, there would already be a QB controversy. Interesting to see the new players, and maybe Adam Peters poached a good one with Bibbs. I think I had Reaser on my 53 when we speculated rosters months ago.

        1. Yeah, Lynch and Shanahan asked the defense to have Hoyer shine brightly by laying off. I’m sure the DC was all-in too…

          1. Gotta perform well for the media……Makes sense to have the offense do well, and it is not that hard to do.
            .
            Sounds like the second string had a lot more spirited competition.
            .
            Glad to hear that Garnett had some snaps at LG, his natural position.

        2. Hoyer was good but not spectacular. That’s his ceiling. Shanny will help him hit that ceiling. Hoyer will be consistently good this year. Barkley won’t start.

    2. Gilliam is not going to improve. He is that one pickup by our dynamic duo that I have questioned from the moment it was started to completion. When the Hawks are shedding an offensive lineman, you can be damned sure that he is absolutely useless…
      The brightest red flag went up when the Hawks actually phoned the 49ers to let them know before the 48hour waiting period ended that they had no problem with them signing Garry Softness immediately if they like. I pray that they cut him. What if he actually ends up entering a game?!!!!

  5. Another great report Grant!

    No surprise about Aaron Lynch. I guessed he might be about 15lbs above weight. He seems to understand he needs to shed some weight and I suspect (apprehensively) that he’ll get there by the time training camp rolls around.

    Great to hear about Jerome. Though he’s not a guy who’s athletic numbers jump off the chart, some guys just have a knack for the game of football. Lorenzo seems to be one of those guys, a “natural” is one way to describe him, and that’s great news because I had some serious questions about roster depth at that spot.

    I’ve always been a fan of Tim Hightower. In fact, I had a debate with one of your readers about Tim a couple weeks back. I feel like he’s looked a lot like he did prior to his infection, and less like a 30 year old RB, since his recovery. He’s never been a star, but he’s always been a quality well rounded RB when healthy. Does he look fairly fresh for a guy his age Grant? I ask this because, as you know, he had a knee infection that sidelined him for a couple seasons, so he might be a guy who’s body, in reality, has less “wear on the tires” than his age would suggest.

    As for Bibbs, the knock on him has always been lack of anything resembling breakaway speed. Does he look quicker than fast Grant, and do you think he’s got enough speed for this system? We know Kyle prefers speedier RB’s as opposed to power RB’s.

    Thanks!

    1. BTW, I don’t expect Garcon to push himself until training camp. We know what he’s capable of, and so does Kyle. No reason to push himself right now, IMO.

      Jeremy Kerley is seriously underrated as a slot receiver. He was flat out sensational on 3rd downs last season, all things considered. Baalke absolutely sucked-a_s at a lot of GM related things, but if there’s one thing he did well, it’s being able to find productive players via trade when he’s in a pinch. Kerley was an unbelievable pick up last season and I find it astonishing that Baalke was able to acquire him for nothing more than a bum of an OL, Brandon Thomas, who was likely going to be released anyways. Especially considering the 49ers WR corps was in DIRE straights when he traded for Kerley in late August. I see a lot of potential in Taylor, but Kerley is a lock to start in the slot this season, and I expect he’s going to continue to be a stud on 3rd downs!

        1. Get your chicks for free ……

          I always thought this was a funny line of lyrics because in my life’s experience, aint no thing as “chicks for free”.

          Thanks for the spelling correction guys.

      1. I really liked Kerley last year. He made some spectacular catches of horribly thrown balls to keep things going. Too bad the guy didn’t have a QB worthy of being called a QB..

        1. The WR unit is also a mystery to me. I think we know what we will get from Kerley and Garcon. But what about the other guys? I don’t see any of them being big time playmakers where a catch and taking it to the house type capability is there.
          I like TT as a complimentary slot WR but he is small. Reminds me of the kid from Dallas. Still think we need a big time possession type WR.

      1. He looks slower than a 4.67 in that touchdown run. I think that was more about poorer tackling from the raiders than anything spectacular by Bibbs on the TD run. Not impressed.

      2. Hand times are wrong. The NFL has done actual work on it at the combine where they scouts hand-time players while running the official time. You need to add at least 0.1 to every 40. Some scouts were so bad that that they were off 0.225.

        The average error was around 0.175.

        So add the average error to 4.44… And the error-adjusted hand-timed is very close at 4.62.

  6. Wonder if Goodwin struggles, will it open a spot for Ellington. When Healthy, Ellington did well, especially on those quick slants.

      1. Bruce Ellington ran a 4.31 forty. He does have talent. His problem is staying healthy. Maybe if they do not use him on KRs and PRs, he will stay healthy.

  7. Wake me up when TC gets here. Even then I just want to know who’s healthy and who isn’t. Not a big fan of Beathard or Barkley. I wish they would trade or cut Reid. My favorite WRs are Bolden, Kerley, Garcon, Taylor, Robinson and Goodwin. However Goodwin will never stay healthy and that’s to bad because he finally has an average QB throwing to him. Love the Witherspoon pick as I think he and Robinson could make a dangerous CB combo. If Ward struggles at FS I guess he could always move back to slot CB. Besides we have LJ who can play FS but may not have the speed some desire. Who cares if he is always around the rock??? Love the DL and TE groups. I will never be concerned about the RB position with a Shanahan in control of the offense.

    1. Hey, Grant Cohn Is Next Level Genius, we need to get you a Grant Cohn avatar! Maybe Grant’s mug with Einstein’s hair, although Grant’s hair in his avatar photo is definitely next level.

  8. How did the defense line up, who was where?

    Barrows says Armstead was playing Leo.

    1. Armstead was the Leo when they played an Under front and the 4i when they played an Over front.

      1. I heard that Armstead recorded 1 “sack” today. Do you recall if it came from the LEO position or 4i (which, correct me if I am wrong, is essentially lined up on the inside of the OT and responsible for the “a” gap) in the Over Front?

          1. Seems like Armstead would work nicely at 4i. I’ve heard Thomas is also pegged at 4i, but will be moved around. Like Michael Bennett.

          2. OK, yah, B gap, got it. Good knowledge Grant Cohn!

            One of the biggest offseason questions ….. can Armstead handle the Leo? Stay tuned!

      2. I know it’s hard to gauge anything at this point but what % are you seeing the two fronts? Or better yet, what situations are they choosing one versus the other.

          1. Hard to work with such a small sample size. The defense lining up we’ll make the pre-season less meaningless.

    1. Gasp! We were ready to keel-haul KS over his fixation with the offense…QBs in particular.

      1. No, you were sucking up to him, kissing his rear end, and left a brown smudge on your nose.
        .
        I sure am glad he reads this blog, and is finally acting like a HC.
        .
        Still want him to hire an OC, because they need all the help they can get.

        1. Let me get this right… You’re confident Shanahan reads Grant’s blog (and by extension all others)? And so, reading Grant’s blog is making Shanahan a better HC as a result?

          Let’s ask Grant to ask the “do you read my blog” question at Shanahan’s next presser.

            1. Yeah. It’s kinda fun though when one comes across unabashed buffoonery. It’s like finding a cool fossil in a road cut, or a pristine 1957 Franklin half dollar in change.

              1. Well, considering that after I wrote my post about 10 things Lynch should do during the draft, then seeing him use it as a blueprint that actually had him garnering 2018 second and third round picks, I have every right to think they do read these posts, especially since ol’ Jed admitted he reads them, and gets the message, loud and clear.
                .
                I mentioned that KS should act like a HC, and finally, he started to do that. Sure, he may have done that without my posts, but he did exactly what I wanted him to do.

              2. Yeah, before I went to bed last night I “commanded” the Sun to rise in the morning. See my power? (Seb logic)

              3. Then by Seb standards you can claim a win! Hats off to you for commanding the sun to rise. I’ll write a note and stick it on my bathroom mirror–suggesting that water drain from the wash basin. If it does drain next time I put water in in…bingo! The water read my suggestion.

                Season can’t get here soon enough!

              4. You can’t reason with a delusional narcissist guys. He is bat sh*t crazy and is living in his own reality. Best thing we can do is just pretend he doesn’t exist and avoid the nonsense. I have started skimming past his posts entirely and find I get through the entries much faster :)

              5. No, Cassie, he cannot claim he won, because he did not manage to upset me so much so I would hurl expletives.

                BT knows I am THAT guy, the one he would send out on point to take the first bullet so he could survive. Another profile in courage, fighting a pointless war that the US ended up losing because the soldiers turned against each other, and when the people back home finally ended the quagmire with their protests against the insanity, and futility.
                .
                BT thinks he is smart to predict the sun will rise in the morning.
                .
                I just think that is simplistic thinking.

              6. Wow… Seb’s letting it all hang out today–well timed with Kaep’s workout in Seattle. I can understand how raw emotion is welling up within him–clouding his faculties, allowing him to be less inhibited and increasingly dangerous.

                If you need a Kleenex, just ask. Need anyone to call 911 for you?

              7. Cassie, I am just calling it like I see it. You, Prime, BT, Rocket and Moses will be gob smacked because you think the present Niner QBs are superior to Kaep.
                .
                Keep your Kleenex, to wipe that egg off your face.

            2. Eddie himself denied that he ever read the green section, then years later said he doted on every word. Just par for the course.

      1. There in lies the problem with him at Leo for me. He will be highly reliant on getting push from the bull rush, rather than getting the edge. Makes him very one dimensional, which most good OTs should have little trouble with.

        1. I’d rather Armstead be a (high quality) rotational player rather than play out of position.

        2. Just to put this out there, but PFF has graded (two years now) Armstead of the NFL’s most productive pass-rushing 3-4 DEs. Including out-scoring JT Watt during in 2015. At that point in time he did pass-rush against a lot of OTs.

          So I think your pessimism (of those who have outrageous optimism) is unwarranted and, for now, we should just wait-and-see.

          1. His pass rush grade is as an interior defender. Where he is best suited. Not as a true edge defender such as he will be asked to play as the Leo. So yes, my concern is warranted.

            1. Agreed Scooter. Armstead is best suited at 3T in this scheme, but Buckner is better. Armstead could be the second 3T in sub packages, but I assume Thomas will be better. If Lynch is commited, he would be a better fit than Armstead at LEO. Since Armstead is terrible against the run, he doesn’t fit at strong side DE.

              Assuming Lynch is ready, I think Armstead will be a rotational player.

      2. Staley have glowing accounts of Armstead’s practice rush before the shoulder injury. Hope it’s coming along.

        1. B2W

          Consider that Armstead knows that neither he nor Staley will be worth poop if they beat each other up.. we need both of them strong…..Book this….ARMSTEAD WILL BE MONSTER THIS SEASON

  9. Things can change but Hyde, McDonald, and Zuttah played with the 1st unit. It’s their jobs to lose.

  10. Like the good news on Reaser. Hell with all the cuts I couldn’t even remember if he was on the team or not. He has good bloodlines so hopefully they’ll start to prove out on the field now.

    How is Blair looking?

  11. I am pulling for Reid to see less playing time. Hopefully Reid can be supplanted this year by a faster more physical safety who knows the best route from A to B.

  12. Great report, Grant. I hear they’re having daily weight training competitions instead of ping pong.

  13. Watched the KS interview, and was not only impressed with the questions, but the answers, too.

    Sounds like they are well prepared, and the entire team is fired up.
    .
    Did Grant ask the Running back question?
    .
    How were the plays laid out? Did they do more 11 on 11, or 7 on 7?

  14. Watched the KS interview. I was not only impressed by the questions, but also the answers.too.

    Did Grant ask the running back question?
    .
    How were the plays laid out? Did they do more 11 on 11, or 7 on 7?

    1. I did ask the running back question.

      They seemed to practice running plays and play action first (11 on 11), then 7 on 7, then situational 11 on 11 (1st down, 2nd down, 3rd down).

      1. Sounded like Shanahan has a very specific criteria for his running backs. One of those being a natural ability to read the block and follow the hole all the way through. The next was conditioning.

        2 traits Carlos Hyde has struggled with since being a 49er.

        1. Yep. Vision is extremely important in the stretch zone game. That’s why Alfred Morris and Arian Foster were so good in this scheme.

            1. I think so. Hightower and Bibbs had the best vision yesterday, which makes sense because they have the most experience in this system.

              1. Sure is nice to have some depth in talent.
                .
                Unlike Baalke, who declared that he saw no need to draft an ILB

      2. Thank you. Some others mentioned that the practice was a little sloppy, with mistakes. Wonder if you agree.
        .
        Maybe the play was sloppy, especially for the second string, but I wonder how the practice went organizationally. I guess moving players all around can lead to some confusion.
        .
        Also,what is your assessment of the coaches?

        1. There were a few offside/false start penalties, and a few times the offense had to leave the line of scrimmage and go back to the huddle. But Hoyer was on point.

      3. It’s going to take both Hyde and Williams time to get comfortable in this system imo. Neither is used to running behind a FB or playing in a traditional 2 back formation with the QB under center. The good thing is most RB’s who have had a chance to play in the system have had success.

  15. All this love for Hoyer is misguided……Im with seb…..#7 deserves to at least compete. Yeah I get hes not a fit for the system, who cares….get him in the field and I bet he outperforms Hoyer by a mile. There should be outrage amongst the faithful about our qb situation, despite the glowing predictions of a good year.

    1. TY. Hoyer may be a practice warrior, but in his lone playoff game, he threw the ball like the DBs were the intended receivers. He crumbled under pressure, with 5 turnovers, and solely lost that game despite having the number 3 defense.
      .
      Niners better watch out. If they leave him twisting in the wind, he may decide to take less, just to have the opportunity to play against them, because I consider it another stab in the back. He will go to a team that likes and appreciates him, instead of a team that even during the draft, smeared him by questioning if he really wants to play, as King reported. Good ol’ Paraag just put his foot in his mouth, again, and it sure sounded like he was the source of another leak and smear.
      .
      The Seahawks have shown interest, and I fully expect Pete Carroll is smart enough to utilize him properly. Wilson even says he does not mind, and PC will devise plays that have both players on the field, for a quadruple threat. PC will not sheathe a potent weapon.
      .
      Jed, as the owner, should show some leadership. He should prove to me that he really wants to win. Maybe he is mad that the Kaep situation forced him to donate a million dollars to charity, but then we will be reminded of how cheap he is, like the FL debacle. Jed told us that he would do everything in his power to try and win. Sitting on his hands with the present QBs just does not cut it. Maybe he wants to be rewarded with another high draft position. Personally, I hope the Niners draft last every season.
      .
      It sure was telling to hear that KS had the QBs run bootlegs. Sounds like he is devising schemes that fit perfectly with Kaep’s strengths. Too bad Barkley and CJB did not perform well, so they are amply demonstrating that Kaep is already superior to them.
      .
      The Niners should just pay Kaep the same amount as Hoyer, and stop being so cheap, especially with even more cap space as last year. They should make it a -prove it contract, with assurances to write another contract if it is proving to work out. They should make it a competition, and if Hoyer beats out Kaep, I will cheer him on to help the Niners win games. It would be nice to have Kaep practice with the team, especially since there are so many new receivers. Maybe they are using these practices to gauge the talent of the present QBs, but they are whistling in the dark while walking past the graveyard. IMHO.
      .
      Lynch says that the QB position is crucial for success. So far, he has done very little to improve that position. He still has time, but he cannot leave the door open too long, or some team will pick him up.
      The Seahawk situation may force his hand, because he will say that he would rather have Kaep play for him, than against him.

  16. Hi Grant.

    Do you have anything to say about Smelter (good or bad) ? Especially on how he improved at running routes

    1. He didn’t make any catches during team drills. He seems to be moving better than last year, though.

  17. I would caution that this was just one practice and none contact one at that. Players often light it up in practice for a week and then disappear the rest of the year. Players have good days and bad ones. Also players with experience in this system would be way ahead and naturally would look better.

  18. Looks like CK is meeting with the Seahawks in Seattle today. Could he be the next Jim Plunkett? A QB whose career seemed over but was able to rehab his career and reputation. I believe that Seattle is the only place it could happen but as a betting man I wouldn’t lay my hard earned money on it.

        1. Nah, Lynch can easily outbid the Seahawks. They have 7 mil in cap space, but still must sign their rookies.
          .
          Like I will say for the umpteenth time. Lynch will just have to decide whether he wants Kaep to play for him, or against him.

            1. No, Lynch said he has left that door open, in a positive and exciting way.
              .
              I am sure Kaep wants to return, because here, he will have a good chance to win a starting job. At Seattle, he will have to be the second string, although I bet PC will devise plays that have Kaep lining up in the back field so he can pose the flea flicker threat.

              1. He has no chance. Shanahan shut that door with his comments about both Kaepernick and RGIII. Both of whom he said require specialized offenses to succeed and he’s not going that way.

              2. Moses Seb only brings up the return of old wind up because its his way of garnering attention.
                True story! Don’t feed the insanity

              3. Moses, last season that may have been true. Baalke was too stubborn to change.
                .
                However, this season, and especially during the draft, we heard how Lynch could be persuaded to change his mind. KS also stated that the QB is of paramount concern, and everything depends on getting the right QB.
                .
                If he wants competition , Kaep would give all 4 present QBs a daunting challenge, and he has stated many times that he wants to improve the team. No player is safe from being cut, especially with 20 new FAs and a stellar draft.

              4. Prime, you must be getting nervous. Kaep may come back to the Niners.
                .
                Lynch is smart, and he will just decide that he will want Kaep to play for him, rather than against him. It sure was telling that Lynch mentioned that Kaep almost signed with another team, but the deal fell through.
                .
                Glad these OTAs are here, and they now have tape on the players. Surely, they will make the proper assessments. Those poor passes just put Barkley on thin ice.
                .
                Better watch out, a storm may be coming….

              5. Seb… This must be hard for you…Kaep in Seattle today; your insistence that Lynch will snatch Kaep back–that likelihood draining away by the second, like grains of sand through an hourglass; you hurling stats about and pleading/bleating your case for at least the 100th time since February. So hard for you. So harsh.

              6. Sorry Seb. I will not fuel your need for attention. Go bark crazy elsewhere. The real 49ers fan are backing the QB’s in camp and working.

              7. Prime, you spewed hate against the starting 49er QB, yet now you think the present QBs are above reproach. How deliciously ironic.

                This is why I think you do not have a scintilla of common sense, much less football knowledge.
                .
                You are the guy who wanted the Niners to draft Trubisky. I was the one who wanted them to trade back, garner additional picks and still get the player they coveted.

            2. Someone here is desperate and awaiting Hickey (Kap) with the pipe dream of Lynch’s open door (a throw away comment followed by one that stated the door was closing fast something lost on some) like the characters in the play The Iceman Cometh with similar results…

              Sad…

              1. Summer of 1975… Some classic rock ballads back then, like ‘Holding On To Yesterday’. Seb, kick back with whatever you’re medicating with, close your eyes, and listen…

                Well I keep holding on to yesterday
                I keep holding on enough to say that I’m wrong
                I keep thinking that I’m lonely
                But it’s only missing you inside

              2. Hmm, thought you wanted to ignore my posts. Guess you think that being a sycophant is an admirable trait. Trying to look smart by piling on really backfires, especially with your flawed reasoning. You and all the other Baalke toadies are like the characters in that play.
                .
                You may call Lynch a liar, I will just take him at his word. Things change. Circumstances change. Lynch said that before many options had closed, and he has the capacity to change his mind.

            1. I see that the dunce has returned in all of his jabbering vainglory, like an old sock with an unraveling hole.

  19. Grant,
    I’m surprised you didn’t have anything to say about your man Williams. Did he practice? How bout Tartt?

    1. Williams practiced and he found some holes. Breida as well. Neither had any long touchdown runs, though.

      Tartt played with the backups along with Lorenzo Jerome, Dontae Johnson and Ahkello Witherspoon.

  20. The best position group competitions I am looking forward to:

    1. Right guard and left guard.
    2. The entire secondary. I don’t think anyone is a lock at any position: safety or corner.
    3. Inside LB
    4. OLB: is Lynch even going to make team?
    5. The entire d line. We need sacks and more sacks for this defense to have a chance

    1. Lynch is one of the most talented players on the team. However, he’s had character (motivational) issues (among others) from his early college career.

  21. Sando has a great article on the difference of perception of Kaepernick from the football guys and the fans/chattering-morons-known-as-the-press.

    The 2015 Quarterback Tiers survey featuring input from 35 league insiders has Kaepernick ranked 18th, four spots lower than the year before. Coaches and evaluators agree that Kaepernick has never shown an ability to beat opponents from the pocket, which is a big concern.

    “This [past] year, Harbaugh allowed Kaepernick to get exposed a little by trying to have him be the centerpiece of the offense instead of what he does naturally: running,” a pro personnel director says. “He had him pressing to throw the ball. It showed his arm strength but also his inaccuracy as a thrower. That is not going to get better. He cannot be a [second-tier QB] by being a dropback quarterback.”

    I was at that point before he was drafted. I saw how he played in the NFL. I still don’t see how it wasn’t so f***ing entirely obvious to everyone that the hype train started. He was a gimmick QB with no pocket skills. And that just doesn’t work for long in the NFL.

    1. So why was KS practicing his QBs running bootlegs? That sure does not sound like he will be stationing his QB in a static pocket.

        1. Yup, Bill Walsh like mobile QBs. Not 5.03 QBs who cannot out run DTs.
          .
          I wonder why he traded for Steve Young?

      1. I think the article, in the end, hits the nail on the head:

        Bringing a Tebow-like circus to town would be worth it, and then some, if Kaepernick still projected as a starting quarterback with upside. The reality is that even before the anthem controversy, 46 league insiders voted Kaepernick the 29th-best starter — barely ahead of Mark Sanchez, who was cut by Denver before the season.

        “You watch him on tape, and he never has been able to progress,” a quarterbacks coach says. “Greg Roman and Jim Harbaugh really made him. He needs to run that system. And that system lasted for two years. Washington took the idea and did it with RG III. Colin thrived in that. And then it took defenses one offseason to figure out how to shut it down. That is why you don’t see it any more. You get your quarterback belted, so it just isn’t a viable option. And then with Colin now, he is slimmer, and he has never been an accurate passer. You take away the element of being able to run the ball, and he can’t throw it, I mean, then what do you have left? There are many other better options.”

        Kaepernick is SJW Tebow. And Hoyer is the better option.

        1. Hoyer threw the ball like the DBs were the intended receivers in his only playoff game, while Kaep has a 4-2 road playoff record, which, BTW, is better than JM and SY combined.

          I will take the assessment of Earl Thomas and Michael Bennett over some anonymous GMs.

          That screed saying that teams have figured Kaep out so he cannot succeed is tiresome, because every team schemes to thwart ANY QB. The trick is to adapt and adjust. The conundrum is that teams will not have the luxury to scheme against Kaep being forced to be only a pocket passer. Hopefully, the new coaches, where ever he lands, will do more controlled rollouts and bootlegs.

            1. Cassie, sounds like you are a Ravens fan. Since your daddy was fired, guess you need another team to root for.

      1. What a bunch of gutless wonders. Talking behind his back anonymously, and Sando rehashing old stuff.
        .
        Even if he is rated 29th, he should have a starting job because there are only 32 starters in the league. And his rating is directly in conjunction with the lack of talent surrounding him.

  22. He’s not a household name. But I was stoked to hear they were keeping Kerley.
    He was by far my bright spot last season when there wasn’t any at all. He would kill in a Brady, Rogers or Seattle offense. Especially Seattle. For some reason they seem to get the most out of ok receivers. Glad he’s with us.

    1. “and gave his receiver room to run after the catch.”

      It’s been a while since we had a QB that could do this consistently.

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