As 49ers players reported to Santa Clara for training camp on Tuesday, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan met with the local media. During the session, San Francisco’s general manager and head coach were asked about several critical topics.
Here are my key takeaways.
Trey Lance is the starting quarterback.
Questions have swirled around the 49ers direction at quarterback throughout this offseason. Kyle Shanahan left no doubt about who his starter would be in 2022.
“We have moved on to Trey. We’re starting camp out this way,” said Shanahan.
Despite declaring Lance the starter, Shanahan and Lynch are not yet willing to release Garoppolo.
“You just can’t give one of the better quarterbacks in the league; just make him available for no reason to the whole world,” said Shanahan when asked if the 49ers would trade Garoppolo.
Lance showed the ability to make big plays during his rookie season, but the 49ers chose to go with the veteran. After having the opportunity to go through an entire season, Lance will finally get his chance to show what he can do.
Update on Deebo Samuel.
Deebo Samuel was in Santa Clara. The 49ers continue to work toward getting a new deal done with their star receiver, and John Lynch struck an optimistic tone when asked where talks stand.
“We’ve had really productive and substantive talks,” said Lynch. “I don’t want to get everyone all excited that something’s imminent because we’re not there yet. But I’m really hopeful that in the near future, we’ll be able to announce something that’s exciting for everyone involved. Deebo’s here today, and we’re excited about moving forward with him as part of this team.
Lynch and Shanahan were noncommittal when asked if Samuel would be on the field practicing without a new deal in place.
Bosa extension is not imminent.
The 49ers often wait until a player is in the final year of their contract. John Lynch pointed to this when asked if an extension for Nick Bosa would wait until next season. San Francisco chose to exercise Bosa’s fifth-year option this offseason. The move gives the 49ers an additional year before breaking the bank and making Bosa the highest-paid non-quarterback.
Competition at center.
Daniel Brunskill will challenge Jake Brendel to become the starting center.
“Brunskill’s started at right guard for us for a while, and we know he can play center,” Shanahan said. “We have Jake Brendel doing that too. There’s going to be some competition there, big time. We have possible rookies to compete at right guard, so it’s going to be musical chairs in there for this camp.”
Brunskill taking reps at center will open the opportunity for Jaylon Moore, Spencer Burford, and Nick Zakelj to compete at right guard.
The 49ers will also keep an eye on the current crop of free agent centers. According to Lynch, they have a ready list of players they could add if needed.
Trey Sermon put in the work.
When the 49ers used a third-round draft pick on Tyrion Davis-Price, some wondered if Trey Sermon’s time in San Francisco would be short-lived.
Sermon had only 41 carries his rookie season, but according to Kyle Shanahan is doing everything he can to be ready to go.
Sermon’s ability to run inside zone should be a good fit with Trey Lance on the field. Four of Sermon’s eight carries, when paired with Lance during the first meeting last year against Seattle, led to carries of at least six yards.
John Lynch announced the 49ers have signed DL Robert Nkemdiche to a one-year deal.
Nkemdiche was originally selected 29th overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2016 NFL Draft. Throughout his five-year career with the Cardinals (2016-18), Miami Dolphins (2019) and Seattle Seahawks (2021), he appeared in 38 games (six starts) and registered 59 tackles, 4.5 sacks, three passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Last season with the Seahawks, Nkemdiche appeared in nine games and finished with 15 tackles and one pass defensed.
A 27-year-old native of Atlanta, GA, Nkemdiche attended the University of Mississippi for three seasons (2013-15), where he appeared in 35 games (34 starts) and registered 98 tackles, 19.0 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks and five passes defensed.
- Rookie defensive tackle Kalia Davis will start training camp on the NFI (non-football injury) list. Davis is working his way back after suffering a knee injury in college at UCF.
- Charlie Woerner had core muscle surgery during the offseason and will start on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list.
- Joining Woerner will be cornerback Jason Verrett as he works his way back from a torn ACL suffered in week one last season.
- Mike McGlinchey, Javon Kinlaw, and Azeez Al-Shaair are cleared to practice following surgeries. The team will bring them along slowly.
- John Lynch said to expect a transaction regarding injured defensive end Dee Ford, likely later this week.