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36 Questions Entering 49ers Training Camp

Posted Jul 23, 2014

San Francisco starts practicing on Thursday, and there are a lot of questions. We at 49ers.com won’t pretend to know all of the answers, but we welcome yours.


The San Francisco 49ers training camp officially opens Thursday, and there are a lot of questions. We at 49ers.com won’t pretend to know all of the answers…

You, readers, might have some educated guesses of your own. Please share them with us in the comment section below. Just make sure to mark the number of the question that you're responding to so we can all keep track of the discussion.

1. With NaVorro Bowman out because of major knee surgery, which of his teammates will get the most reps alongside Patrick Willis at inside linebacker? Michael Wilhoite? Chris Borland? Nick Moody? Shayne Skov?

2. How will practice time be divided between the quarterbacks, and will Blaine Gabbert win the No. 2 job behind Colin Kaepernick?

3. With McLeod-Bethel Thompson, Josh Johnson and rookie Kory Faulkner also competing, will San Francisco’s brass elect to keep a third signal-caller on its eventual 53-man roster?

4. Even though he’ll have five quarterbacks at his disposal, will Jim Harbaugh still throw the ball around at practice?

5. Which pass-rusher will give the offensive line the most fits?

6. Which pass-protector will give the defensive line the most fits?

7. After missing all of the 2013 season because major knee injuries suffered in college, will second-year running back Marcus Lattimore and defensive tackle Tank Carradine shake off the rust?

8.  After missing all of the 2013 season because of a torn ACL, will cornerback Chris Culliver re-emerge to earn a starting spot next to Tramaine Brock?

9. Will Chris Cook, who left the Minnesota Vikings during the spring, help Brock and Culliver help the team overcome the departures of former starters Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers?

10. Is rookie running back Carlos Hyde ready to spell Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James if needed?

11. With Gore, wide receiver Michael Crabtree and left guard Mike Iupati all entering the final year of their contracts, who is the next player to re-sign with the team?

12. Have the 49ers had this much talent at wide receiver and running back entering camp at any time over the last decade?

13. Who will have more one-handed catches at camp: Crabtree or former-turned-current 49ers wideout Brandon Lloyd?

14. After sitting out the 2013 campaign, how will the 33-year-old Lloyd fare in his comeback?

15. How many of the team’s 11 wideouts will make the roster? Five? Six?

16. How often will offensive coordinator Greg Roman employ his depth by calling for three- and four-wide receiver sets?

17. Will specialists Kassim Osgood and Bubba Ventrone lead the special teams units once again?

18. Where does former-turned-current 49ers specialist Blake Costanzo fit in on coordinator Brad Seely’s units?

19. Will LaMichael James retain his punt-return duties?

20. Can impressive rookie Bruce Ellington emerge in the return game or as a slot receiver?

21. Can impressive rookie Marcus Martin challenge relative veteran Daniel Kilgore to start at center?

22. Will the 49ers unofficial “redshirt crew” – a group of rookies coming off of major college injuries comprising guard Brandon Thomas and cornerback Keith Reaser, among others – take full advantage of their mental reps in the film room?

23. How fast will offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, an offseason trade acquisition, learn the guard position?

24. How fast will first-round NFL Draft pick Jimmie Ward, who missed on-field action during minicamp with a foot injury, pick up the nickel cornerback spot?

25. Will Ward beat out Perrish Cox, Darryl Morris or another dark-horse candidate to be the first defensive back off of the bench?

26. Will Antoine Bethea, who was acquired via free agency, fill in admirably for departed free agent Donte Whitner?

27. Will his teammates pronounce beh-THAY correctly?

28. With Andy Lee entrenched as the team’s punter – he’s entering his 11th season – will another impressive camp from Colton Schmidt result in him getting an offer from another NFL team?

29. How will veteran kicker Phil Dawson – and his peers in other cities – react to the league experimenting in preseason play with moving extra-point attempts 18 yards back, to the 20-yard line?

30. With players no longer allowed to celebrate touchdowns by dunking, laying the ball up or shooting it over the field goal posts, what new celebration will tight end Vernon Davis have up his sleeve?

31. After being a mauler in the running game but only making eight receptions in the passing game during his rookie season, will No. 2 tight end Vance McDonald be featured more often in the offense?

32. While Jack Harbaugh is sure to visit camp, which other familiar faces and celebrities will watch practices with the team?

33. Will the offense or defense “win” the three public practices set to take place at Levi’s® Stadium?

34. How will the 49ers and Baltimore Ravens get along during their week of practice together in Maryland next month?

35. Will the 49ers exit training camp healthy enough to make a fourth straight trip to the NFC Championship game and beyond?

36. After an injury derailed his first season of football last year, will former Olympian Lawrence Okoye carve out a role for himself?