The San Francisco 49ers offseason has reached a new peak this week. Here are the storylines you should know.
Harbaugh on QB Competition
One thing we learned on the first day of this week's veteran minicamp is that while Jim Harbaugh likes what he sees from Blaine Gabbert, he hasn't seen enough from Gabbert to annoint him the team's backup quarterback. Gabbert has the most playing experience of the four signal-callers behind starter Colin Kaepernick, and he's assumed to be the frontrunner for the gig. Also in the mix: Josh Johnson and McLeod Bethel-Thompson as well as rookie Kory Faulkner.
“Very impressed with Blaine mentally, physically – all attributes that you’d like to see in a quarterback," Harbaugh said. "He’s been very good, very solid. (He’s) picked up everything very quickly. It’s going well. Everything is progressing well. I think you’ll watch it when you have a chance to see it today and look at it for yourself. In my eye, it looks very good.”
Deepest Offensive Group Yet
Offensive coordinator was asked if that's what he has going into the 2014 season. “Yeah, on paper, for sure," he said. "I don’t think there’s any question about that. That’s really going to be exciting. It’s a good problem to have.”
Here's what the play-caller said about a handful of his players.
On tight end Derek Carrier: "He is a very interesting guy. He’s kind of a hybrid athletic tight end who has put on some weight, gotten bigger. He played against the Rams last year, held his own pretty good. So, he’s making progress... But the fundamentals, the technique, he’s made worlds of progress... He’s more than a leaper. This isn’t broad jumping. There are a lot of things that go into that position. But, he has good range though.”
On running back Carlos Hyde: "Since he got here from the draft, really impressed me as a guy that football just makes sense to him. If you could just tell him what to do, and you don’t have to tell him too much. And that’s a beautiful thing in a running back because they have a lot of adjustments to make and protection, et cetera."
On running back Marcus Lattimore: "And Marcus is right on track. He brings a little bit more of a slashing style. So, very different styles but like what we see out of both of them. And just need to continue those guys on their tracks.
On offensive tackle Jonathan Martin: “Yeah, we’ve put him (at guard) a little bit and that’s something that we’re just going to spend more time on. But that’s definitely something that I think is possible and he does have that flexibility in him. But it’s just going to take some time on task.”
On offensive guard Joe Looney: "He’s really shown himself well. I’m excited about what he’s been able to do with the opportunities. So it’s next man up... He just needs to keep stacking great days on one another, keep getting better.”
On tight end Vance McDonald: “He’s got a lot of experience under his belt. He was very instrumental in our rushing attack last year. Didn’t have a lot of opportunities in the passing game. That’ll probably pick up more. But he wore a lot of different hats last year. He was a little bit of a Swiss Army Knife last year. So he’s got a lot of experience to draw on. You could just tell the first day that he walked in this spring that it was an experienced guy coming in now.”
On Faulkner: “Yeah, Kory’s diligent as heck. He is a lot of fun to work with. He’s one of those guys that presses upon me that he’s going, he’s the kind of guy that at some point in his career you can probably turn the keys over to him. And that’s a long ways off, but he definitely does some things that we like. Now, he had no offensive line in college, no offense to those players, but he can throw under duress let me tell you that. The first play here, I think we had really good protection and we said to him, ‘What’d you think of that? That was pretty neat, wasn’t it? You haven’t had that in a while.’”
Four NFL Headlines