The next time you’ll catch the San Francisco 49ers at the SAP Performance Facility will be for the start of training camp in late July. The 49ers concluded their mandatory minicamp on Wednesday and Kyle Shanahan addressed several offensive players as the team breaks for summer.
Jimmy Garoppolo and Pierre Garçon
By the time Garoppolo got his first start in Week 13, the 49ers were already without their No. 1 receiver. A now healthy Garçon has spent the offseason building chemistry with Garoppolo. The two connected for a 20-yard gain to kick off the team’s the move-the-ball period on Wednesday.
“It’s been a good process for them to get here, spend some time together, get to know each other, go through all of the reps of having some successful ones, some bad ones, stuff they can talk about,” Shanahan said. “Some days are better than others, but they’re getting to know each other. I think it’ll be good going into training camp and it’ll definitely be nice to have Pierre back this year.”
If anyone has something to prove this offseason, it’s Joe Williams. After missing the entire 2017 season, Shanahan is pleased with the progression of the second-year running back. Williams will have to make big strides in training camp to secure a spot on the regular season depth chart.
“I think his body looks a lot better than it did last year,” Shanahan said. “He’s put on a lot of muscle mass just how he’s worked and taken advantage of the year not playing.
“I think Joe has made some huge strides between now and last year and I think that’s why he’ll have a chance.”
Garnett is another name who will look to solidify his role during camp. After missing the entire 2017 season with a knee injury, the former first-round pick has changed his body composition and shed a few pounds. He’ll be competing with Jonathan Cooper, Laken Tomlinson and Mike Person at guard heading into training camp.
“He’s coming along. He’s not going to be there until training camp,” Shanahan said. "That’s been the plan with him from the start. There hasn’t been any setbacks so once he gets out there I think it’ll add a lot more competition for those guys and I’m looking forward to watching it.”
View the best images from the first of the team's two mandatory minicamp practices.
There is only so much that can be assessed this offseason without full pads. However Shanahan has been pleased with his early scouting report of Richburg. The 49ers will get a complete look at Shanahan's hand-picked center come training camp.
“It’s been real fun with him out there. You’ve got to be careful with how you run the ball in OTAs, but it kind of works to our advantage because we do so much outside zone and not as much gap schemes and things like that," Shanahan said. "He’s been great. Him and Earl (Mitchell) battle every day.
“I think he’s fit in with the guys and he works as hard as everyone else. We’ve been real happy so far.”
Despite missing Wednesday with a minor injury, Tuesday was Pettis’ best practices that has been open to the media. Pettis' most impressive play was a contested 30-yard reception down the right sideline on pass from C.J. Beathard. Shanahan alluded to Pettis’ versatility following the draft and since, the rookie has been utilized in a number of roles on offense.
“I think that’s the neat thing with Dante, is he’s got the ability to help us out in a number of different areas,” Shanahan said. “We have three different receiver positions and he has the skill set to where he’s not the fastest guy on our team but he can run. He’s not the quickest guy on our team but he is very quick and he’s got good hands. He’s not big but he’s not small either. You can use him in a bunch of different spots. We’ve got to throw him at that because it can get very confusing, but he’s a very smart guy and he’s taking the challenge well.”
Lower back issues forced Taylor to miss OTAs. He had minor surgery this offseason, but should be cleared by camp.
“It was more of a minor thing that I think (Garrett) Celek had a few years ago, something similar, something we feel very good about,” Shanahan said. “It’s going to take a little time to heal, but he should be good if not right away in camp, a week into it.”