The rookies and veterans have reported and the San Francisco 49ers are now officially in training camp. There is competition at every position. Some players such as Kyle Williams are coming back from injury and others are getting new opportunities because of an injury to Michael Crabtree. So far, camp is off to a good start.
Newly acquired safety Craig Dahl took reps with the first team defense. Vic Fangio has made it clear that Eric Reid will have to earn a spot as the starting free safety.
“Right now, it’s a battle, as I see it, between four guys because Trenton had a good off season and put him in the mix there, too, between Eric, Dahl and C.J., nothing is going to be given to Eric this year,” said Fangio. “He’s got to go out and earn it.”
I fully expect Reid to earn a starting spot. Trenton Robinson, the sixth round pick from Michicgan State in 2012, has earned praise from Fangio throughout the off season and will also challenge for a spot.
The wide receiver position is one of the most closely followed competitions by fans. Quinton Patton has worn the no contact black jersey. When asked about that, he said that it was for maintenance. Kyle Williams is taking reps with the first team offense. He caught a deep pass that pleased Colin Kaepernick.
Anquan Boldin is already developing chemistry with Kaepernick. He made a nice one handed catch on a deep pass with Carlos Rogers in coverage. Boldin has also been a go to guy for younger players like A.J. Jenkins when they have questions.
The questions about the “chemistry” between Vernon Davis and Kaepernick are being put to rest in the first two practices. Kaepernick has targeted Davis the most so far and they have connected often.
Rogers and Tarell Brown are taking reps with the starters. Nnamdi Asomugha and Chris Culliver are taking reps with the second team. In nickel situations, Rogers goes inside, while Culliver comes in. Perrish Cox was actually said to have been the most impressive on the first day.
Matt Maiocco of Comcast Sportsnet noted that Aldon Smith is continuing to evolve his game.
“Outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who was cleared to practice after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, showed a new wrinkle to his game,” wrote Maiocco. “He proved in his first two seasons that he can rush the passer. In the 49ers’ first practice, Smith dropped deep into coverage and batted away a Kaepernick pass nearly 30 yards down the field that was intended for Boldin.”
Justin Smith has declared himself to be at full strength. The defensive line will feature newcomer Glenn Dorsey but Ian Williams has taken snaps with the first team so far. Head coach Jim Harbaugh often cautions not to pay too much attention to how players are stacked on the depth chart early in camp.
Marshall Faulk was at 49ers’ practice yesterday and he spent some time with Kaepernick. Faulk came away impressed with how focused and driven Kaepernick was. Kaepernick has also said that he is making an effort to me more vocal with his team. He has spoken with his receivers about what route adjustments adjustments they need to make in certain situations and is stepping up as a leader on this team.
The 49ers are two days into training camp and so far things are looking good. Kendall Hunter and Mario Manningham are working out on a side field while Michael Crabtree is continuing to rehab.
Hopefully things continue to go well and the 49ers come out on fire at the home opener.