The San Francisco 49ers kicked off training camp with a bang on Wednesday. The sense of optimism emanating from the team was palpable at the 49ers training facility in Santa Clara. The Faithful returned to the sidelines for the first time in what seems like ages and it had a clear effect on the energy level felt around the practice field. Here’s some early takeaways from the opening two days of camp.
The 49ers are finally taking injuries seriously and putting an emphasis on player safety.
The 49ers practiced in periods of 90 minutes the opening two days of camp. The emphasis on tough practices that Kyle Shanahan has become known for may be shifting in an attempt to battle injuries, a familiar foe for the 49ers. After being fined and docked practice time earlier in the offseason, Shanahan appears to have made adjustments for the betterment of the team’s overall health and readiness for the start of the regular season.
Another interesting observation is the focus every individual player has expressed on improving their health. Jimmie Ward earlier this month went into great detail regarding not only dietary changes he has made throughout his career, he also shed a light on the intense therapy he utilizes to prevent injury. Deebo Samuel and Jimmy Garoppolo also provided insight into their injury prevention awareness they utilized this offseason in their press conferences following Day 1 of camp. This should all serve the 49ers well in attempting to rebound from last year as they head into an expanded 17 game season.
The offense will be the strength of the 49ers in 2021.
Wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel have been the stars of the first two days of training camp. The team entered camp with many questions regarding their depth at wide out but are in a position to enter the season with two legitimate No. 1 wide receivers. At this point, whoever the 49ers rollout at the No. 3 wide receiver should be effective considering the weapons on the outside, not to mention All Pro George Kittle.
The quarterback position appears to be a strength for the 49ers finally!
Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance had a highlight reel Day 1 of camp. Garoppolo has rolled into camp with a carefree new attitude and appears to be playing loose and aggressive with nothing to lose at this point. Lance has answered all the questions early about how his talent will translate to the NFL. He has displayed a laser arm, elite physical talent and improved accuracy. The 49ers are heading into the season with two capable starting quarterbacks for the first time in the Shanahan Era.
The rushing attack has yet to be put on display in the first couple of days of camp since no pads are on but all indications are that it will anchor an impressive passing attack. While it's early, the 49ers appear to have found the answer at the quarterback position whether it will be a veteran fighting to prove himself or a rookie with unlimited potential that is poised to lead a potent attack with many options going into 2021.
The defense has a lot of work ahead in order to return to form.
Through the first two days of camp Nick Bosa, Emmanuel Moseley, Jaquiski Tartt, Javon Kinlaw and Dee Ford have yet to participate in team drills. The 49ers defense has a major lack of depth in the secondary and this has proved to be an issue early in camp. The pass rush and secondary struggled on Day 1 of camp and this could spell trouble for first year defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. Star players' ability to bounce back from injury will determine the level of success we see from the defense.
All in all, it’s been an exciting start to training camp and the 49ers appear to be one of the more interesting teams heading into the season. Stay tuned.