As workers tended to chewed-up turf at Levi’s Stadium, the San Francisco 49ers practiced at their adjacent SAP Performance Facility.
The team plans to be back in Levi’s on Wednesday, where they have a scheduled event for fans. The team had planned on re-sodding the field several times this season leading up to Super Bowl 50 in February. The team will replace the grass now in place now after Taylor Swift appears in concert August 14 and 15.
As the 49ers worked to install their new, up-tempo offense, the condition of the field didn’t seem to bother second year receiver Bruce Ellington:
“I’m fine, I’ve got great feet. It’s fine to me.”
The 49ers believe a faster-paced offense would quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the offense more time to read defenses, according to Offensive Coordinator Geep Chryst:
“What you’re trying to build is the luxury of time at the line of scrimmage, luxury to change a play, luxury to maybe catch a defense that isn’t quite lined up.”
Ellington says that the offense is very different than last year and will give them more opportunities to make plays. Ellington is vying for the third wide receiver spot, alongside Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin as the third receiver:
“It’s not the same tempo as last year we’re faster as we move the ball down we get lined up. Giving Kap time to read the defense and get everything situated so we can run plays.”
The 49ers could use a change of pace in their offense, as they ranked 30th in passing yards a game last season.
Kaepernick has been working this offseason with Kurt Warner to improve on his throwing. Chryst is impressed how willing Kaepernick is to strengthen his game:
“I think it’s great that every offseason Kap wants to have a plan to get better. He’s traveled to Atlanta. He’s traveled to Miami. He’s traveled to Arizona. Maybe it has something to do with destination locations. But he’s worked hard at it and he’s continuing to improve.”
At the moment, Kaepernick is working on reading his teammates and getting their body language down, according to Chryst. Communication is key in the team’s offense, and Kaepernick has to get used to new weapons running back Reggie Bush and wide receiver Smith:
“We talk about communication all the time that part of camp. Calling a play in the huddle is communication. But a lot of it is just reading the body language and understanding that chemistry that is hard to develop overtime especially when you’re in the huddle together for the first time.”
The 49ers’ new-look offense will feature loads of new faces, no longer reliant on the consistent run game that starred now-Indianapolis Colts running back Frank Gore and former starting offensive linemen Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis.
The 49ers will now rely on their depth in the backfield with Carlos Hyde as the No. 1 back going into camp. Kendall Hunter — coming back from an ACL injury suffered a year ago — stands behind him. Veteran Reggie Bush looks to be their receiving back, and former rugby star Jarryd Hayne completes the bottom of the depth chart as a project back.
Chryst wants all of his backs to bring a complete game to the offense:
“We’ve got to work on rounding out everyone’s game so you don’t have the ‘Hey, Reggie’s the receiving back, hey Carlos is the running back.’ We’d like to have versatility in each of those guys and I think that paying attention to the practices, I think you’re seeing that. Guys running the ball who are good runners but guys are catching the ball who are good runners.”
Chryst would like to have a versatile offensive line group to pave the way for his running game, with the ability to play multiple positions, like guard-tackle Alex Boone, who has slid over from the right side to the left next to tackle Staley:
“The first thing you notice is Boone on the left side, but that’s a good thing. It’s good for him to be next to Joe. It’s also a good thing if Joe’s not taking camp reps, we have the versatility to move Boone out to left tackle. Then he can still play on the right side where he’s been, so we feel that’s old hat. So creating versatility in any offensive line, swing guys, guards that can play center and center that can play guard like Marcus Martin. That’s all good but yeah it is fluid. Especially, we haven’t put pads on.”
The 49ers finally get their chance to put the pads on in Tuesday’s practice. Starting right defensive end Quinton Dial is chomping at the bit:
“I can’t wait. Someone’s got to pay for all the work I’ve been putting in.”
Coach Jim Tomsula gave starting left tackle Joe Staley the day off. Rookie Trent Brown struggled in his place, having a few false starts. … Running back Reggie Bush sat out of practice.