With a 3-0 preseason record and with one game to go against the Chargers in San Diego on Friday the 49ers 2009 training camp is coming to a close. A lot of questions have been answered, with some still left to figure out, here are some observations:
- The most important position battle was at quarterback between Shaun Hill and Alex Smith. It was also the one competition Mike Singletary did not need to have. I think it was just to boost Smith’s confidence that he is not a NFL draft bust and still has a chance to be a great QB (which I don’t believe to be the case). Hill should have been the named the starter outright and Smith should have been told you want the starting job, go out and take it!
- With last year’s starting cornerback Walt Harris out for the year, and possibly his career, the 49ers had to scramble to fill his position. They accomplished that with signing veteran Dre’ Bly who has shown in training camp he still has some gas left in the tank. The 49ers had CB Tarell Brown compete with Bly for the starting job but he has been bothered by a toe injury since the start of training camp. Bly has earned the starting job with his play but if he cannot hold up for the season and gives up too many big receptions expect Brown to be inserted as the starter.
- The installation of the Michael Singletary run, run, run type of offense has so far been successful thanks to offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye. Frank Gore has seen limited rushing action so he can preserved for the regular season allowing rookie running backs Glen Coffee and Kory Sheets to led the rushing attack. Coffee is ranked 1st in the preseason in rushing yards with 230 and Sheets is ranked 6th with 144. Yes, it is only the preseason but with the 49ers offense most likely calling rushing plays 60% of the time it gives the coaching staff confidence in the rushing attack knowing that when Gore comes out they can still run Coffee and even Sheets if they need to and will get the same results.
- The wide receiver position has been the biggest hole the 49ers have had to fill since the days of T.O. and the legendary Jerry Rice. The 49er Faithful thought we had filled that hole with the selection of Michael Crabtree but the contact holdout that followed has given us a sour taste in the mouth. I think Crabtree will sign with the Niners before the start of the season but the 49ers might not see a lot of him in the first few games as he learns the offense and gels with his teammates. Isaac Bruce and Josh Morgan will most likely be the starters and we have a deep bench with Brandon Jones, Arnaz Battle, Jason Hill and Dominique Zeigler but having Crabtree in the game will make the defense account for the passing game freeing up the rushing attack. The receivers listed does not exactly strike fear into the hearts of the opponents secondary.
- The rushing attack continued to be non-existent in the preseason like it was all of last year. I was expecting Justin Smith to led the defensive lineman’s core of young players but if he is leading them it has not been with his play. Watching Tony Romo last week hold onto the football for 4-5 seconds on each pass attempt showed the 49ers biggest weakness on defense. DE Kentwan Balmer needs to set-up his pass rushing this year to show why the 49ers picked him in the first-round last year. The 49ers D will only go as far as their D-lineman will allow them to. No pass rush, big plays will be given up.
- The biggest surprise for me during training camp and the preseason games has been the play of rookie quarterback Nate Davis. He played extremely well against the Cowboys last week and was the reason the 49ers kept intact their undefeated preseason record. Davis still has a long way to go as he has only learned about half the offense but he has been named the third-string QB for the season. Do we a diamond in the rough? We will see.
- What has excited you most about training camp and the preseason? Answer in the comments.
Many 49er players were surprised but welcomed how grueling of a training camp Singletary installed. Most of the practices were in full pads which is not common among other team’s training camps. But when you have a coach who expects the best from his players every second on each play Camp Singletary will be success so long as the players don’t break down during the regular season.
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Topics: 49ers, 49ers 2009 Training Camp, 49ers 2009 Training Camp Winding Down, 49ers New Stadium, 49ers Offensive Coordinator, 49ers Preseason, 49ers QB, 49ers Quarterback, 49ers Training Camp, Alex Smith, Arnaz Battle, Brandon Jones, Dominique Zeigler, Dre' Bly, Frank Gore, Isaac Bruce, Jimmy Raye, Josh Morgan, Kentwan Balmer, MCT, Michael Crab Holdout, Michael Crabtree, Mike Singletary, San Francisco 49ers, Shaun Hill, Tarell Brown