With the 49ers’ 2021 edition of organized team activities now complete, Niner Noise looks at the five biggest takeaways heading into training camp.
Whether or not one wants to judge the San Francisco 49ers‘ class of organized team activities as a success or failure depends on quite a number of factors.
For starters, nearly the entire offseason roster of 90 players attended these voluntary workouts, which speaks to the kind of team chemistry head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co. have developed in recent years. That’s a win. Plenty of other teams had large chunks of their respective rosters sit out these practices.
So is the fact rookie quarterback Trey Lance, by all accounts, took some pretty notable leaps in his development to eventually take over for the incumbent, Jimmy Garoppolo.
At the same time, however, the Niners suffered three key injuries during this period: running back Jeff Wilson Jr. (meniscus), offensive lineman Justin Skule (ACL) and defensive back Tarvarius Moore (Achilles), the latter two coming on-field workouts.
Not a good sign for a San Francisco team that suffered more injuries than any other squad by far last year.
What are some of the other specific takeaways, though? And which ones are positive and negative?
Let’s have a look.
No. 5: 49ers can’t just be dealing with ‘dumb luck’ with regards to injuries, right?
The losses of Skule and Moore prompted Shanahan to cancel the final portion of OTAs as well as the team’s mandatory minicamp, which was scheduled to start on June 15.
As a result, the next time the 49ers take the field as a whole will be towards the end of July for training camp.
Shanahan can’t be blamed for the entirety of the team’s injuries over the last four years, but he does hold some responsibility. Perhaps a lot of it. Looking back at the adjusted games lost by the Niners during Shanahan’s tenure, it’s not too hard to find a constant:
The training staff has already been changed out once. So, is it the field surfaces? Identifying less-durable players? Or how about the nature and intensity by which Shanahan challenges his players on the field during practices?
Your guess is as good as anyone’s.
A year ago, San Francisco suffered from the lack of any offseason workouts because of the pandemic. Now, one might argue the team needs to dial back some of the practices in the wake of recent serious injuries.
Whatever the case may be, what happened to cancel the rest of OTAs is an indicator Shanahan and Co. haven’t found the right formula for these practice sessions just yet.