John Clayton reports from 49ers Training Camp

Hope everyone had one last good weekend before 49ers football fully gets underway.  The 49ers kick off their exhibition schedule tomorrow night against the Denver Broncos in a rematch of their season finale overtime thriller in Denver last season.  In the meantime, on Saturday John Clayton filed his report and observations from training camp in Santa Clara.  The first article is a general overview of things and is free to read by anybody.  The article emphasizes the offense and how the additional weapons should inspire more confidence in Alex Smith.  One interesting part at the end discussed Jim Hostler taking over as offensive coordinator:

Jim Hostler, the quarterbacks coach last year, takes over for Turner. The result should be a more controlled passing game with fewer downfield throws. Turner loved to throw deep. Hostler hopes to get Smith into the 60-percent completion range this season, which would put this offense over the top.

While Alex Smith does have a great arm, I like the idea of emphasizing the short pass.  If Smith's completion percentage does go up, one would fully expect his confidence to increase in a similar fashion.  That increased confidence would benefit the offense when they do occasionally open up the aerial attach down field.

The second article lists five observations Clayton made.  Unfortunately this article is Insider-protected, so for now I'll list the five observations and discuss the main points of each:

1. No Secondary Concerns - Considering the 49ers are competing in a division stacked with receivers, the addition of Nate Clements gives them considerable depth (as we've repeatedly discussed here).  A good point Clayton made is that Clements is a perfect fit for the NFC West, where there is a ton of big-bodied wide receiver talent, but not many breakaway threats.

2. Surplus of size - The 49ers have extra talent on the offensive line, and they've got a lot of big, beefy talent, which helps with the inside running game of Frank Gore.  Also, with Justin Smiley likely out of here after this season, he believes David Baas will move in to the starting role next year.

3. Loaded Weapons - This is the generic "49ers added a bunch of weapons for Alex Smith" part.  The one interesting point is he joins the local writers who have indicated Taylor Jacobs has had an excellent camp up to this point.  He is definitely doing what he can to impress people.  I'm curious to see how he performs tomorrow.  Definitely worth keeping an eye on him.

4. Eager to return - As shocking as it might seem, Frank Gore is antsy to get back on the field.  The one positive to this injury is that Gore is not getting beat up on a daily basis in practice and risking knee or shoulder injuries.  Clayton also seems to really like Gore and thinks he is one of the true students of the game.  It's always nice to hear good stories about your guys.  Definitely better than having to be a Michael Vick, Pac-Man Jones or Cincinnati Bengals fan.

5. Celebratory Mood - And of course it wouldn't be a 49ers story without some discussion of Vernon Davis's on-field antics.  Clayton comes right out and says, "Don't buy into the hype that Vernon Davis is the next Terrell Owens."  The most interesting point he makes here is that The Disease (my words, not his) should be able to do what is necessary to have a breakout season:

During his first season, he was tentative because he was learning the offense. The 49ers do a lot of motion so Davis had to figure out where he had to be, which took away from his productivity. Davis understands the offense much better and knows what is being asked of him.
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