Things quieted down a bit after the draft, before moving back into high gear with the first OTAs of the offseason. Baseball's offseason is pretty straight forward with free agency going on, but not much else before spring training. The NFL is kind enough to offer numerous activities in the offseason. We go from free agency to the draft to rookie minicamp, to multiple OTAs to training camp. There is some dead time (most notably coming up this week), but there is enough to keep us busy throughout.
Now that the first OTAs are completed, assessments are starting to come in, most notably from Matt Barrows over at the Sacramento Bee. I thought I'd pull out some of his comments for a little further examination. Barring something crazy happening, it figures to be a quiet day for the 49ers (famous last words). So, I thought we'd use this to open up some general discussion about the Niners.
My favorite news was that Josh Morgan and Brandon Jones both looked good in practice. As we saw last training camp, all the injuries mean more 1st team practice time for Morgan, which can only be a good thing. It should make for a very interesting battle in training camp for playing time. While we all would love to see Michael Crabtree blow up this season, I'd like to think there shouldn't be a ton of pressure on him. The 49ers have more talent at wide receiver than they've had in several years. If the rest of the receivers are performing well, will fans get pissy about a slow start from Crabtree?
Another interesting aspect related to the offense was when Barrows said, "also is being used more like a tight end (10-, 15-yard routes) in the passing game instead of like as was the case a year ago." I've said this repeatedly and I'll say it again. If the 49ers can get the ball in Vernon Davis's hands, no matter how it happens, the Duke can make plays like very few big men can.
At times it seems like Davis has hands of stone (reminds of wjackalope's D-jax graphic), when he did get the ball he was tough to bring down. One of my favorite plays was when Davis was given the ball as a running back and barrelled down the field. That doesn't mean he should be taken out of the passing game. He's a monster, and in the red zone he creates serious mismatches. Anybody remember that redzone touchdown against Cincinnati? He blew past a linebacker and then outfought a safety for the ball. It was just one play, but it was most definitely a sight to behold. Again, I'm not suggesting one way over the other. Anything that gets the ball in this man's hand is a good thing.
I'll close with a look at the other side of the ball. Naturally, Virginia man Matt Barrows was pleased with the performance of Ahmad Brooks. He thought Brooks had some extra pep in his step on the field and flashed some of the talent that we hear so much about. The way I look at it, Ahmad Brooks remains one of the biggest enigmas on the team. We know what the other guys on the 49ers can do for the most part. We have some ideas about their potential. With Ahmad Brooks, it is really hard to tell. With no regular season playing time, it's just too hard to tell. Any thoughts on Brooks as we make our way towards training camp and the 2009 season?