First day of Ota's Will be fun n fast cuz we have had majority of our whole team together working since the start of off season program.— Patrick willis (@PatrickWillis52) May 22, 2012
The 49ers officially began their 2012 offseason training activities (OTAs) today, and have nine more days, plus a mandatory minicamp and a couple potential non-OTA days left on the schedule. OTAs allow for offense versus defense drills, but there can be no live contact during said drills. Players can wear helmets, but no shells. It is not exactly the best way to determine where the team is standing in implementing aspects of the offense, but it likely adds a little bit more than simply running around conducting individual drills.
This marks the second time since 2005 that the 49ers will have the same offensive and defensive coaching staff in place throughout their offseason. The last time that happened, the offensive coaching staff was led by Jimmy Raye, so that comes with an automatic asterisk.
The 49ers have what would appear to be a completely competent coaching staff in place right now (knock on wood). In having such a staff, I can't help but be optimistic at this point in the offseason. There are perfect logical reasons to think the 49ers will take a step back from last season in certain respects. The team was immensely fortunate when it came to injuries and the team had an absurdly positive turnover ratio. If either or both of those take a hit, the team could suffer in the win column even with improvements elsewhere.
It is those improvements though, which leave me with optimism. I am a generally optimistic person, but I try to keep some semblance of an even keel throughout the year. And yet, I remain optimistic by the continuity and the competence the 49ers have at their disposal this year. Maybe it will end up not mattering and the 49ers will struggle.
But for me, I'd much prefer to consider the alternative. What if the continuity and competence are the Super Bowl difference? I figure getting crazy optimistic now gives me time to come back to earth by the time the season starts. Or my optimism will be sky-high by the start of the season and I'll be screwed if they fall apart.
The 49ers biggest losses were WR Josh Morgan, LB Blake Costanzo and OG Adam Snyder. There is value there, but the 49ers appear to have replaced, and potentially improved upon all three. There is a lot of work to be done between now and September 9, but I have to say, this is the most calm and at ease I have been entering a 49ers season in some time. I know things could go south. The NFL has proven offseasons can be completely meaningless if a few things go wrong. I'll deal with that when the time comes, but for now, I'm fairly content as a 49ers fan. It's been a while since Icould say that in May.