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The End of "Camp Alex" Is At Hand

The 49ers players are in the midst of wrapping up the second edition of Camp Alex as we sit and wait for something to be figured out in the labor talks (talks ended for the day and they're re-convening on Tuesday - I don't think they should be allowed to barbeque until a deal is done!). The players have mixed in a lot of class room work as well as actually running some of the passing routes. The players filmed some of these latest workouts and have used that film to break down mistakes players have made in running the plays. All in all, it's as close as we're probably going to get to legitimate OTAs prior to training camp.

There has been plenty of discussion about the value of these workouts in the grand scheme of preparing for the 2011 NFL season. Some think there's little or no value to these workouts. They think that the most important gain is in learning the playbook and that is something players can do just as well on their own. Other folks see the value in the team-building nature of these workouts and running the plays on a football is of real benefit to the players.

Personally I do see value in these team workouts that focus on the playbook in a variety of ways. If a player learns he made a mistake in a given formation and remembers that when training camp hits, that's one less correction that is needed by the coaching staff. Given the limited amount of time Jim Harbaugh and staff will have to implement the offensive playbook, every second really does count.

Kevin Jurovich indicated the playbook has 100 different formations and the skill position players have a pretty good understand of 75 of them. I have to think running the plays has helped to better that understanding. Maybe it's not a significant increase in understanding, but every little bit helps as the team gets ready to hit the ground running whenever the lockout ends.

What benefits do you see coming out of these workouts? Do you see any negatives at this point (outside of the potential for injury) or do you see things being a bit overblown as to the value of the workouts?