After a long wait, football really is starting to get back into form as the 49ers reported for training camp in Santa Clara this morning. We're still waiting on word of what dates will be open to the public. As soon as that information is distributed we'll get it posted for folks that want to get down to training camp. I'm hoping to go down for a day next week and a day the following week to get a gander at the team.
Today's opening to training camp will be fairly non-descript in terms of activities as they handle physicals, some initial meetings with coaches, and of course media sessions. The undrafted rookies have been getting physicals the last two days as they signed deals but the veterans have not had their physicals yet. In terms of on-field activity, maybe there will be some conditioning and exercising, but not much else. Additionally, the first two workout days on Friday and Saturday will be non-padded workouts per the new CBA.
Over the course of the next few weeks, these are some of the tweeters to follow for minute-by-minute camp updates. We'll have plenty of news at NN as well, but these are all worth following:
There really are three major story lines to follow early in camp:
1. Frank Gore's Holdout - In recent years Gore hasn't exactly played a whole ton during the preseason games, but he has still been prominently involved in training camp practices. I don't care about him missing preseason games. I do care about him missing the implementation of the offense in practice. Whether you think it's worth showering riches down upon him, he is an integral part of this offense. if they have any intention of competing in 2011, Gore is an important part of the team, particularly in a West Coast style of offense.
2. Nate Clements contract - Today is the first day teams can officially cut players from their roster. The 49ers went from having told Nate Clements he was gone to not having spoken with him in a matter of about 30 minutes. Today we will likely find out the truth of the matter. If they cut him loose entirely that could indicate an unspoken confidence in signing Nnamdi Asomugha or Johnathan Joseph. If they restructure his deal, it creates a bit of a fog as to the team's next move.
3. Will Jim Harbaugh throw some passes - With the news that the 49ers would be cutting David Carr and using Jeremiah Masoli in a running back and otherwise role, the 49ers find themselves in a somewhat amusing situation. With Carr out the door, the 49ers technically have one quarterback under contract. Masoli is now technically a running back, Alex Smith can't sign his deal until Friday and can't practice until August 4, and only Colin Kaepernick is in camp working out with the team.
It's kind of interesting to consider the QB situation moving forward. The team basically has two legit quarterbacks (Smith, Kaepernick) and what amounts to a gimmick player in Masoli. I recall the Indianapolis Colts going with two quarterbacks for certain stretches in past seasons, but I'm sorry to say Alex Smith (or Colin Kaepernick for that matter) is not Peyton Manning. I'll support Smith until I'm blue in the face but even I won't make that argument!
So what to make of the quarterback situation heading into camp where at this rate Colin Kaepernick gets a week worth of snaps? Or will we see a veteran brought in at least as a camp body?