The San Francisco 49ers opened up 2014 training camp on Thursday with their first practice session. Although the players have been doing work in the offseason workout program, this is the first formal practice since the mandatory minicamp back in mid-June. It has been over a month, and there will likely be some rust early on.
Over the next month, the plan is to take a look at the various training camp practice recaps, and figure out some of the notable storylines emerging. Some days there will be less than others, but I'd imagine every day will provide at least one or two little nuggets. I will post a link to each of the beat writer recaps at the bottom of the article so you can read into the specifics from each.
The 49ers are likely far from set on the detailed specifics of the depth chart, but we get at least a little bit of insight into what the 49ers depth chart might look like for two important positions:
Joe Looney is getting first-team reps at RG in Alex Boone's absence.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) July 24, 2014
Taylor Price (@TaylorPrice49) July 24, 2014
These are two positions that brought big question marks into training camp. Joe Looney was already getting first team reps at right guard during minicamp, but Adam Snyder was also getting reps there. I would not be surprised to see both of them get some of the first team reps, but it is also possible Joe Looney will get the bulk of the work to prove he can handle the job in Alex Boone's absence.
Chris Cook handled first team cornerback work opposite Tramaine Brock during minicamp team drills, but that appears to have been primarily because Culliver was finishing up his rehab. Culliver was cleared to practice in training camp, and he appears to be right back out there. The next month will be huge for a guy who missed last season with a torn ACL. The job would appear to be Culliver's for the taking.
Matt Barrows had a solid rundown of a couple more pertinent positions:
Nickel Back: 1) Perrish Cox; 2) Jimmie Ward; 3) Darryl Morris
Inside Linebacker: 1) Patrick Willis/Michael Wilhoite; 2) Chris Borland/Nick Moody; 3) Shayne Skov/Blake Costanzo
Who looked good?
Apparently Vance McDonald had a nice looking catch at one point, and the beat writers were generally pointing to a positive performance from him. His rookie season saw him get a lot of work blocking, but he was nonexistent in the passing game at times. We're only one day in, but hopefully McDonald can maintain the positive performances.
Jimmie Ward had an interception off a tipped pass. Ward is getting nickel back work, with the second team, behind Perrish Cox. For now though, the important thing is that he is on the field and practicing.
49ers are still practicing, but definitely impressed by Jimmie Ward. Very, very active and can tell he'll be lively when they put on pads.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) July 24, 2014
It sounds like the passing game was a bit rusty, but the writers seemed to get a sense that this group just felt different than what we've seen in the past. They'll need to clean up the sloppiness, but there is some serious talent there. Obviously we'd like to see Quinton Patton and Bruce Ellington emerge, but for 2014, a trio of Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, and Stevie Johnson is exciting to consider. Speaking of Crabtree, here's a fantastic catch:
According to all the reports, Justin Smith and Anthony Davis were the only players to sit out practice. Both had shoulder surgery this offseason. Smith said he suffered a shoulder injury in training camp last year, while Anthony Davis said he dealt with a labrum tear during the season. Jim Harbaugh addressed some of the team's other health matters in his earlier press conference.