Last week I was up in New York City to put together some video content to share with you. We got a quick Aldon Smith video together after the news of his sentencing came down, which you can check out HERE. I also put together a Michael Crabtree post, and that should be ready sometime soon.
For today though, I have a video above that I put together breaking down some of the various position battles. This focuses more on the big ones, as you could argue virtually every position has some kind of competition going on. Some involving competition to start, while others involve competition as a reserve.
The 49ers will have a day off on Monday, at which point we'll really focus in on where the position competitions stand. We won't have a ton of information at that point, but four days of practice is certainly better than none. In the meantime, I thought I'd take a look at some positions at which we are already starting to get a better understanding of where things stand. I've linked to yesterday's practice reports at the bottom.
Colin Kaepernick is the starter, and Blaine Gabbert is the strong front-runner for the backup job. Gabbert appears to have gotten off to a solid start with the longest pass of the day, a 60-yard bomb to Brandon Lloyd. Based on the various practice reports filed, it sounds like offensive assistant George Whitfield, a quarterback specialist, focused his time with Kory Faulkner.
I would not be surprised if most of camp we hear that Faulkner is not getting many reps, but is getting a lot of work in with the coaching staff. I wouldn't be surprised if Faulkner got few if any reps in the preseason. I strongly believe the 49ers are ticketing Faulkner straight to the practice squad. I will certainly admit I'm wrong when he goes out and gets a chance to light it up in the fourth quarter of a preseason game, but for now, I see the 49ers simply bringing him for the purpose of long-term development.
I had listed Stevie Johnson as a strong bubble guy just because injury and his contract remained concerns to some extent. Johnson's back on the field, and all indications are he had a solid day of work. He missed the entire offseason workout program recovering from a hamstring injury, but even as a new receiver, it seems like and Kap are comfortable they can click fairly quickly. The next step will be seeing how this impacts Quinton Patton and Bruce Ellington, but for now that top three is looking sharp.
Joe Looney got first team snaps on Thursday, and would seemingly be the favorite to fill in as long as Alex Boone is absent. It is also possible the 49ers know what Adam Snyder can do, and would be comfortable plugging him in if Looney did not work out. For now though, Looney has handled the bulk of first team right guard work, which bodes well for him.
The 49ers got Chris Culliver out onto the practice field, and Vic Fangio said earlier today that Culliver did not look like a guy coming off a year of rehab. Previously, Fangio had said Culliver's knee made him a wild card heading into training camp. Both those comments considered, this is big for Culliver. Chris Cook is handling second team duties for now. Fangio said Culliver and Brock were the starters at this point, but did not close the door to anybody surpassing them.
At nickel back, Perrish Cox handled first team work, while Jimmie Ward was the second team nickel. He had a solid performance, and Vic Fangio praised him. He acknowledged Ward had some good and some bad moments, but he seemed generally pleased with what he looked like in his first practice.
Michael Wilhoite handled first team work next to Patrick Willis on Thursday, but during his Friday press conference, Vic Fangio would not commit to anything specific. He suggested we very well could see a rotation, with one player on base downs and one player in nickel.