The San Francisco 49ers decision to sign running back Reggie Bush had many of us pondering the idea that we might start to see more screens and assorted looks from the running back out of the backfield. The 49ers have used the backs in the passing game in the past, but it always felt like a checkdown option. That's not to say Bush would not serve as a check-down, but maybe his arrival means we see more screens and designed running back plays.
Trent Baalke made a rare offseason radio appearance, and he had some comments about Bush. He talked about speed in general on the team, but got a chance to talk about what Bush brings to the table. I did not hear the interview, but Matt Maiocco got some chunks of it. In the interview, he was fairly effusive in his praise of Bush and his connection with quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
"Reggie has really been an asset to Colin and has opened up some things," Baalke said. "When you get the speed going down the field and you give a back like Reggie room to work in the third-down packages and stuff like that, it really is a bonus for the quarterback.
"And Colin is developing a real rapport with Reggie coming out of the backfield."
I'm always a fan of positive news, but I think we all know to take this with a grain of salt at this point. The 49ers opened their offseason workout program in early April, so we are a month and a half into this thing. However, it is important to note the team is still only in phase two of the offseason program. The team can run individual player instruction and drills, and offense-only or defense-only instruction and drills. When the team starts OTAs next week, they can move on to offense vs. defense instruction and drills.
This is not to downplay the importance of what the 49ers have done thus far. All of this time is important with the changes to the coaching staff, but also with the player additions. This will benefit Kap and Bush, but we get to wait until the season gets here to really see just what they did with this time. Once OTAs start, the team will have to open up one practice per week to the media. We'll hear some tidbits about the practice sessions, but it will be a small sample for now. For now, we can enjoy the effusive praise!