One thing that you should definitely not do this early on in the offseason is give too much weight to reports from organized team activities. There's not a whole lot of contact, multiple guys are missing, veterans don't play as much as the younger guys and so on. So what we're going to do is ... talk a whole bunch about what went down over the last week of OTAs, and possibly give the discussion too much weight, because that's how I roll.
Anyway, multiple beat writers have been pumping out impressions from OTAs and they're all interesting reads. For instance, there's this one from Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News in which he talks about one specific play featuring outside linebacker Aldon Smith and quarterback Colin Kaepernick, two fringe roster players who may not have any kind of impact next season.
That was sarcasm. I know that most of you will understand that, but good lord the hatemail is edging out spam these days and I felt like clarifying.
Anyway, Inman talks about a play in which both Kaepernick and Smith took off on a foot race for the pylon. That is a race I would not want to bet on by any means. Smith was trying to cut Kaepernick off and though contact was not allowed, he beat Kaepernick with a yard to spare, according to Inman. If contact was allowed, they'd still be scraping Kaepernick off the practice field.
But the part that's most interesting is how excited Smith was to make that play, and how hard Kaepernick ran at making it himself. The two were really into it, and while I'm not keen to call Smith a leader at this point in his career, there's no doubt that when he kicks it into gear, the younger players will follow suit.
Then there's the post Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee wrote about Trenton Brown, which I've already covered in detail here. I just felt like saying, once again, that I really like what Brown brings to the table and am eager to see what he can do for the 49ers in the long term. If he became something like a starter, and the 49ers have too many starting offensive tackles, that's a good problem to have.
Finally, we come down to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area. Maiocco talked about a ton of players in his recap of the week of OTAs, including inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman. Obviously, Bowman's recovery and how he's looking is one of the most-important stories of this offseason. When I rank the 49ers' roster on talent, I put Bowman at the very top.
On Friday, Bowman took part in his first practice in front of the media, his third practice of the week. According to Bowman, via Maiocco, he would have taken part in a fourth if there was one, so he wasn't feeling fatigued over the injury. Also on Friday, Bowman recorded his first interception against a starting NFL quarterback in 17 months, and for Bowman, that's great. He says it put him in "the play-making mode," and again, that's good to hear. Bowman is a playmaker, and the faster he gets back to that point, the better off the 49ers are.
Bowman "moved much like the player who was voted first-team All-Pro in three consecutive seasons," says Maiocco. The pessimist inside me is eager to make a wisecrack but I've given him different lengths of wire to play with and he's distracted at the moment.
Outside of Bowman -- the main event, as it were -- Maiocco talks a bit about wide receiver Jerome Simpson and how good he looked (after getting yelled at for a lack of effort before 11-on-11 drills actually got underway), a nice catch from tight end Blake Bell, which I think is important given the makeup of that position, Keith Reaser breaking up a pass intended for Simpson, Kenneth Acker getting a big interception, Quinton Dial continuing to get work at Justin Smith's old position and more. I recommend heading over to Maiocco's recap and reading up on all the notes from OTAs.