The San Francisco 49ers opened training camp at Levi's Stadium on Saturday, and did so at 7 p.m. ET for some reason. This means you're getting a post about it at the time I'm usually getting angry at video games and long after we're usually done posting for the day. But training camp represents the very, very close return of actual, factual football and we can all stop talking about coaching staff changes, retirements and Tom Brady's under-inflated balls.
For me, the thing that stood out the most is the fact that the Levi's Stadium field looked like a disaster. There was a prep all-star game prior to the practice, but other than that there was only about an hour of practice on the field before it was looking torn up and when a field looks torn up -- it's dangerous. Multiple beat writers pointed out that the field looked like trash, and Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area noted that the team is scheduled to have eight consecutive practices at Levi's Stadium.
This seriously does not bode well. This field was a disaster all last season, and the 49ers already plan to re-sod way more than usual this season. This should not be a problem, but it is and if the 49ers aren't careful, somebody is going to get hurt. Here's a picture from Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, and here's another below:
In other actual football news, there were some interesting lineups to start. Again, as noted by Maiocco, the starting offensive line featured Joe Looney at center, Marcus Martin at right guard and Erik Pears at right tackle. It's interesting that Looney is playing center instead of Martin, but I wonder if the 49ers consider Daniel Kilgore "the guy" at center, and want to see how Martin plays the guard spot. Kilgore was certainly the 49ers' top offensive lineman last season.
On the defensive side of the ball, Quinton Dial, Ian Williams and Glenn Dorsey started on the defensive line, as noted by Branch. It will be real interesting to see how Dial is used this season in particular. I actually thought he looked great at nose tackle, but Williams and Dorsey are the obvious guys there. Williams is one of my favorite players on the roster and hopefully he can stay healthy.
John MIddlekauff had a bunch of Tweets from the day, where he said both Carlos Hyde and Aldon Smith looked exceptionally well. But I thought the more encouraging Tweet was this one. In it, he says NaVorro Bowman pulled a big spin move on a blitz, beat the guard and sacked Colin Kaepernick. A positive sign, indeed. Another positive sign: Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News reporting a couple of big passes from Kaepernick to wide receiver Torrey Smith, which is nice to hear.
Inman also posted a video of the first offensive snap of training camp, so you can verify for yourself that football is a real thing that is happening.
Anyway, it was Inman who got his practice recap up first so we'll talk about that one. Outside of Bowman and Kaepernick, he thought that Nick Moody looked good next to Bowman, which is solid. Moody also nabbed a Blaine Gabbert interception. It wasn't all bad for Gabbert though, as he hit rookie tight end Blake Bell for a beautiful reception that may have been the highlight of the session.
For the negatives: tight end Vernon Davis dropped a pass (PANIC SERIOUSLY EVERYBODY PANIC WE'RE ALL DOOMED THIS IS THE END OH MY GOD OH MY), and the offensive line was a bit shaky, especially the right side. That's to be expected, but Inman singled out Pears in particular for not making a "sterling first impression.")