The San Francisco 49ers cross an important threshold Tuesday afternoon. After three days of practices in jerseys, shorts and helmets, the team will hold their first padded practice. It is an important step that gives us a little more insight into how the players are performing. Teams can get a lot of work done in jerseys, shorts and helmets, but pads give us more insight as teams get more physical with live contact.
This impacts every player on the roster, but we will be paying particular attention to certain players. Whether a player has performed well or poorly in the practices to date, padded practices can build or kill a player's momentum. One player high on everybody's list has been DeAndrew White. He had a strong offseason workout program, and has been solid through the first three practices. Now that we will see bump-and-run in practice, we'll see how he handles the physicality of NFL cornerbacks.
The offensive and defensive lines will get a big opportunity with the move to live contact. The offensive line has struggled according to reports, but maybe a move to live contact benefits them. Of course, the 49ers defensive line and outside linebackers might be better than some anticipated, so we could hear about continued struggles by the line.
Jarryd Hayne is one player most of the media will be paying attention to on Tuesday. He has been practicing with the 49ers throughout the offseason, but this will mark the former rugby star's first time in pads. Considering he is looking to earn a spot as a return man and running back, getting into pads and dealing with live contact will be a big deal.
Here is rundown of the CBA-mandated rules about padded practices. Who else is on your list of players to track once the pads go on?
- Players may be on the field for a total of no more than 4 hours per day;
- Players may participate in no more than 1 padded practice per day, which shall be no longer than 3 hours of on-field activities;
- There must be at least a 3 hour break after the practice, and the second practice on the same day may only be for a maximum of the remaining available on-field time, and shall be limited to only "walk-through" instruction (i.e., no helmets, full-speed pre-snap, and walking pace after the snap).
- The three-hour limit on padded practices shall begin as soon as position coaches begin to coach players on the field.
- In the event that a Club begins a padded practice but such practice is cancelled within sixty minutes of its commencement due to inclement weather or for any other reason beyond the Club's control, such practice shall not count as a padded practice
- A "padded practice" shall be defined as a practice in which players are required to wear helmets and shoulder pads, in addition to any other equipment required by the Club.
- It is not a padded practice if, 1) QBs, kickers, punters, and/or long snappers only wear helmets and/or shoulder pads during practice at the option of the player(s); 2) a player who suffered a head injury is directed by a club physician to wear a helmet as a precautionary measure; 3) the quarterback and/or the defensive player who receives signals from the coaching staff via helmet communication wear helmets during the team period in which helmets are used for such communication.