The San Francisco 49ers are back at practice on Monday, and it marks the start of phase two of the offseason workout program. In this phase, coaches are allowed to take part in on-field instruction with players. There is no live contact, but "perfect play" drills are allowed where you have just the entire offense or just the entire defense on the field.
The team went through phase one the last two weeks, which got started early because of changing head coaches. The on-field work in phase one allows only strength and conditioning coaches on the field. However, during that two week stretch, the players were doing class-room work learning the playbook. The big thing now is that they get to implement what they have been learning. Live contact is incredibly important, but these next three weeks lay the groundwork for how quickly the offense and defense will develop in training camp.
The big thing to take from this will be the activity of one-time injured players. Wide receiver DeAndre Smelter is among the more notable, having sat out last season with a college ACL injury. All indications are that he is 100 percent for on-field work. Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey is rehabbing a torn ACL as well. I believe some people spotted him in 49ers photos from the first week of workouts. I would be surprised if he was involved in on-field instruction at this point. Safety Antoine Bethea would seem more likely to be on the field given his pec injury. Tight end Busta Anderson is another name to watch. He was a late pick-up last year due to numerous injuries. Given the questions at tight end, he could work his way into a role this year.
Here are the specific rules for phase two:
(ii) Phase Two. Phase Two shall consist of the next three weeks of the Club's offseason workout program. Subject to the additional rules set forth in Section 5 of this Article, during Phase Two all coaches shall be allowed on the field. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills, as well as "perfect play" drills (e.g., offense or defense only, but not offense vs. defense), or special teams drills on a "separates" basis (e.g.., kicking team or return team only, but not kicking team vs. return team). No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted. No offense vs. defense drills are permitted (e.g.., no one-on-one offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump- and-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted.) Players cannot wear helmets during Phase Two.