The San Francisco 49ers will hold their third practice of training camp on Tuesday, and it marks a significant change. The team will put on pads for the first time. OTAs and minicamp were all unpadded, as were the first two practices of training camp.
It is going to take some time to see how everything shakes out, but putting on the pads will add even more context to the many position battles. Some wide receivers can run great when there are no pads, and no bump-and-run. Offensive and defensive linemen can work on technique plenty without pads. But putting on the pads and having more contact will move things even further along. The first preseason game will be a significant inflection point for our outside assessments, but before then, the start of padded practices is its own inflection point.
The 49ers will have Wednesday off, so that will give us some time to assess the depth chart and bubble watch. There will be a certain overreaction to that after one day of padded practice, but really every day of training camp brings some kind of over-reaction from most of us. It’s one sort of negative about having football back. We get a flood of information after months of nothing.