The start of April brings with it the slow return to some kind of real football. This month teams open their offseason workout programs. They open with basic strength and conditioning work, and eventually climb to actual on-field football activities. OTAs get going in May, and mandatory minicamp is not until June, but this is a step toward real football!
The first workout programs start today, Monday, April 2nd. The teams that get going today are those with new head coaches. That group includes the Oakland Raiders (Jon Gruden), Tennessee Titans (Mike Vrabel), Detroit Lions (Matt Patricia), Indianapolis Colts (Frank Reich), Arizona Cardinals (Steve Wilks), Chicago Bears (Matt Nagy), and New York Giants (Pat Shurmur).
The team most notably not on that list? Our San Francisco 49ers!
For the first time since 2014, the 49ers will not be starting their offseason workout program with the early group. Any team with a returning head coach is allowed to start their program on April 16. That means we are two weeks away from the start of the 49ers offseason workout program.
This is not exactly breaking news, but given how much of the past four years have gone, it’s still kind of a big deal. Following Jim Harbaugh’s final year as head coach, the 49ers promoted and fired Jim Tomsula, then hired and fire Chip Kelly, and then hired Kyle Shanahan.
For the first time in a while, the 49ers have some stability. The last time they had this kind of stability. Things were already heading south in 2014, as Harbaugh entered what would be his final year. There were the trade discussions with the Cleveland Browns, and of course, plenty of anonymous criticisms that eventually finished with Harbaugh leaving for the University of Michigan.
Things were a mess in 2015 and 2016, but Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch appear to have brought some actual stability to the organization. And it starts with something as simple as not starting the offseason workout program two weeks early!