Jim Harbaugh didn’t hide his disappointment Tuesday that tight end Vernon Davis and right guard Alex Boone no showed on the first of the 49ers three-day mini camp. Harbaugh, told reporters he wasn’t beating around the bush, “It’s not the decision that I envision being the 49er way”.
Enough said. The Head Coach didn’t need to bite on the many follow up questions surrounding the holdouts, to make it clear he wasn’t happy. “We’re going to focus on the guys who are here. We are going to practice. We are going to do a great job of making the team better,” he said.
Both Boone and Davis are looking to extend contracts that run through 2015 and face fines of nearly $70,000 if they miss all three days of minicamp.
Second-year tight end Vance McDonald could be one of the players to benefit from Davis’ absence. McDonald goes from having little opportunity in the passing game in 2013 when he caught the ball just eight times for 119 yards, to being the team’s number one tight end in minicamp. Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman compared him Tuesday to a Swiss army knife, but really, he mostly blocked last season.
In what Roman called the final exam for the spring, minicamp will be an opportunity for the 49ers to get back to basics and learn what Roman says will be a different offense in 2014. “Starting with the beginning of the offseason, we as the offensive staff, after three years here, it’s time to clean out the garage type of thing.” said Roman. ” We went through everything we’ve done and really stripped it back down to it most element, basic parts and start over at square one. ”
On paper, the offense looks versatile with the additions of wide receivers Brandon Lloyd, Rookie Bruce Ellington and former Buffalo wide out Stevie Johnson. Could more three wide receiver sets be in the 49ers future? It certainly sounds like it.
Rookie running back Carlos Hyde has impressed early, while Roman wouldn’t compare him to Frank Gore he called him, a guy that football just makes sense to and said, “Carlos can do pretty much everything that we do.”
Expect competition at many different positions. The 49ers have four quarterbacks on the bench behind Colin Kaepernick, including veterans Josh Johnson and Blaine Gabbert. “We are competing for that spot”, said Harbaugh, who’s been very impressed with former first-round pick, Gabbert. “Mentally, physically-all the attributes you like to see in a quarterback. He’s been very good, very solid,” Harbaugh said of Gabbert, who has gotten most of the back-up reps.
Cornerback Eric Wright called it a career Tuesday. While it might not seem like a huge loss, Wright would have given the 49ers depth at what is arguably the team’s weakest position. Who starts at Cornerback is sure to be one of the ongoing storylines as the 49ers head into training camp in the fourth week of July.