49ers Mailbag: How much impact will Camp Hoyer have?

49ers Mailbag: How much impact will Camp Hoyer have?

The 49ers’ official offseason program wrapped up last month. The team returns to practice on July 28 as it eases into training camp at its headquarters in Santa Clara.

But, as promised, a good number of the team’s offensive skill players are holding a get-together at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, as documented on Marquise Goodwin’s Instagram story.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer, who is well-versed in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, is the central figure of the workouts. A total of 16 players, including all four quarterbacks, were on hand for the Camp Hoyer workouts Monday and Tuesday.

“It is such a long period of time that you want to get together at least for some period,” Hoyer said as the 49ers concluded their offseason program.

“We're aiming for right in the middle of when we leave and when we come back. We'll get as many guys together as we can. You can't accommodate everybody because people are going all across the country. We're going to get together and get three days in and then come back ready to go on July 27th.”

This edition of 49ers Mailbag kicks off with a question about the importance of these workouts:

How much of an impact will Camp Hoyer be on the players? (George Fifita)
The last time the 49ers got together on their own to hold workouts on this level was 2011 during the lockout. "Camp Alex" proved to be invaluable, as then-quarterback Alex Smith was given all the teaching tools -- playbook and game film -- and was able to install the offense during extended workouts at San Jose State when the players were not allowed to have any contact with the coaching staff.

This is different because all the players attending the workouts at SMU took part in the 49ers’ offseason program. So these sessions are a refresher course of what they have already learned. But, more important, it is a great opportunity for the team to spend time with one another and create a bond. It's also a great opportunity to develop quarterback-receiver chemistry and trust.

Hoyer has done all the right things since Shanahan targeted him to be the team’s starting quarterback. Organizing an event such as this is a way for him to earn more confidence from the offensive teammates on whom he must rely.

Is there any chance that the new regime has already decided to develop the rookie QB Beathard rather than go after Kirk Cousins if and when he becomes a free agent? Is there anyway that no matter how well Hoyer does next season would he be the starter for 2018? (Michael Monico)
Typically, the answer to “any chance” questions is yes. After all, there’s almost always a chance that something will happen.

But there is no chance the organization has already decided that C.J. Beathard is the quarterback for the 2018 season. Of course, it might turn out that way. You never know. But the 49ers have a lot of time before they must commit to a course of action for 2018.

As for your second question, of course, there’s a chance for Hoyer to be the 49ers’ starting quarterback in 2018.

The 49ers did not make a commitment this offseason for a long-term answer at quarterback. Next offseason will likely be different. If the 49ers fall on their faces and win just a couple games, the long-term answer could come via the draft.

But if the 49ers made a marked improvement and tumble out of the draft spot where they can assure themselves the quarterback they want, they’ll either be happy with their starting quarterback situation for the future or they will have to consider the free-agent market. If Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo are available in free agency, they would be the top-two options available.

Currently, the 49ers have $66.8 million in salary cap room that is eligible to be rolled over into 2018. So the 49ers can basically go as high as necessary to secure a quarterback for the long term.

Do you think Carlos Hyde has any real shot of losing his starting job? (Tiny Martinez)
Very few players have secured their starting jobs for the upcoming season. Carlos Hyde is not among those.

He is entering the final year of his contract, and we all know how badly Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner wanted Joe Williams in the draft. Shanahan and Turner would not have stood on the table for Williams if they did not have a clear vision for how he fits into their offensive plan.

Hyde is an immensely talented running back whose bid for 1,000 yards came up just 12 yards short due to a late-season knee injury. He is healthy. But he is learning a new system. Shanahan and Turner hand-picked a running back they believe best-fits the requirements of the position in their scheme.

Hyde is probably still the favorite to win the starting job, but he will have to earn it. However it shakes out, it is probably safe to assume the club will employ more of a backs-by-committee approach with Williams and Tim Hightower available for key roles.

Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

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Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

There is no shortage of blame to go around for the Atlanta Falcons’ collapse in Super Bowl 51.

The Falcons built a 28-3 lead in the middle of the third quarter and let it slip away, ultimately falling to the New England Patriots, 34-28, in overtime.

Matt Ryan voiced one previously undisclosed factor in the collapse this week in an interview with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, pointing the finger at the new coach of the 49ers.

Kyle Shanahan has been the focus of a lot of the blame, but critique from the league MVP was a new one.

The Falcons quarterback faulted his former offensive coordinator for taking too much time to relay the play calls. Ryan said he did not have enough time to change any of the plays – presumably checking out of called pass plays to run the ball.

Here’s what Ryan told Prisco:

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in. As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

The 49ers can point to mismanagement of the clock for their own Super Bowl heartbreak. The 49ers’ offense had the perfect play call at the perfect time against the Baltimore Ravens late in Super Bowl XLVII.

But with the play clock striking :00, coach Jim Harbaugh was forced to call a timeout from the sideline. A split-second later, the ball was snapped and it appeared the quarterback run would have easily ended up with Colin Kaepernick in the end zone.

Much like after the 49ers’ loss, the Falcons left plenty of room for second-guessing.

Two of Shanahan’s plays calls, which directly led to the collapse, will forever be scrutinized.

The first came with 8:31 remaining in regulation and the Falcons holding a 28-12 lead. On third and 1 from the Atlanta 36, Shanahan did not remain conservative with an expected run play. He swung for the fence.

Receiver Aldrick Robinson, whom the 49ers added this offseason as a free-agent pickup, was breaking free past the Patriots secondary for what could have been a touchdown. But just as Ryan was unloading, New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower hit him and forced the fumble. Running back Devonta Freeman whiffed on blitz pickup, which would have provided Ryan with enough time to target Robinson deep.

Ryan’s explanation does not appear applicable on this play, though. In watching the replay, the Falcons broke the huddle with more than 25 seconds remaining on the play clock and the snap occurred with :15 to spare.

The other questionable sequence came after the Falcons – leading by eight points -- got to the New England 22-yard line with less than five minutes to play. The Falcons lost 1 yard on a run play on first down.

On second down, Ryan was sacked for a 12-yard loss. Before that play, the Falcons broke the huddle with :19 on the play clock. The snap occurred with :04 remaining. The game clock was running, so the Falcons had reason to attempt to burn as much clock as possible.

In the fourth quarter, the Falcons never seemed rushed to get off a play. The closest they came to delay-of-game penalties were when they snapped the ball with :04 on the one play and :03 another time. The majority of their snaps occurred with :10 or more seconds to spare.

If the Falcons were guilty of anything when it came to the play clock, it was that the offense did not waste more time. After New England pulled to within 28-9 late in the third quarter, the Falcons ran only six offensive plays while the game clock was running.

On those six plays, the Falcons snapped the ball with :13, :09, :14, :20, :13 and :04 remaining on the play clock. If they’d snapped the ball with one second remaining each time, they could have shortened the game by 1 minute, 7 seconds. The Patriots scored the game-tying touchdown with :57 remaining in regulation.

Uh-oh: Is Kyle Shanahan going to be Harbaugh-tastic in his timing?

Uh-oh: Is Kyle Shanahan going to be Harbaugh-tastic in his timing?

Until now, Kyle Shanahan’s hiring by the San Fracisco 49ers looked great because of his two-and-a-half predecessors – the last days of Jim Harbaugh, the misplaced concept of Jim Tomsula and the couldn’t-make-chicken-marsala-out-of-old-Kleenex problems surrounding Chip Kelly.

But now, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has told us all that Shanahan has a gift we in the Bay Area know all too well. Specifically, that Shanahan took too long to call plays to the Super Bowl the Falcons vomited up to the New England Patriots.

Now who does that remind you of, over and over again?

Yes, some things are evergreen, and too many options in this overly technological age seems to be one of them. Data in is helpful, but command going out is what bells the cow. Ryan said Shanahan was, well, almost Harbaugh-tastic in his timing.

“Kyle’s play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in,” Ryan told Bleacher Report. “As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you’re talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, ‘There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.’ You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

“With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You’re not being aggressive not running it there.”

And the reason this matters is because the Atlanta Shanahan had multiple good options on every play. In San Francsco, at least in the short term, he’ll be dealing with minimal options. That could speed up his choices, as in “What the hell, we don’t have Julio Jones.” But it could also mean more delays, as in, “Okay, him . . . no, maybe not . . . no, he just screwed up that play last series . . . oh, damn it, time out!”

In short, it’s growing pains season here, children. On the field, on the sidelines, and maybe even in Kyle Shanahan’s head.