Boone opens 49ers' camp as favorite for starting role


Boone opens 49ers' camp as favorite for starting role

The 49ers saw an opportunity to upgrade at right guard. They did not offer contracts to incumbent Adam Snyder or his top backup from a year ago, Chilo Rachal. But, then, they did not spend a lot of time looking outside the organization for a new starter.
Then, the 49ers did not sign any veterans in free agency, and the only player added to the mix was a fourth-round draft pick who is recovering from a serious foot injury.Still, the 49ers believe they're in good position on the offensive line heading into training camp:Offensive line
When news broke this offseason that the 49ers planned to convert backup tackle Alex Boone to right guard, it was expected he would take part in a fierce competition for the starting job. Now, it's questionable whether there will even be a competition during training camp.Boone made a relatively seamless transition from his role as the 49ers' backup tackle on both sides. In the offseason, he showed plenty of promise as he adapted to his new assignments, stance and technique. If he can keep it going when the pads go on, Boone will undoubtedly be the starting right guard to open the season.The rest of the 49ers' offensive line appears set with incumbents: left tackle Joe Staley, left guard Mike Iupati, center Jonathan Goodwin and right tackle Anthony Davis.Early in the offseason, the 49ers took a look at veteran free-agent guards Leonard Davis, Jason Brown, Deuce Lutui and Geoff Schwartz. But the only interior lineman they have added is guard Joe Looney, a fourth-round draft pick whom the 49ers selected after trading out of the third round.Looney sustained a very serious Lisfranc foot fracture during practice before the Senior Bowl. Looney was seen rehabbing throughout the offseason, but he was not cleared to participate in practices. Coach Jim Harbaugh said he expects Looney to be available "at some point in training camp."The team's top interior backup figures to be second-year player Daniel Kilgore, who worked this offseason as the backup center and could be the long-term answer to eventually take over for Goodwin.The 49ers will suit up seven offensive linemen among the 46 players allowed to be in uniform for regular-season games. Kilgore appears to be in line to be the top backup. Kilgore could fill the role as the backup at center and both guard positions. If a replacement tackle were needed, Boone could take on that responsibility with Kilgore filling in at right guard.The 49ers figure to keep 10 or 11 offensive linemen around during the regular season (including practice squad). So there will be plenty of competition for those spots.Mike Person was on the 49ers' 53-man roster last season as a rookie, but he did not suit up for any games. He lined with the second team at left tackle during the offseason program. He also saw some action at guard.Rookie Jason Slowey, a sixth-round draft pick from Western Oregon, was the third-team center behind Goodwin and Kilgore. Chase Beeler, who underwent surgery to repair a broken right had, saw limited work during the offseason. He spent much of his rookie season on the 49ers' practice squad.Kenny Wiggins and Al Netter worked at right tackle. Garrett Chisolm and Derek Hall worked at guard on the second team, while David Gonzales lined up at guard with the third team.

49ers' head coach Kyle Shanahan takes pride in speed of offense

49ers' head coach Kyle Shanahan takes pride in speed of offense

SANTA CLARA – If there is any validity to Matt Ryan’s complaint that former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan struggled getting play calls to his quarterback in a timely fashion, it is difficult to find much evidence.

The past two seasons, only three teams went through an entire season without the play clock expiring on offense. The Falcons under Shanahan went without a delay-of-game penalty both of the past two seasons. The Denver Broncos of last season were the only other offensive unit in the NFL that was not penalized for the play clock hitting :00.

“Any play-caller that you talk to that’s usually one of the most important things and something I pride myself on a lot, is how quick can you get a play call into a quarterback,” said Shanahan, who will remain the playcaller for the 49ers while also serving as head coach.

"And the quicker you do the more comfortable it is, not just for him but the entire offense. They’re not panicked. They’re being able to move to the line. And with me as a coordinator personally, I try almost every situation to get it in as fast as possible. And I can be honest, there’s sometimes I do better than others. There are sometimes I don’t do it as good. There’s sometimes I do it real good.”

Shanahan said he took a lot of pride in the fact that the Falcons avoided any delay-of-game penalties the past two seasons. He said Ryan deserves credit, too.

“I was really proud of those guys on offense, which is a lot of credit to Matt and the rest of the guys, that regardless when we did get it in, two years straight without a delay of game and being the only team to even do that one year I think was a pretty impressive task,” Shanahan said. “We did a good job of that as a whole.”

In a recent interview with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, Ryan was critical of Shanahan’s timeliness in delivering the play calls in the Falcons' collapse in Super Bowl 51. (It did not appear the Falcons' offense was scrambling to get to the line of scrimmage and get the ball snapped after the built a 28-3 lead.)

“Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in," Ryan told Prisco. "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.”

Shanahan said on Thursday that he wants his offense to play fast. Shanahan said he sets his offense so there is no need to audible out of a play if the defense is geared to stop the primary option on a particular call.

“If it’s not the perfect play, there’s usually four other options that you’ve just got to adjust to and either get an incompletion or get a smaller gain,” Shanahan said. “But, it’s not, ‘Hey, if I don’t call the perfect play, you check and get us into the perfect play.’

"I’ve been in systems like that and it’s just what your opinion is, and there’s really no right answer, but I was pretty happy with how our system worked in Atlanta. And I’ve been confident with players playing fast and not putting so much pressure on them to fix every play that the coordinator calls. I like to put a little more on myself and I want them when I do call a bad play, we’ll give you an answer."

Shanahan will continue to call the plays from the sideline. Quarterback Brian Hoyer said he insisted on working on the radio communication during the offseason program. Hoyer played in Shanahan's offense in 2014 with the Cleveland Browns, and he said that experience should help him relay the calls more smoothly to his teammates in the huddle.

"I kind of have a method of I want to be just outside the huddle when the play is coming out," Hoyer said. "I don’t want to be in the huddle trying to give the play while he’s talking to me. I want to hear him say the play in my helmet, take a second, get in the huddle and then call the play.

"Back in Cleveland when I was just learning the system I was just trying to repeat what he was saying, get it to the team and then as I’m walking to the line of scrimmage think of the play. Whereas now, I hear the play coming in and I can paint a picture of what Kyle is trying to emphasize on that play, and then relay it to the rest of the offense and break the huddle and go. We’ve been doing that I think pretty much since day one is using that coach-to-quarterback communication.”

49ers receive early vindication on selection of Reuben Foster

49ers receive early vindication on selection of Reuben Foster

SANTA CLARA – General manager John Lynch received the text message Wednesday from Dr. Tim McAdams that might have come as a surprise to many of the teams that passed on linebacker Reuben Foster during the draft.

The 49ers’ team physician declared Foster’s surgically repaired right shoulder is ready to play football. The 49ers are scheduled for their first practice of training camp on Friday, and Foster will be a full participant.

“We feel great about our doctors, our medical program here,” Lynch said on Thursday, as the 49ers reported to training camp. “Our trainer, Jeff Ferguson, is as good as there is in the league. Dr. McAdams, world-renowned. He has the Stanford name behind him.

“We challenged him numerous times. From his observation, the shoulder was good.”

Foster’s tumble to the back end of the first round was widely blamed on his shoulder condition. The 49ers traded with the Seattle Seahawks to select Foster with the No. 31 overall pick. Almost immediately, the 49ers were scrutinized for making the selection.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported some teams did not even consider drafting Foster. One “well-placed source with knowledge of the injury” told Schefter that Foster’s surgery “didn’t take.”

The 49ers’ willingness to clear Foster for the first day of camp is a reality that appears to be in stark contrast to the opinions around the league that Foster’s shoulder would require additional surgery. The 49ers expect Foster to be ready Sunday for the first padded, contact practice of training camp.

“We pride ourselves in doing all of our due diligence, not afterward, but before we make the decisions,” Lynch said. “We’d done exhaustive research on Reuben Foster in a lot of different areas. Medically was one area.”

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he the nature of Foster’s injury convinced him that even the worst-case scenario, in the big picture, was not so bad. Foster sustained a torn rotator cuff in Alabama’s national semifinal game against Washington and played the championship game against Clemson with the injury.

“I was proud of our doctors for putting themselves out there and giving their honest opinion about what they felt,” Shanahan said. “They feel it is healed, and it’s going to be good. I respect them for doing that. They went against the norm on that, and that isn’t always easy.

“(I’m) pretty confident when it is a shoulder injury, if it doesn’t heal the right way or it’s done wrong, you have to re-do a surgery, yes, it’s time, but it’s not going to affect the guy we saw on tape.”