SANTA CLARA -- Guard Leonard Davis passed his physical and the team's conditioning test Thursday morning.And, now, he's ready to compete to return to a familiar role as a starter.Davis, 33, has started all 155 games in which he appeared with the Arizona Cardinals (six seasons) and Dallas Cowboys (four seasons). Last year, he signed with the Detroit Lions at midseason as an insurance policy and never stepped on the field.In March, he visited the 49ers shortly after undergoing foot surgery. It was the only free-agent visit he made in the offseason. He said he was cleared medically in April or May."I was hoping it was going to happen sooner," Davis said of the one-year deal he signed with the 49ers. "But they had decisions to make. And at the time, me not being here was the best decision. Right now, I'm here and I'm glad to be here and be a part of the team and help the team be successful."Davis' chance to break into the starting lineup will likely come at right guard. Alex Boone was moved from tackle to right guard during the offseason, as the 49ers look to replace Adam Snyder. The 49ers did not offer Snyder a free-agent contract and he signed with the Arizona Cardinals in the offseason.Davis said he is a good fit for the 49ers because of the team's affinity for running the football. Davis (6-foot-6, 375 pounds) is built to provide push in the run game."I felt like that last year when I was in Detroit," Davis said when asked if he feels he can still be a starter. "But when I got there, they told me, explained what my role was, and at the time they had great chemistry. So they didn't want to do anything to mess that up."Lions guards Rob Sims and Stephen Peteman started all 16 games last season.Davis showed up Thursday morning in good shape. He was able to pass the team's conditioning test with 18 runs of 40 yards in under 7 seconds, he said."I went out and ran it," he said. "They told me to do a certain number, but I was kind of like, 'This isn't too bad,' and I did the same as everyone else."
Kyle Shanahan put together some of the final pieces of his coaching staff on Tuesday.
The 49ers announced the hirings of seven coaches, including confirmation of John Benton as offensive line coach.
The team hired former NFL standout linebacker DeMeco Ryans as defensive quality control coach. He was a second-round selection of the Houston Texans in 2006 and spent 10 seasons in the league. He finished his career playing four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The 49ers also hired Daniel Bullocks as assistant defensive backs coach, Stan Kwan as assistant special teams, Vince Oghobaase as assistant defensive line, Adam Stenavich as assistant offensive line, and Michael Clay as strength and conditioning assistant.
Benton, 53, was hired away from the Broncos after being on the job for approximately a month. Benton served as Jacksonville’s assistant offensive line coach last season. He worked the previous 13 seasons as offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Houston (2006-2013) and Miami (2014-15).
Benton and Shanahan worked together for four seasons with the Houston Texans.
Bullocks worked in the same role with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. The Jaguars' linebackers coach last season, Robert Saleh, is the 49ers' new defensive coodinator. Bullocks appeared in 31 games in three NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions in 2006 and '08.
The only promises new 49ers general manager John Lynch made quarterback Colin Kaepernick for this offseason are open communication and honesty.
Kaepernick has spent all six of his NFL seasons with the 49ers after being a second-round draft pick in 2011. He has started 58 of the 49ers’ past 71 regular-season games.
Kaepernick has the contractual ability to opt out of his contract in March. If he does not, it seems likely the 49ers would release him – even if they want him back – to avoid being on the hook for his scheduled $14.9 million pay for the 2017 season.
“The one thing we will do very well with Kap is we’ll communicate,” Lynch said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game. “And I think that’s very important for both sides. Like everything else, that process is well in the works. We’ll continue to do that and we’ll be very up-front with him, in terms of what we’re thinking and we’ll want to know what he’s thinking, as well.”
Lynch said he developed trust and a good rapport with Kaepernick during the time when the 49ers were among the top teams in the NFL. Lynch was a broadcaster for FOX-TV and had occasion to meet with Kaepernick multiple times during production meetings.
“Every time we talk about Kap, I think of the guy who was in the Super Bowl not too (long ago),” Lynch said. “Things happen in guys’ careers. Injuries happen. Different things happen.”
Kaepernick began last season as the backup to Blaine Gabbert. After regaining his starting role in Week 6, Kaepernick put together his best season since 2013 – his first full season as a starter.
Kaepernick completed 59.2 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. His passer rating was 90.7, and he added 468 yards rushing.
Lynch said he and coach Kyle Shanahan have been evaluating the players on the 49ers’ roster. The other three quarterbacks on the roster – Gabbert, Christian Ponder and Thad Lewis – are not under contract for next season.
“Like we said we would – and like we told Kap we would – we’re assessing everything,” Lynch said. “Both Kyle and I believe wholeheartedly that position is the most-important position in football.
“From every side of this thing, we’re evaluating. And we’re continuing to watch the film. We’ll continue to work toward that until we have made a decision.”