Maiocco: 49ers' Gore set, Rachal must earn spot


Maiocco: 49ers' Gore set, Rachal must earn spot

Follow @MaioccoCSN

All but two of the 49ers' returning starters from a year ago participated in the two weeks of "Camp Alex" -- the offensive workshop sessions at San Jose State that took place in June.Although a lot was made of Michael Crabtree's level of participation, he sat in on seven of the eight classroom sessions. That was the important stuff, as quarterbackhead coachoffensive coordinator Alex Smith installed a sizable portion of the 49ers' base offense.Likewise, I attended seven of the eight days. Each day, I scribbled notes on which players attended and which players were absent during the offense-only get-togethers.Team player director Takeo Spikes cited that scrutiny as one of the reasons he did not like the idea of players getting together for workouts during he owners-imposed lockout."The next thing I hate about it is the fact that some guys legitimately they can't come," Spikes said last week on the 2 Live Stews radio program. "They can't come and so when you let the media come in and tape the workouts the first thing they are going to say is, 'Where is so-and-so?' From that point, on whether it is wrong or right or indifferent, the media guys will paint a picture to the public about a guy who can't legitimately come."He's correct. It was duly noted that running back Frank Gore and right guard Chilo Rachal were the 49ers' only returning starters who did not attend any of the sessions.Gore is reportedly 100 percent after sustaining a hairline fracture of his right hip Nov. 29 against the Arizona Cardinals. Gore chose to remain in Miami and continue to work at Bommarito Performance Systems, rather than disrupt his physical conditioning with cross-country flights.My take?It's not a big deal at all because of the player we're talking about. Gore might be the most intelligent football player I've been around. Smith told me that Gore only has to see a play once to "get it down cold." Former 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan once said he would consider hiring Gore as a scout once his playing career was over.It's amazing now to think that there were concerns when he was coming out of college about Gore's ability to digest an NFL playbook because of a learning disability. Of course, it has never been an issue.
Gore and Smith got a chance to learn a good chunk of the offense before the lockout. So with a pretty good grasp of the basics of the 49ers' offense, Gore chose to focus his attention on getting in top physical condition for the opening of training camp.Right guard Chilo Rachal is the only other returning starter who did not attend. Word was that he had a prior commitment for the first week of "Camp Alex." No explanation was readily available for his absence during Week 2.After the lockout, the 49ers will break into full cram mode as the coaches attempt to prepare the team for the start of the regular season, which is less than two months away.Assuming center David Baas re-signs, Rachal is the 2010 starter whose position for the upcoming season is the most tenuous. Adam Snyder, the backup at right guard a year ago, helped Joe Staley organize all the work for the offensive linemen during the player-led workouts. Snyder knows the terminology and line calls as well as anyone right now.My take?The door might open for some good competition at right guard this summer.

49ers announce more hires to Shanahan's staff

49ers announce more hires to Shanahan's staff

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.

John Lynch: 49ers will be up-front with Kaepernick

John Lynch: 49ers will be up-front with Kaepernick

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.”