Maiocco: Observations from Camp Alex


Maiocco: Observations from Camp Alex

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Today marks the one-week anniversary of the opening of "Camp Alex," the first 49ers' players-organized practice sessions since the 1987 strike.Here are some quick thoughts after being around for the final three days of the work at San Jose State:
--There's not much more that could be expected from unsigned quarterback Alex Smith during this work stoppage. He is living up to expectations in March, April, May and June. And none of it will matter one bit unless he also plays well and leads the 49ers to some victories in September, October, November and December.--As much recognition as Alex Smith got for being the ringleader for the week of work, he was not alone. Offensive lineman Joe Staley got in touch with rookies Daniel Kilgore and Mike Person and invited them to bunk at his place. He has stepped up as the leader on the offensive line.WATCH: More video from Camp Alex
--Adam Snyder, who knows every position on the offensive line, also did his fair share when the linemen broke into a separate groups to go over their protection assignments. Snyder, by the way, looks to be in tremendous physical condition. He has dropped his weight to 300 pounds by declining super-sized eating portions. His weight is lower than it has been since he was a sophomore at Oregon, he said.
--Center David Baas said he wants to re-sign with the 49ers. And he proved it when he took a cross-country flight to participate in the final day. He came into the NFL at the same time as Alex Smith, so there's been no system continuity in his career, either. "Let's be honest," Baas said. "I've had six different playbooks. If I can't learn a playbook quickly, something's wrong. I think I messed up and said one old call out there (Thursday) versus a new call. I'm a smart guy. I'm going to pick it up."--Remember the talk a week after the draft that rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick was going to learn the 49ers' playbook from Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck? "Yeah, that was blown way out of proportion," Kaepernick said. The 49ers' playbook is different from the Stanford playbook. Kaepernick said there was never any talk of getting Luck to teach him the playbook. Luck doesn't even know the 49ers' playbook. If Kaepernick has any questions, he's asking Alex Smith.--And Alex Smith seems to know the playbook very well. His practices were very well organized. And, apparently, so were his hour-long classroom sessions. "Alex is pretty much up there and going through it like the offensive coordinator would," 49ers running back Anthony Dixon said. "It's amazing how much he knows. He know the ins and outs and all the crazy (details) we got. It's great to hear. I'm behind him 100 percent because when your quarterback is out there speaking the offense as fluent as he is, it makes you feel like it's going to be a good year."RELATED: Jim Harbaugh expects July lockout settlement; praises Smith
--Dixon is looking to put himself into position to be more of a contributor after an up-and-down rookie season. "The biggest thing is attitude," Dixon said. "You have to have the right attitude the whole year because it's so long. I feel off last year in that area. This year, I'm going to work on staying mentally focused and the right attitude and mindset."--Rookie running back Kendall Hunter looks quick and explosive. Dixon was happy that the 49ers drafted him because, he said, "They got us more help. Those reps get crazy in camp and in the preseason."
--There's no reason for the defensive players to get together in large groups because there's no teamwork aspects they can practice. Nobody has defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's playbook. That said, Justin Smith is clearly the leader on that side of the ball. He showed up Thursday with first-round pick Aldon Smith tagging along. Isaac Sopoaga, Parys Haralson, Curtis Taylor and Ray McDonald are the other defensive players showing up on a consistent basis.--McDonald, like Alex Smith and David Baas, is a scheduled free agent. I'd be very surprised if all three of those players are not re-signed shortly after the lockout concludes.RELATED: Baas shows commitment after cross country flight
--Yes, I believe Delanie Walker will see more passes come his way as the second tight end. The 49ers have used a lot of two-TE sets the past couple seasons, so Walker's role is not going to change that much. It's just that the 49ers should be better-prepared to exploit mismatches with a more sound offensive philosophy.--One of the goals of last week was to avoid injuries, Alex Smith said. Michael Crabtree took part in the classwork, but he sat out the final three days of practices with foot problems. Second-year receiver Kyle Williams pulled up with a left hamstring strain on the final day. The San Jose State athletic trainers took care of him. He was seen later walking around gingerly. He'll probably take some time off, but he should be OK.
--Speaking of San Jose State . . . The university did a phenomenal job of taking care of the 49ers and the assembled media. Alex Smith asked the director of strength and conditioning Chris Holder to get the players stretched out before practice. Holder gladly obliged. Sports information director Lawrence Fan was equally accommodating and gracious in working with the media members.

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

First-year coach Kyle Shanahan is close to completing his 49ers coaching staff.

Shanahan will handle the duties of the offensive coordinator, the position he held with Houston, Washington and Atlanta over the past nine NFL seasons.

Robert Saleh is the 49ers' new defensive coordinator, while Richard Hightower has been hired as the special-teams coordiator.

Here's a look at the 49ers' coaching staffs under Shanahan and last season under Chip Kelly:

Position: Coach (2016 job)
Head coach: Kyle Shanahan (Falcons, offensive coordinator)
Defensive coordinator: Robert Saleh (Jaguars, linebackers coach)
Special teams coordinator: Richard Hightower (Bears, assistant special teams)
Assistant head coach/tight ends: Jon Embree (Buccaneers, tight ends)
Run game specialist: Mike McDaniel (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Quarterbacks: Rich Scangarello (Wagner, offensive coordinator)
Running backs: Bobby Turner (Falcons, running backs)
Wide receivers: Mike LaFleur (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Offensive line: Vacant
Offensive assistant: T.C. McCartney (LSU, offensive assistant)
Senior defensive assistant: Jason Tarver (49ers, outside linebackers)
Defensive line: Jeff Zgonina (N.Y. Giants, assistant defensive line)
Linebackers: Johnny Holland (Browns, inside linebackers)
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Offensive quality control: Taylor Embree (Chiefs, defensive assistant)
Defensive quality control: Bobby Slowik
Head strength and conditioning: Ray Wright

* * *

Position: Coach (current status)
Head coach: Chip Kelly
Offensive coordinator: Curtis Modkins (Bears, running backs)
Defensive coordinator: Jim O’Neil
Special teams coordinator: Derius Swinton
Quarterbacks: Ryan Day (Ohio State, quarterbacks)
Running backs: Tom Rathman
Wide receivers: Bob Bicknell
Tight ends: Jeff Nixon (Baylor, co-offensive coordinator/running backs)
Offensive line: Pat Flaherty (Jaguars, offensive line)
Assistant offensive line: Eric Wolford (South Carolina, offensive line)
Defensive line: Jerry Azzinaro (Cal, defensive line)
Assistant defensive line: Vince Oghobaase
Outside linebackers: Jason Tarver (49ers, senior defensive assistant)
Inside linebacker: Joe Bowden
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Assistant defensive backs: Roy Anderson (Bears, assistant secondary)
Assistant special teams: Michael Clay
Offensive quality control: Mick Lombardi (Jets, offensive assistant/assistant QBs coach)
Defensive quality control: Tem Lukabu
Senior analyst: Dana Bible
Director of human performance: Mark Uyeyama

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

John Benton, who coached on the same staff during Kyle Shanahan’s four seasons with the Houston Texans, has reportedly received permission from the Denver Broncos to interview with the 49ers.

The Broncos hired Benton on Jan. 15 to work as the team’s assistant offensive line coach under line coach Jeff Davidson.

But Denver coach Vance Joseph and general manager John Elway provided Benton permission to interview with the 49ers, Denver’s 9News reported. The Sacramento Bee was first to report the 49ers were looking at Benton.

The offensive line coach is the last major position that remains vacant on Shanahan’s staff.

Benton worked last season as Jacksonville’s assistant offensive line coach. He worked the previous 13 seasons as offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Houston (2006-2013) and Miami (2014-15).

Shanahan’s first NFL coaching job was with Houston in 2006, when he coached wide receivers. Shanahan became the quarterbacks coach with the Texans in 2007 before spending the next two seasons as offensive coordinator under then-coach Gary Kubiak.

The 49ers announced nine additions to the coaching staff on Friday.

Also, the 49ers are expected to hire Daniel Bullocks as assistant defensive backs coach, according to The Sporting News. 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.