Q&A with 49ers president Jed York

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Q&A with 49ers president Jed York

Players and coaches may be gone for the bye week, but there is still work being done. 49ers general manager Trent Baalke is away on a ten day scouting trip, and Jed York is currently focused on several community events.

The 49ers have partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank, and Wednesday, York helped kick off the annual Holiday food drive. I caught up with the team president and asked him a few questions about the team seven weeks into the season.

Mindi Bach: Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh were brought in to turn around this team. But did you expect the results theyve had just 6 games into the season?Jed York: I am not surprised with coach and Im not surprised with Trent being able to work well together and make sure they continue to make the team better. Thats what we talk about. Its coming to work every day and getting a little bit better each day. And I think thats what youre seeing with our team. Nobody is satisfied with where we are right now because we arent playing the best football that we can play. And thats what were trying to do, get better each and every day.
MB: Is there anything that you are able to take advantage of at this time and are working on given the bye week?JY: I think its good for the coaches and players to just get a little bit of time to sort of take a deep breath, relax, prepare for a short week in Baltimore thats coming up in a few weeks so they can get a little bit of extra preparation for that, but its really business as usual.MB: A lot of key players in this 5-1 record who are on one year contracts. Alex Smith, Dashon Goldson, Carlos Rogers; Ahmad Brooks is in final year of a 2 year deal When will you and Trent sit down and start addressing which of those players you will bring back?JY: Trent and Jim are talking about that now and will continue to assess that situation and figure out whos going to be a part of this moving forward. But were making sure were focusing on this year and just getting better one day at a time.MB: Do you expect some of those extensions to be done before the end of the regular season?
JY: You know there are guys that weve extended. Obviously Frank Gore is one of those guys that we extended, so its not out of the question. But thats something that Jim and Trent will discuss and figure out.
MB: The Bears and Bucs are playing in London this week. The NFL has agreed to play an annual game there for another five seasons. As your dad is the head of the leagues International Committee, will you request for the 49ers to return to play there in the near future? 49ers played the Broncos at Wembley Stadium last season.
JY: We had a great experience going to London. I wouldnt be surprised if we go back, but thats something that the league will work with all the different teams on, and obviously, its something that we enjoyed being over there and helped kick off a little bit of a mini winning streak last year. And I think thats a good thing for your team to be together like that in a different location. So I think its very good for the football operations to do things like that.
MB: But will you push for the 49ers to return to play in London?
JY: I think it depends on what Coach and Trent want to do and well have that discussion internally and figure out whats the best thing for the football team.
The 49ers are asking fans to please consider a donation to the Second Harvest Food Bank. There will be collection barrels at future home games, but a monetary donation is preferred. 1 buys two meals with the food the organization can buy in bulk. Last year Second Harvest fed 250,000 people.

49ers begin final phase of offseason program

49ers begin final phase of offseason program

The 49ers have graduated back to the phase of the offseason when offense-vs.-defense drills are allowed.

Because of the hiring of Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers were allowed an additional “voluntary” minicamp before the NFL draft. That meant the 49ers were permitted to skip from the two-week conditioning phase of the offseason straight to what is allowed under Phase III.

But after the three-day minicamp in late-April, the 49ers were forced to retreat back to Phase II, when on-field drills but could not include offense vs. defense.

Beginning Monday – and over the next three weeks -- the 49ers can get back to conducting the standard one-on-one, 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 "non-contact" drills. The 49ers have the maximum number of 10 organized team activities scheduled. The official offseason program concludes with a mandatory minicamp scheduled for June 13-15.

The real competition does not begin until the pads go on during training camp. but here’s a look at the team’s most notable offseason competitions (one position you will not find is quarterback, where the depth chart of Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley and C.J. Beathard appears clearly set):

Running back: Carlos Hyde, entering the final year of his original four-year contract, has a lot of competition to hold onto his role as the featured back. He is coming off his most-productive season, finishing just 12 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark when he sustained a knee injury with one game remaining. Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner lobbied for Utah running back Joe Williams in the draft. They clearly see a fit for him within the system.

Pass-rush end: The 49ers’ pass rush was among the worst in the NFL the past two seasons. Arik Armstead will be given an opportunity to see if he can adapt to the “Leo” position. Aaron Lynch must earn the confidence of the coaching staff and front office. The 49ers added explosive, 243-pound pass Pita Taumoepenu in the sixth round.

Tight end: The 49ers confirmed Vance McDonald was available for a trade during the draft. After finding no takers, the 49ers brought back McDonald and he rejoins the competition among rookies George Kittle and Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

Cornerback: Rashard Robinson is the obvious choice to start on one side. And assuming Jimmie Ward remains at free safety, the 49ers have no other player on the roster who has started a significant number of games at cornerback. Rookie Ahkello Witherspoon, a third-round draft pick, will have a legitimate opportunity to win a starting job, as long as he displays a willingness to stick his nose into the action and play with the requisite level of physicality. Dontae Johnson, Keith Reaser and Will Redmond should also be in the mix to replace Tramaine Brock, who was released shortly after his arrest after an alleged domestic incident last month.

Center: Jeremy Zuttah, a Pro Bowl performer, was added in the offseason via a trade with the Baltimore Ravens. Daniel Kilgore has been the 49ers’ center the past three seasons but injuries have limited him to just 23 starts over that period of time. Zuttah has position flexibility. The 49ers could determine the best thing for the offensive line is to move Zuttah to one of the guard positions – to challenge Zane Beadles or Joshua Garnett -- if he is not clearly better than Kilgore.

Weakside linebacker: The 49ers signed veteran Malcolm Smith on the first day of free agency, providing him with $11.5 million of fully guaranteed money. The 49ers ranked Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster as the No. 3 overall prospect in the draft. They traded up to select him at No. 31 overall. Assuming Foster is ready to compete at the beginning of training camp after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, it appears likely he would line up in that position and compete with Smith. The 49ers’ medical staff does not believe Foster will require any additional surgery, and Foster said he expects to be cleared for the opening of camp.

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spent last offseason working with Tom House and Adam Dedeaux on his throwing mechanics.

Ryan went on to set career-bests in completion percentage (69.9), yards passing (4,944), touchdowns (38), interceptions (7) and passer rating (117.1).

New 49ers quarterback Matt Barkley worked with House and Dedeaux for the fourth offseason in Southern California before reporting to Santa Clara for the team’s offseason program.

“Kyle (Shanhan) is on board with what House and those guys are doing – I think, really, because of the year Matt Ryan had,” Barkley said on “The 49ers Insider Podcast” on NBC Sports Bay Area.

“He’s a believer in that. He saw the benefits of what Matt did with some of his drops and the timing on routes, how he changed his feet on some things. So we’re kind of sticking with that plan. Everyone is a little different, but for the most part we’re all on the same page when it comes to what our drops are looking like, our footwork and how the ball is coming out.”

House is a former major league pitcher and pitching coach who founded the 3DQB training facility in Los Angeles. Dedeaux pitched at USC and is the grandson of USC baseball coaching legend Rod Dedeaux. Former NFL quarterback John Beck is a motion mechanics instructor.

Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Alex Smith and Carson Palmer are among the NFL quarterbacks who have worked with 3DQB.

“I believe in those guys and what they’re doing,” Barkley said. “They’re at the top of their game, working with Brady and a bunch of other guys. They’ve helped me.

“He won’t change your throwing motion or really tweak how the ball comes out, but he’s going to try to maximize velocity and ground force production and torque -- a lot of sports science terms. But, really, just maximizing efficiency with your motion and making sure you’re sequencing is right.”

Barkley had never played for Shanahan before signing a two-year contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency. But there are two obvious connections. Barkley’s offensive coordinator last season with the Chicago Bears was Dowell Loggains, Shanahan’s quarterbacks coach in 2014 when Shanahan was the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator. The other connection is House.

"It’s kind of funny, he worked with Atlanta’s staff all of last year, helped Matt Ryan, kind of build his base from the ground up and helped him a lot and he had an MVP year," Barkley said of House.

"There may have been talks down the pipeline, who knows. I don’t think that was the deciding factor by any means, but it never hurts.”