Day two of OTAs is in the books for the San Francisco 49ers, and though we have a long way to go until September, the day had a few interesting takeaways. Without further adieu, here are 5 Fun 49ers Takeaways from the second day of OTAs.
NaVorro Bowman Is Ready and Going Nowhere Fast
There was a rumor circulating a couple weeks back that LB NaVorro Bowman was on the trading block. That rumor was quickly squashed by general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan, both of whom addressed the rumor with Bowman directly. As far as Bowman is concerned, it’s a blip.
“…I’m a man of challenges,” said Bowman. “I overcome whatever comes on my plate. It doesn’t matter what you think of me. It’s what I think of myself and how hard I work.”
Coming off last year’s Achilles injury, Bowman is excited to be back out there with his teammates.
“I’m feeling great,” said Bowman. “I’m just excited to be back out there playing real football…Now we’re able to fly around and learn the defense and get used to playing with each other…It’s always good to just lead guys and be an example…”
“I won’t be on the sideline,” said Bowman. “I’m going to tell you that now.”
Wide receiver Trent Taylor is impressive and fun to watch. The slot receiver is tiny but mighty, and he continues to impress with his ability to separate and read defenses and is definitely a favorite target among the backup quarterbacks.
“He’s very quick,” said Shanahan. “He’s a very tough player. His feet are usually under him. So, he always can make a couple moves in a short area which is a quality that a lot of people look for in a slot receiver. And he also has the toughness and awareness to…sit down in zones and know when he doesn’t have to do all these moves because no one’s looking at him…He gets up the field. He fights for yards. He’s got those qualities you look for in the type of player who keeps you on the field, which is usually third down.”
No doubt about it – Taylor is going to get a lot of love from 49er fans this season.
The Offense is a Work in Progress
That being said, Taylor is going to need someone to throw him the ball, and today was not a great day for the 49ers’ quarterbacks…or the 49ers offense for that matter.
“I would say without watching the film that [the defense]had a better day today,” said Shanahan. “I thought it was pretty close yesterday. I wouldn’t say either one is ahead.”
But it’s Day 2 of OTAs, so it’s way too early to make a judgement there. However, it is abundantly clear that everyone is fighting for their roster spot. The offensive line was in flux throughout the day, which was by design.
“Competition brings out the best in everyone,” said Shanahan. “All we have to go off of is watching tape from what they’ve had in the past. We want to balance everyone out, give everyone opportunities at each position. We need to see for ourselves, doing what we’re asking them to do, the techniques and the schemes and find out what the best place is for guys.”
Meanwhile the running back corps of Carlos Hyde, Tim Hightower (who was celebrating a birthday), Joe Williams, Kapri Bibbs and Matt Breida all had significant reps.
“Nobody is locked in at anything,” said Shanahan.
Aaron Lynch is Getting in Shape
Aaron Lynch looked like he was in much better shape that he was a few weeks ago. He told reporters that he was in the 280s, and that the team would like him to get down to the 260s or 270s. Lynch admitted to letting himself go in the food department in the offseason but said he’s in better shape today than he was a year ago at this time.
“I’m working my ass of right now,” Lynch said. “Trying to do everything they’re asking me to do.”
His new head coach seems pleased with his progress.
“There’s no doubt Aaron’s going in the right direction for us,” Shanahan said. “He came in in the offseason, we challenged him hard with just the way we worked and stuff. He hasn’t shied away from any of it. He’s jumped in on all of our stuff.”
The Team is Coming Together
I asked Shanahan if he’s seen an attitude shift from the first day he met with the team to today, and he has. And it’s been a good thing.
“I think you get to learn personalities more. Everyone, the first…we don’t know each other and you’re just trying to tell them what the standard is and how things are going to be and they’re all sitting there wanting to know the standard and they’re wanting to do things the right way. Then, each day you kind of get to know what that standard is, how it’s going to be and once you get that down, you start to learn how each other are just as a person. I think that’s a process we’re still going it through, but I think it’s gone great. I think we’re getting closer each day. It does take time, but I’m really happy with the tightness of our team in the little amount of time we’ve been together.”
Football is back 49ers fans. Let’s get to work.