Another day of OTAs has come and gone, and the San Francisco 49ers are working hard to erase the 2-14 2016 season from their minds. A good place to start – defense, and basically everywhere else.
Today’s practice seemed pretty even, with neither the offense or defense being the clear winner, but both looked good considering that it’s May 31. There’s a long way to go before September and much has yet to be decided, but here are 5 Fun 49ers Takeaways from today’s OTAs.
Rashard Robinson is all grown up
Cornerback Rashard Robinson may only be entering his second season in the NFL, but due to personnel changes in the 49ers’ defensive backfield, Robinson considers himself a veteran setting an example for the rookies.
“That’s just one thing about me, just being the old guy now in the room,” said Robinson. “We’ve got all these rookies coming in, you just want to keep giving them stuff…keep feeding them along, so they can elevate their game even more.”
Robinson his best memory from his rookie season was his interception on Christmas Eve against the Los Angeles Rams. But they’re not all going to be great plays, and he knows you have to move on quickly, advice he’s giving his teammates too.
“You gotta just take into the process,” said Robinson. “Go out there…put your best foot forward and give it your all…If you make a bad play, it’s going to happen. Have short-term memory.”
Robinson had a great PBU today, and generally, in terms of his play and his mindset, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh could not be happier with Robinson at this point.
“He’s a dog,” said Saleh. “…He’s made of the right stuff, his attitude, his mindset is unique for a corner…He does not want to get beat. Every rep is so important to him. He doesn’t care who he’s going against. It’s a tremendous mindset when you get a guy like Rashard who is so focused on what he’s capable of…and how he’s going to win, and the man in front of him has no bearing on what he’s about to do.”
And, in case you’re curious, the always slim CB said he’s at about 190 pounds right now.
DeForest Buckner and the rotating defensive line
DeForest Buckner played over 1,000 snaps in his rookie season. That is not happening again. That is rather excessive, and defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina, who played 17 years in the NFL, doesn’t deal in excessive.
“I believe in fresh bodies all the time,” Zgonina said. “I don’t like to see a guy play over a thousand snaps in a season like he did last year.”
Zgonina went on to say that in general, he is a “rotate guy.”
“I told those guys, ‘You give me four to five hard plays full-tilt, I’m going to rotate you.’”
And how did Zgonina have such a long NFL career?
“I ran to the ball,” said Zgonina. “When you run to the ball, you’re not gonna get hurt. If you’re standing around, someone’s gonna roll you up. And that’s what I preach. I believe in it. I got no zippers on my knees.”
Buckner and Arik Armstead are Big
“We look good coming off the bus,” said Saleh. “They’re huge. But, you can be big and still not be very effective. But, those guys are working so hard at kind of transitioning to our style of play. And once they start understanding that, they have the ability to control the line of scrimmage. They’re working hard at it. I’m excited to see them work, for sure.”
Rookie Highlights on Offense
Rookie running back Matt Breida had the best run of the day on a handoff from fellow rookie C.J. Beathard, while tight end Cole Hikutini caught two really nice passes. One of those catches came on a pass from Barkley and one from Beathard. Like I said, it was a good rookie day.
It’s All in the Family
Head coach Kyle Shanahan’s father, Mike Shanahan, attended today’s practice, spending most of his time with general manager John Lynch. He was dressed in 49ers gear, which was reminiscent of his 49ers’ coaching days.