Here are select quotes from Day 1 of 49ers minicamp.
Blaine Gabbert on Vance McDonald: “He’s such a great athlete. He’s smart. He does a great job in the run and pass game. He’s a guy that we have to utilize. He’s a mismatch nightmare on linebackers. And you really kind of saw that jump Week 8 on last year. He did a great job, stayed healthy and had some good plays.”
Tight ends coach Jeff Nixon on Vance McDonald: “The sky is the limit for Vance. He’s very talented. He has the size and the speed. I think most of his drops sometimes are a little bit of a lack of concentration, because he does have good hands. But I’m expecting a big year out of Vance. He finished up the year strong. I think the last three or four games he had at least five catches in each of those games. We’re looking for him to take off right from where he left off last year, being a big-play tight-end target for us in the pass game.”
Over his final six games, McDonald averaged 3.5 catches for 44 yards and 0.5 touchdowns, which made him the #8 TE in PPR formats in that span. It appears that he'll start for the 49ers, and if he's able to stay healthy, he should be streamable in 2016.
“Our style and scheme adapts to whoever it is,” Kelly added, “but he certainly has the skillset to be an outstanding running back at this level, because he can do everything.”
“You’re looking for a guy that can be a three-down back, and that’s what Carlos is,” Kelly said.
Kelly’s high-tempo offense figures to lean heavily on Hyde, assuming he’s durable enough to lead an offense that’s still unsure whether Blaine Gabbert will outlast Colin Kaepernick for the starting quarterback role.
Hyde was the #14 RB (PPR) through the first six weeks before missing the rest of the season with a foot injury. Chip Kelly's teams in Philadelphia had an average ranking of 7.3 in total rush attempts, so Hyde should get plenty of work as the team's lead back, provided they can stay competitive on game day.
Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 7:28pm
Journeyman Thad Lewis is joining the 49ers’ ever-curious quarterback corps, agreeing to a one-year contract, the NFL Network reported.
Still in that quarterback unit, for now, is Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers’ deposed starter who’s requested a trade through his agents last month. Blaine Gabbert is the presumed incumbent starter, while their other quarterback is Dylan Thompson, an undrafted rookie last year who got called up from the practice squad Nov. 21, upon Kaepernick getting placed on injured reserve.
Lewis, 28, has been with six teams and played sparingly since entering the league in 2010 as an undrafted free agent with the St. Louis Rams. He’s 2-4 all-time as a starter, including a 2-3 mark in 2013 with the Buffalo Bills. He’s also been with the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Houston Texans.
Lewis spent time with the Eagles last year as well when Chip Kelly was the coach.
But Kelly, during his introductory press conference as coach, inserted Gabbert’s name a couple times when answering the handful of questions he received about Kaepernick.
“Obviously Kap is an extremely talented football player and you need a good quarterback to win,” Kelly said. “But I was also impressed from the film I watched in terms of how Blaine played this year. Both of those players made this an attractive situation.”
Kelly said he’s spoken and crossed paths with both quarterbacks, and that league rules prevent him from talking any football schematics until the offseason program begins April 4.
Kelly's quarterbacks tend to be productive, and although Kaepernick is a better fit for some of the read-option aspects of Kelly's offense, Gabbert had his moments towards the end of the year.
Friday, December 18, 2015, 6:32pm
49ers TE Vance McDonald (concussion, probable) took full practice reps Thursday after being limited Wednesday and is probable for Week 15. McDonald posted 4-65-1 and 6-71-1 on 11 total targets in the two games before being concussed in Week 13. He’s a risky play but has some upside given a pretty good rapport with QB Blaine Gabbert.
Friday, December 4, 2015, 6:28pm
Thursday, December 3, 2015, 5:56pm
Friday, November 20, 2015, 6:29pm
49ers QB Colin Kaepernick (left shoulder, probable) took full practice reps again Thursday and is probable for Week 11. Blaine Gabbert will continue to start. He had a pretty good game against Atlanta, but it’s not advisable to start him in Seattle this week.
Thursday, November 19, 2015, 5:53pm
Tuesday, November 17, 2015, 12:52pm
As he did following Gabbert’s showing in the 49ers’ 17-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, Tomsula will meet with Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick the day after the game and let his decision be known at that time.
The Niners, who improved to 3-6 with a 17-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons at Levi's Stadium on Sunday with Gabbert under center, are on their bye week and next play at the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 22.
Earlier in the day, in his weekly media conference, coach Jim Tomsula said he was not going to make the announcement until after staff meetings and meeting with the quarterbacks.
"Blaine did a nice job, did some really good things with his feet and his arm and his brain," Tomsula said at the time. "Really did a nice job, so congratulations to him."
Gabbert broke the Niners' nine-quarter TD-less streak with a pair of touchdown passes to tight end Garrett Celek in the second quarter. He threw for 185 yards on 15 of 25 passing with the two touchdowns and two interceptions, his fourth straight start with at least two INTs, for a passer rating of 76.2. Gabbert was not sacked, though, as as he gave the 32nd-ranked offense in the NFL a spark, while Kaepernick had been sacked 28 times in his past eight games. He's going to be a risky fantasy option going against the Seahawk defense on the road.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the San Francisco 49ers are benching Colin Kaepernick for Gabbert, who was the Jaguars' No. 1 draft pick in 2011. Earlier on Monday, ESPN 49ers reporter Paul Gutierrez wrote that 49ers coach Jim Tomsula wasn't as definitive after Kaepernick's struggles in Sunday's loss to St. Louis. Schefter, citing a source, reported early Tuesday morning that the decision had been made.
Gabbert has played in just one game since the Jaguars traded him to San Francisco for a sixth-round pick in March 2014. The 49ers re-signed Gabbert to a two-year, $4 million contract after the 2014 season. Don't expect a big upgrade in the 49ers offense with Gabbert under center, but the hope is it at least lights a spark. Kaepernick was struggling with his confidence and is the subject of trade rumors.
Thursday, August 28, 2014, 1:20pm
The 49ers brought back Brandon Lloyd this offseason. They also acquired Stevie Johnson and drafted Bruce Ellington. And Quinton Patton has flashed this offseason. So who is in line to be the 49ers' No. 3 receiver, behind starters Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree? The position seemed earmarked for Johnson but he did not get much run in the third preseason game. The 49ers may use this game to get a better feel on their third receiver, even if Kaepernick is long gone from the game and Blaine Gabbert and Josh Johnson are the ones throwing the ball. In any event, coach Jim Harbaugh said he felt "very good" about Stevie Johnson being on the 49ers' 53-man roster.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 11:45pm
Carlos Hyde, the do-it-all running back out of Ohio State, caught a swing route out of the backfield and turned it into a 20-yard touchdown catch in a red zone team period.
Both rookies made several catches on day 1 of minicamp as well. As far as rookies are concerned, Hyde and Ellington are in a tight race for best rookie at minicamp honors.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 5:09pm
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