49ers

49ers Mailbag: How much impact will Camp Hoyer have?

49ers Mailbag: How much impact will Camp Hoyer have?

The 49ers’ official offseason program wrapped up last month. The team returns to practice on July 28 as it eases into training camp at its headquarters in Santa Clara.

But, as promised, a good number of the team’s offensive skill players are holding a get-together at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, as documented on Marquise Goodwin’s Instagram story.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer, who is well-versed in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, is the central figure of the workouts. A total of 16 players, including all four quarterbacks, were on hand for the Camp Hoyer workouts Monday and Tuesday.

“It is such a long period of time that you want to get together at least for some period,” Hoyer said as the 49ers concluded their offseason program.

“We're aiming for right in the middle of when we leave and when we come back. We'll get as many guys together as we can. You can't accommodate everybody because people are going all across the country. We're going to get together and get three days in and then come back ready to go on July 27th.”

This edition of 49ers Mailbag kicks off with a question about the importance of these workouts:

How much of an impact will Camp Hoyer be on the players? (George Fifita)
The last time the 49ers got together on their own to hold workouts on this level was 2011 during the lockout. "Camp Alex" proved to be invaluable, as then-quarterback Alex Smith was given all the teaching tools -- playbook and game film -- and was able to install the offense during extended workouts at San Jose State when the players were not allowed to have any contact with the coaching staff.

This is different because all the players attending the workouts at SMU took part in the 49ers’ offseason program. So these sessions are a refresher course of what they have already learned. But, more important, it is a great opportunity for the team to spend time with one another and create a bond. It's also a great opportunity to develop quarterback-receiver chemistry and trust.

Hoyer has done all the right things since Shanahan targeted him to be the team’s starting quarterback. Organizing an event such as this is a way for him to earn more confidence from the offensive teammates on whom he must rely.

Is there any chance that the new regime has already decided to develop the rookie QB Beathard rather than go after Kirk Cousins if and when he becomes a free agent? Is there anyway that no matter how well Hoyer does next season would he be the starter for 2018? (Michael Monico)
Typically, the answer to “any chance” questions is yes. After all, there’s almost always a chance that something will happen.

But there is no chance the organization has already decided that C.J. Beathard is the quarterback for the 2018 season. Of course, it might turn out that way. You never know. But the 49ers have a lot of time before they must commit to a course of action for 2018.

As for your second question, of course, there’s a chance for Hoyer to be the 49ers’ starting quarterback in 2018.

The 49ers did not make a commitment this offseason for a long-term answer at quarterback. Next offseason will likely be different. If the 49ers fall on their faces and win just a couple games, the long-term answer could come via the draft.

But if the 49ers made a marked improvement and tumble out of the draft spot where they can assure themselves the quarterback they want, they’ll either be happy with their starting quarterback situation for the future or they will have to consider the free-agent market. If Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo are available in free agency, they would be the top-two options available.

Currently, the 49ers have $66.8 million in salary cap room that is eligible to be rolled over into 2018. So the 49ers can basically go as high as necessary to secure a quarterback for the long term.

Do you think Carlos Hyde has any real shot of losing his starting job? (Tiny Martinez)
Very few players have secured their starting jobs for the upcoming season. Carlos Hyde is not among those.

He is entering the final year of his contract, and we all know how badly Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner wanted Joe Williams in the draft. Shanahan and Turner would not have stood on the table for Williams if they did not have a clear vision for how he fits into their offensive plan.

Hyde is an immensely talented running back whose bid for 1,000 yards came up just 12 yards short due to a late-season knee injury. He is healthy. But he is learning a new system. Shanahan and Turner hand-picked a running back they believe best-fits the requirements of the position in their scheme.

Hyde is probably still the favorite to win the starting job, but he will have to earn it. However it shakes out, it is probably safe to assume the club will employ more of a backs-by-committee approach with Williams and Tim Hightower available for key roles.

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

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AP

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. — Blaine Gabbert will get his first start for the Arizona Cardinals when they play the Texans in Houston on Sunday.

Coach Bruce Arians announced the decision after Friday's practice.

Drew Stanton, the starter the last two games, bruised his knee early in the Thursday night loss to Seattle last week. He stayed in the game but has been limited in practice all week.

Arians said it will be a game-time decision as to whether Stanton or recently signed Matt Barkley would be Gabbert's backup.

Gabbert will be making his 41st NFL start. He has a 9-31 record. He signed with Arizona last offseason and was the third quarterback until Carson Palmer broke his arm against the Los Angeles Rams in London and was lost for the season.

49ers Mailbag: Should Shanahan give up play-calling?

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USATSI

49ers Mailbag: Should Shanahan give up play-calling?

Believe it or not, the 49ers’ offense is improved from last season.

The 49ers ranked 31st in the NFL in 2016, averaging 308.1 yards per game. Although the offense is producing just a little better (325.9 yards per game), their ranking this season has shot up to 21st in the league.

The 49ers have had a different head coach and different person running the offense in each of the past four seasons, so their continuity has been severely lacking.

Next season, the 49ers should finally have carryover from one season to the next.

The direction of the offense is one of the topics addressed on this edition of 49ers Mailbag (questions were submitted via Facebook):

Now that we have Jimmy G do you see 49ers getting an offensive coordinator or will it still be Kyle calling the plays? (Julio Orozco)
I'm not sure why the arrival of Jimmy Garoppolo would have any impact on the 49ers’ offensive structure, but in any event, the answer is a resounding, “No.”

Kyle Shanahan has been hailed as one of the best offensive coordinators in the NFL. The reason he was hired as 49ers head coach was, in large part, because of the success he achieved while designing offenses and calling plays.

Why would he give that up? It makes no sense.

Rob Demovsky of ESPN this week identified the 32 primary play-callers. There are 18 NFL head coaches with offensive backgrounds. Twelve of those coaches call their own plays.

Shanahan has a staff of assistant coaches on whom he leans. Passing game specialist Mike LaFleur and quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello are closely involved in working with Shanahan on the passing game, while running game specialist Mike McDaniel, offensive line coach John Benton and running backs coach Bobby Turner spearhead the involvement in the ground game.

But, make no mistake, it is Shanahan who calls the shots. And that's the way it should be. If Shanahan stepped aside as his own offensive coordinator, he would be diminishing his biggest strength as a coach.

What do you see happing with the Hyde situation? We drafted Joe Williams and Breida seems to be a bright spot. There’s a lot of talk about Barkley from Penn State with that high 1st rounder. (Manny Hinojos)
There does not seem to be any movement toward a long-term extension for Hyde. It is getting to the point in the season where it makes a lot more sense for Hyde to play out his contract and hit the open market.

There is no question in my mind the 49ers like Hyde a lot. He has scored some major points with the organization for his performance on the field and how he has responded off the field.

GM John Lynch loved it when Hyde came to the defense of quarterback C.J. Beathard, tussled with Arizona lineman Frostee Rucker and got ejected from the game.

That said, the 49ers are not going to break the bank for Hyde. A multi-year agreement has to come at the right price. My personal feeling is that running backs are luxury pieces when the remainder of a team’s roster -- especially the offensive line -- is set.

Shanahan and his father, Mike Shanahan, and Turner (the assistant coach who served on both of their staffs) have achieved a lot of success without investing heavily in running backs. That’s why I think the 49ers would be best-served by investing elsewhere and using another mid-round draft pick on a running back.

With Joshua Garnett coming back next season how aggressive will Lynch and Shanahan be in trying to get guards this offseason? (David Hartless)
Garnett is not a particularly good fit for this offensive scheme. The presence of Garnett can help increase the competition next offseason, but I do not believe he is being penciled in as a starter.

The 49ers will certainly be aggressive in an attempt to upgrade the guard positions. Currently, Laken Tomlinson and Brandon Fusco are the starters. Neither will be assured a starting job when the offseason begins.

The 49ers did not see enough from Garnett to determine he has a future with the organization, but he will be given the opportunity to come back healthy and prove himself.

Is Eric Reid in long-term plans? (Grant Rasmussen)
I do not believe so. I think the 49ers would like their starting safeties next season to be Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt – with Adrian Colbert as the front-runner for the No. 3 job.

The 49ers can also be expected to add a player or two in free agency, as well as the draft, to provide a competitive environment in the offseason. The 49ers seemed to telegraph their intention with Reid when they moved him to linebacker with Ward and Tartt remaining as the starting safeties.

That position change lasted about a week, as Ward’s injury prompted the team to move Reid back to safety. Reid is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. It's entirely possible there will not be a big market for him, but I do not believe the 49ers are going to be ultra-competitive in retaining him on the open market.