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.