17 Aug 49ers Training Camp 2020
There’s nothing quite like the NFL preseason games. The excitement we felt at drafting amazing athletes, is rekindled and amplified as we finally get to see the rookies suit up and start to show why they were drafted. Then there’s the UDFAs, eager to prove that they too are worth a roster spot. The headline free-agents usually won’t play much, but we get to see their interactions on the sidelines.
In 2020 there will be no preseason games. This puts a lot of emphasis on training camp, as it’ll will be the only way for players to prove their roster worthiness, and requires a new evaluation process built from the ground up. It’s always unclear how much weight the teams front offices and coaches put on training camp performance vs preseason game performance, but we can be sure that every coach will be putting in extra hours studying every route, every kick step, every block.
With the extra intensity in training camp, we can perhaps expect more injuries than in a normal year, although this is obviously offset by the lack of preseason game injuries.
I love seeing training camp highlights; the spectacular one handed catches, the casually floated 50 yard pass falling into the receiver’s hands in full stride. I love spotting my draft crush with his new number, his name scribbled on tape on the front of his helmet. It is understood, however, that these are the ripest of the cherries picked. Also, we know not to allow despair when the QB can’t complete a pass on a particular day. But this year, that’s all the evaluation these players will get.
There are so many new faces to be excited about: Kinlaw aka Juggernaut looks indomitable, Aiyuk is impressing with his speed, hands and route running, Juan Jennings is an enticing prospect, JaMycal Hasty could be the most apt name since FB Mack Strong. Add to this list existing players we’ve yet to see in a regular season game like Hurd and McKinnon, and there are plenty of mouth watering battles to enjoy.
Every player must fight for his spot, and several positions are quite open to competition.
Will we keep 2 or 3 QBs? Can Pettis bounce back? Who will start at RCB? How many RBs will we roll with? How does the OL look between the tackles? Just how good can KB be? Who steps up/in with Hurd’s ACL injury?
New challenges lead to innovative solutions. If there’s one coaching staff in the NFL I’d want dealing with these obstacles, it’s the 49ers. I believe there may be a short adjustment period once the season starts, but that will be the case for most teams and the 49ers are a strong group of men with the taste of the rarified air of a Super Bowl still lingering.
So as we wince with every pulled muscle, salivate with every circus catch and gasp at the big guys running drills, we must remember that adversity breeds champions, and the 2020 49ers are set up for success, from the ground up. The training camp stories are not as inconsequential as they were, and we’ll be a little more attuned to every snap, every day’s summary.
Whose camp highlights are you most excited to see?