In a sense, the 49ers’ 2015 season begins Tuesday.
After three months of coaching changes and free-agent comings and goings, the Niners gather today at team facilities in Santa Clara to begin their official offseason workout program under new head coach Jim Tomsula.
And, while there will be many things to look for – Will Justin Smith be there, even if just to observe? Will Kendall Hunter look fit? Will Tomsula act like the man in charge? – quarterback Colin Kaepernick no doubt will be the man most under the microscope in these first team workouts of the offseason.
After a rough 2014 season and time spent under Kurt Warner’s tutelage in Arizona recently, Kaepernick will be closely watched to see if he has more polished skills.
Will his footwork and touch on short passes be any different? And what kind of wrinkles will new offensive coordinator Geep Chryst employ for him?
It will be the first opportunity to see and hear Kaepernick talk about what he worked on with Warner and how the 49ers plan to use his talents in 2015 to get more out of the offense.
This week, Warner said in an interview on SiriusXM that one of the keys for Kaepernick will be to stick longer in the pocket and concentrate on being a better pocket passer.
“He can’t do all the running,” Warner told SiriusXM. “Now he’s got to become more of a pass-first guy and complement with his athleticism, and he’s never been asked to do that before. And so that’s the process that we kind of went through in the couple of months I was working with him.”
It’s believed that the 49ers may incorporate more short passes and screens into their offensive scheme in 2015. After all, new running back Reggie Bush is one of the best in the NFL on screen passes. But Kaepernick’s footwork and touch on short passes and screens has needed improvement.
At Warner’s camp, Kaepernick spent time analyzing defenses with the former NFL quarterback and working on techniques and fundamentals.
Warner has urged Kaepernick to stay in a more “throw-friendly position” longer and go through his progressions before running.
With that in mind, it will be interesting to see what Kaepernick and Chryst say and do during this offseason workout program.