When Chip Kelly took over the 49ers, veterans knew what to expect. To be able to play in Kelly’s fast-paced offense, everyone from the offensive linemen to the quarterbacks would have to be in the best shape of their football lives.
Even rookie receiver Devon Causte of Stanford made note of it in May, during organized team activities (OTAs).
“Very fast-paced (workouts),” he told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “Got to get my cardio up. I usually am known as a fitness guy on the Stanford team, but not 70, 80 plays a game. So I definitely have got to step that up.”
Now that mandatory, full-squad mini camp is over, however, it appears the players’ and coaches efforts to get more fit have paid off.
Kelly says he’s pleased with where his players are, and figures they should be ready to go full tilt at the starting of training camp next month.
During minicamp team drills, the offense was snapping the ball every 16 seconds, a quick pace.
“I think they’re really good,” Kelly told reporters of his players’ fitness level. “I mentioned it the other day – their first exposure was that second or third week (of) April and that first minicamp. They’re light years ahead of where we were in the first minicamp.”
Kelly noted, too, that some of the veterans have been among the most fit.
“Those guys are kind of setting the tone for the younger guys on how it’s supposed to happen,” he told Barrows. “Some of the best players I’ve been around have been the older players because they actually take care of their bodies better than the younger guys do and that’s why they’ve lasted so long.”