Last Friday, this site proclaimed the end of Training Camp, complete with a Eulogy. FAIL!
Aside from shoddy reporting, that effort was a throwback post, recalling the days long ago when the 49ers “broke camp” after the first two weeks and returned to home base from desolate areas such as Stockton and, my favorite, Rocklin — usually with much player jubilation. Nowadays, however, camps don’t break. They merely resume. With two a days, no less.
And so it was that on Tuesday, not only did TC resume, but so also did Travis LaBoy and Brandon Jones. Taking their places on the shelf were Kyle Williams and Will James, casualties of the weekend game in Indianapolis. Williams appears to have shown enough promise during camp and on Sunday to be safe from the Day of the Turk, but for James, who had come on strong last week, it could be a fateful injury.
The next two weeks will be critical for LaBoy and Jones if they are to stay on the roster. During LaBoy’s absence Diyral Briggs has continued to impress. He still has Practice Squad eligibility, but I doubt he’d clear waivers at this point. A rising young talent who can rush the passer is always worth risking a spot on any team’s roster.
Jones appears to have little chance at staying on the team. One more missed day or nick of any kind and I doubt he will even be given any further camp reps. Too bad. He can play. He just can’t stay healthy.
Kentwan Balmer’s serious personal problems seem to have cleared up over the weekend in the magical air of Seattle. Apparently, the cause of his personal issues was being a stiff on a good team and now that he’s on a bad team, he has miraculously returned to happy campersville. Who knew that becoming a second stringer, instead of a third stringer, could cause such a turn around.
The big news Tuesday, of course, was seeing Brian Westbrook standing on the sidelines next to Tom Rathman, observing his first 49ers practice. Some time this coming year, the 49ers will have Westbrook, Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, and Vernon Davis all on the field at the snap of the ball. Perhaps Ted Ginn can even step in briefly, with his blazing speed, for Josh Morgan. By any standards, that is a potent and dangerous group of playmakers for a defense to cope with.
It has been a long time since any defense in the NFL has had to fear the 49er offense. I can think of only two reasons that trend will continue this year: Right Tackle and Jimmy Raye. The RT problem is well known to any 49er fan who has not been on an extended space trip. The weight of the franchise is bearing down on Anthony Davis to shore up, once and for all, this swinging door to the QB. Davis is a 20 year old rookie. We’ll see.
Raye has yet to impress anyone in the blogosphere. In fact, he has yet to even get an endorsement from his mother. I thought last year was not a fair test of his ability to call a successful game. There was too much turmoil and adjustment going on during the year. That cushion no longer exists. He has players in place with a year under his tutelage and his offensive system. Fair assessment is now in play. As is “Kill the sumbitch!” Or, more hopefully, “Nice going, Jimmy. Very superb.”
We will probably get some idea of Davis’ ability during the remaining exhibition games, but we will not get the answers to Raye. Exhibition games are pretty much here’s Vanilla. That’s all we’re selling. If razzle-dazzle is going on at the practices, the beat guys are forbidden from leaking it through the knothole to us outsiders. The suspense is killing traumatizing me.