49ers fourth-round OL Spencer Burford has taken every snap at first-team right guard this offseason. The rookie offensive lineman mentioned that he’s not focusing on earning a starting role and wants to keep developing.
“I always knew I had it in me,” Burford said, via David Lombardi of The Athletic. “I’m not focused on if it’s a starting or second-string position. I’m just here to play the game. If they find something in me, thank God. If they don’t, I’m going to keep working and put my best foot forward.”
Burford said that he’s putting extra time into studying HC Kyle Shanahan‘s system.
“I did exactly what I’m doing now, just putting my head down and working,” Burford said. “Doing the extra, trying to study the plays, get ahead of the curveball. Especially in this Shanahan offense, nothing comes easy. Even when you think you have something, even when you think you’ve got it, you’ve got to take the extra step to go back and review it, because you really don’t. There are a lot of nuances within this offense that you have to learn.”
Burford explained the nuances of blocking in a zone running scheme.
“Just when I thought I knew what outside zone was, there’s a million different ways you could possibly run it,” Burford said. “There’s different fits and different keys that you can focus on. Just 6 inches can change the whole dynamic of the technique of a play. It definitely changes the whole landmark and stuff like that. Football is a game of inches. It really is.”
- 49ers OL Daniel Brunskill will miss a few weeks with a hamstring injury which will hurt his bid to start at either center or guard. (Matt Maiocco)
Bears OC Luke Getsy thinks TE Cole Kmet has the potential to be a breakout player in the team’s offense, adding that Kmet is in the process of learning how to take his game to the next level.
“Cole is still young in his career and he has a lot of really cool tools,” Getsy said, via BearsWire.com. “I think he’s starting to learn how to use them. You talk about a guy that we hope can do a lot of different things. We’ve lined him up wide. We’ve let him do some routes outside. We’ve brought him in tight. We’ve put him in line and made him block the big boys up front, too, and I think the cool part about him is that he can do all of that stuff really well. He’s got to get better at just about everything because I think he’s on the brink right now of taking his game to another level. So I’m hopeful that by the time we get through this camp, he’s ready to be a rock star for us because we’re going to need him to be.”
Veteran TE Ryan Griffin thinks that Kmet has the abilities to put together a strong career in the NFL.
“He’s got all the tools in the bag. I’m excited to see what he can do too. The sky is the limit for him,” Griffin said. “He’s got all the tools. A lot of guys have tools in this league. It’s the want, to get better, to learn, to take in knowledge and then put it out on the field. He’s shown he can do that. He will do that. That’s what makes me believe he’s going to be a great tight end in this league.”
Packers HC Matt LaFleur acknowledged the challenge they have in front of them this season replacing WR Davante Adams, and that it’d be almost unfair to ask any single player to do everything Adams did for Green Bay.
“He didn’t have many limitations, right?” he said via ESPN’s Dan Graziano. “It’s rare that you find a guy that’s as versatile as he is, that can, whether he’s playing in the slot or playing outside, his route tree is basically unlimited. So I think that’s going to be the challenge, how do you build up all these guys’ route trees to get to that level where, used in combination, can we get it to a level of like what Davante could do.”
Almost by default due to experience and attrition, Packers WR Allen Lazard is the team’s current No. 1 receiver. LaFleur backed Lazard’s readiness for a bigger role while affirming they do believe in the players behind him to step up as well.
“I think absolutely. I mean, ready or not, here we come with him,” LaFleur said. “But I’ve got a ton of confidence in him. He’s been playing at a really high level for us, he wears a lot of hats. He is the enforcer, but now we’ve got another guy that can block in Sammy Watkins, who’s one of the better blockers in the league. And then those young guys are getting after it too. We feel good about the group. It’s just going to be collectively how they grow and build that rapport with Aaron.”