General manager Trent Baalke said he has already detected a noticeable difference in the speed that has been added to the 49ers’ offense this offseason.
Baalke, speaking Tuesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio, was asked specifically about the additions of wide receiver Torrey Smith and running back Reggie Bush, but he did not stop there.
Baalke referenced nine players who have looked good on the practice field during the 49ers’ offseason program to supply quarterback Colin Kaepernick with a strong supporting cast.
“There’s a lot of weapons for Colin’s disposal and now we just got to put all the pieces together,” Baalke said.
The 49ers’ big acquisition was Smith, the former member of the Baltimore Ravens who signed a five-year, $40 million contract. Baalke said tight end Vernon Davis should benefit from the increase in down-field playmaking that the 49ers get with Smith replacing Michael Crabtree on the outside.
“The one thing that really shows up is the way the field’s opened up more with the speed or Torrey being able to stretch the outside,” Baalke said. “And it really helps Vernon’s game because now Vernon’s game is (to) stretch the field a little bit, as well.
“Jerome Simpson is another one who can really run and make plays on the perimeter. So watching those three guys out there just brings another dimension. And Quinton Patton has had an excellent offseason, as has Bruce Ellington – a little slowed by an ankle he’s dealing with -- but when he’s in there, you see the dimension he brings.”
Baalke said he also believes Bush brings a dimension to the 49ers that can be highlighted with Kaepernick’s emphasis on becoming consistent in the short-passing game. Bush has 466 career receptions in nine NFL seasons.
“Reggie has really been an asset to Colin and has opened up some things,” Baalke said. “When you get the speed going down the field and you give a back like Reggie room to work in the third-down packages and stuff like that, it really is a bonus for the quarterback.
“And Colin is developing a real rapport with Reggie coming out of the backfield.”
Baalke said presumptive starter Carlos Hyde “has excellent hands out of the backfield” and rookie Mike Davis is capable of playing all three downs, as well as contributing on special teams.
Moreover, Kendall Hunter, who missed last season with an ACL tear sustained in the second practice of training camp, is showing he is all the way back on the 49ers' practice field, Baalke said.
“And the guy who has really showed up a lot this offseason is Kendall Hunter,” Baalke said. “He’s back to being Kendall. His speed is back to where it was pre-injury. He’s really had a fine offseason. “