SANTA CLARA – Veteran Erik Pears has been lining up with the 49ers’ first-team offense during the team’s offseason program, while Trent Brown is running with the second unit.
Offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins said on Thursday that not a whole lot should be read into the depth chart at this point in the offseason. After all, he said other than Joe Staley, there is little settled along the 49ers’ offensive line.
“You got to put them in some order,” Modkins said.
Modkins met with the media Thursday morning before the 49ers had their final practice of their third week of organized team activities. Next week, the 49ers wrap up their official offseason program with a mandatory three-day minicamp.
One of the competitions expected to take place during training camp is at right tackle between Pears and Brown – and perhaps another player that enters the picture.
“Both are competing,” Modkins said. “It’s not unlike any of the other spots that we have. They’re competing. I think both are doing a good job. I think when we have a chance to get into training camp, we’ll have a better idea.”
Modkins coached Pears for three seasons while both were with the Buffalo Bills. When asked what he has seen from Pears this offseason, Modkins answered, “Same thing I saw when I had him in Buffalo.”
Modkins added, “He’s smart. He’s a veteran. He understands where he has to be. He’s a good communicator. So, he hasn’t changed much since my last time around him.”
Pears and Staley were the only 49ers offensive linemen to start every game last season. Staley was a fixture at left tackle, while Pears started the first 14 games at right tackle before shifting to right guard for the final two games.
Pears was rated No. 42 of 57 tackles who played 60-percent or more last season in Pro Football Focus’ grading system. Pears surrendered four sacks and 32 quarterback hurries, according to PFF.
Pears, a 10-year veteran who turns 33 this month, started every game the past three seasons. He spent the previous five seasons with the Bills.
Oher topics Modkins addressed on Thursday:
--Modkins confirmed that coach Chip Kelly will call the plays. Modkins said he will likely be stationed in the coaches’ booth during games. He said he can see the field better from that vantage point to help him communicate better with Kelly during the course of games.
“Chip is very receptive to everybody brining ideas,” Modkins said. “A good idea has no rank. He’s open to new thoughts.”
--Quarterback Blaine Gabbert has impressed Modkins with his athleticism, he said. Modkins was part of a Buffalo staff that visited with Gabbert before the 2011 draft.
“I didn’t remember him being that fast,” Modkins said.
Gabbert has done everything the 49ers’ coaching staff has asked of him, Modkins said.
Meanwhile, Colin Kaepernick has yet to be cleared for on-field work after surgeries on his left shoulder, right thumb and left knee.
“I think what’s important he gets cleared when he’s healthy,” Modkins said of Kaepernick. “There’s no timetable.”
--Fullback-turned-tight end Bruce Miller has impressed Modkins with his versatility.
“He’s a very unique football player,” Modkins said, citing his ability to learn new concepts quickly.
“I think Bruce has done a really good job of adjusting to what we’ve asked him to do. I think some versatility in any offense, particularly this one, helps you. It can do nothing but help you. So we look forward to seeing what position we can put Bruce in and help us.”