SANTA CLARA – The 49ers may not be a better team after an offseason that featured several unexpected subtractions, but they may be a faster one on offense.
Anquan Boldin, now in his third year with the team, has already seen that on the practice field just one day into OTAs, getting a look at new teammates Torrey Smith and Jerome Simpson. Both receivers were signed in the offseason.
“Just looking at practice yesterday, you see not only [Torrey], but a guy like Jerome Simpson. You’ve got Vernon [Davis]. These guys are flying around,” Boldin said. “You definitely see a lot more speed on the outside, and [that] will open a lot of things up for us.”
The running game, too, could feature more of a speed element now that bruiser Frank Gore has departed. Boldin is looking forward to seeing what that group, which includes primarily Carlos Hyde, Kendall Hunder and Reggie Bush, can do.
“We have some guys in the backfield that can really be special,” Boldin said. “Carlos played well last year before he went down. So, I see him being better this year. Reggie Bush is a veteran guy who brings a lot to the table, especially when he gets open in space. Having Kendall come back.
“I’m looking forward to it. I think those guys are hungry and want to make a name for themselves. It will be some good competition in the backfield.”
Coach Jim Tomsula likes what he’s seen from Bush so far, after the veteran signed on March 18. Bush is expected to be more of a kick returner, but could also line up on offense as a running back or even receiver.
“Reggie is a spry guy. He’s a lot of energy in his legs and his body and his attitude,” Tomsula said. “What a wonderful addition, in all aspects. … He’s doing really well, he’s moving great, and we love having him here.”
Both Boldin and head coach Jim Tomsula indicated on Wednesday that the 49ers would like to be able to run a more up-tempo offense. That’s a work in progress.
“Just the idea of how we’re moving and operating from the thought of the play call through that operation, to the quarterback’s ear, to the huddle,” Tomsula said. “You want to be able to move at the speed in which you want to move for that particular time in the game or that situation. If we see a defense that’s struggling getting people on the field, can we speed up? That’s simply what we’re working on.”
The success or failure of a particular play could come down to those few seconds between snaps. Tomsula is therefore trying to abbreviate number of words needed for the actual play calls.
“We have cut down verbiage,” Tomsula said. “I’m not comparing it to last year or anything like that, but as we started it was longer. Then as guys start understanding it and getting the concepts, you can shrink that and it can go to five, six, seven words instead of starting off at 12 or 13. That’s the intent.”
Although that may seem like a minor adjustment, Boldin alleged it’s important.
“It can make a lot of difference. It allows Colin [Kaepernick] a chance to see exactly what the defense is trying to give us. If you get to the line with enough time, you can check off and get into better plays if need be,” Boldin said.
“We want to be up-tempo. We want to put pressure on the defense.”