What can we learn from 49ers OTAs?

It’s time for our yearly PSA about 49ers OTAs: Try not to overreact to the notes and observations from reporters on site during this portion of the offseason program.

This isn’t to say OTAs aren’t worth enjoying. Of course they are. It’s 49ers players on the field, signaling the ever-closer return of football. It’s also an opportunity to see position battles take shape and to see rookies on the field with veterans for the first time.

However, while much can be gleaned from the practices, it’s important to remember the circumstances of these sessions.

These practices are neither full speed nor in pads. Plenty of veterans are out for various reasons, and in general staying healthy is the No. 1 priority of OTAs.

When players are lining up or how much and against who matters far less in OTAs than it does in training camp. A player’s speed is notable, but it’s also not truly measurable until pads are on and hitting starts. Offensive and defensive linemen certainly can’t be assessed until they can truly go one-on-one and line up for real head-to-head reps.

What we recommend this time of year is a list of mental notes to remember once the real live practices begin. If Ricky Pearsall is routing everyone up in OTAs, for example, that’s noteworthy. But it’s also not relevant until he’s doing it when defenders can really get hands on him in a more game-like scenario. OTAs give us a series of things to keep an eye on in training camp where we can start determining what from May was real and what was a product of the environment.

Enjoy the heck out of all the football, just don’t fall into the trap of overreacting to practices this early in the year.


Story originally appeared on Niners Wire