On Friday, Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area held a live chat to answer questions from fans. The discussion covered numerous topics. Below are just a few of the items that Maiocco touched on.
During the entire offseason, the quarterback competition in Santa Clara has been debated by nearly everyone in the media and fans alike. NFL Network's Mike Silver has even gone as far as calling Blaine Gabbert the "heavy favorite" over Colin Kaepernick in the competition.
"These guys are going to compete for the starting job. I do believe that the onus is on Kaepernick to be clearly better than Blaine Gabbert," said Maiocco. "If it's close, I think Blaine Gabbert gets the call. I think the locker room is behind him. But if Kaepernick proves that he's clearly the better guy, then Kaepernick will be the starter."
Maiocco went on to answer a question about the possibility of Kaepernick still being traded if healthy. The 49ers beat writer said that there is still a chance, but he believes that it would have to be a situation where a team loses its quarterback and then makes a run at Kaepernick. However, he calls a trade scenario a long shot.
When it came to answering a "Blaine or Kap" question, Maiocco stated, "I think that Blaine Gabbert, is – if you will – right now, the leader. The onus is on Kaepernick to prove that he is clearly better and he will have that opportunity. If the coaching staff believes that Colin Kaepernick gives them the best chance at winning football games, they're going to have to sell that to the team and if the players buy into that and believe that yes, that's the case, if they see that Kaepernick gives them the best chance of winning football games, then that's the way they'll go."
"I don't think there's any question, in watching the practices, that Torrey Smith is clearly the number one wide receiver on this team," confirmed Maiocco. So who else has looked good during team practices? Maiocco said that neither Quinton Patton nor Jerome Simpson did done much during this week's minicamp. He went on to name a number of young receivers throughout the live chat. Maiocco, along with a number of other beat writers, felt that Dres Anderson looked good this past week. Two other names that he brought up were Bryce Treggs and DeAndrew White. Maiocco felt that both "looked really good" this offseason.
"He...is...impressive," said Maiocco regarding 49ers' rookie defensive end DeForest Buckner. "I think he's going to be a really good player." He went on to point out that the 49ers' defensive line is really big and that it could be pretty good.
Obviously Tramaine Brock is the frontrunner to be the 49ers' number one cornerback. Who starts opposite him? Jimmie Ward has been starting in practices. Maiocco felt that Keith Reaser has looked good. Although Grant Cohn of the Press Democrat may disagree with that. Maiocco also threw out the names of Kenneth Acker and Rashard Robinson as other players that have looked good.
"There's no question. I think Jimmie Ward is going to be a starter. They're going to find a way to get him on the field and I think, right now, the most likely scenario is that he starts at right cornerback," said Maiocco. However, defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley said that they were working him out at cornerback because that gives him another tool and another way that the team can get him on the field even if he doesn't start opposite Brock.
Vance McDonald has his critics among fans, but Maiocco feels that he, along with Garrett Celek, has looked pretty good at tight end. In fact, Maiocco believes that this may be one of his better offseason programs and that he has been catching the ball pretty well. Early on, he was impressed with Bruce Miller, who is converting from fullback to tight end. However, there were a couple of times during this week's minicamp that he didn't catch passes that he should have.
You can watch the entire 25 minute live chat below on Facebook.