If there is one thing that has pleased 49’ers head coach Mike Nolan this training camp, it has been the development of the teams depth. For the first two seasons as he has been head coach, Nolan had not much to speak of on the bench, but now with 2007 right around the corner, it looks like the 49’ers are going to have some players to turn to if one goes down with an injury or just plain can’t get it done on the field.
“We’re not above taking players who were backups elsewhere and making them starters,” Nolan said. “Some day maybe our backups will be starters somewhere else.” The reason Nolan is so pleased with the outlook of his bench is due to a couple of players, such as rookie first round pick Joe Staley and third-year pro David Bass, who will come in and can play on the right side of the line. Another first round pick – Patrick Willis, also looks like a player that can make an impact off the bench.
Cornerback Shawntae Spencer and safety Keith Lewis are two players on the other side of the ball that will help keep starters fresh into the season. “As we get better, our expectations have to be higher,” Nolan said. “Our guys are mature enough to understand that.”