San Francisco 49ers 2014 Training Camp Preview

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REPORT DATES: July 16 (rookies), July 23 (veterans)

SITE: SAP Performance Facility, Santa Clara, CA

CAMP CONFIDENTIAL: The Jim Harbaugh experience in San Francisco reads like this: three years, three NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl appearance. The lone thing missing from that resume is the Lombardi Trophy and that window is closing on the Niners because the organization finally had to earmark big money toward the quarterback position and Colin Kaepernick.

That means difficult roster decisions are coming sooner rather than later and San Francisco's vaunted depth will eventually take a hit.

For now NaVorro Bowman's gruesome leg injury in last season's NFC title game and Aldon's Smith's ongoing legal issues could be the 49ers' biggest impediments in 2014.

KEY OFFENSIVE ACQUISITION: Veteran wide receiver Stevie Johnson was acquired from Buffalo for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. The Bay Area native had three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in western New York before slipping a bit in 2013.

He should fit in nicely as a third receiver and outside-the-numbers threat behind Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin. In fact with three veteran receivers and star tight end Vernon Davis, Kaepernick has all the skill position help he could ask for.

"Right now, we're all ones," Johnson told the 49ers' website. "The defense has gotta pick their poison, whether they're going to double-team Anquan, whether they're going to double-team "Crab," Vernon (Davis), me, Q.P. (WR Quinton Patton) is coming in -- you gotta pick your poison."

KEY DEFENSIVE ACQUISITION: Third-round pick Chris Borland is a natural, instinctive inside linebacker who may be pressed into action as the All-World Bowman continues to recover.

Veteran Michael Wilhoite is penciled in right now but Borland was an extremely productive player at the college level with a higher ceiling as a player.

"I think it's (Wilhoite's) spot right now, but I'm going to fight for it," Borland told the Wisconsin State Journal earlier this month. "That's the story of the NFL, everyone fights to get on top and once you're there, you fight to stay there. Hopefully, I can earn that position. I'll do everything in my power."


Aug 7 - at Baltimore, 7:30 PM Aug 17 - vs. Denver, 4:00 PM Aug 24 - vs. San Diego, 4:00 PM Aug 28 - at Houston, 8:00 PM