Anquan Boldin went through OTAs and last week’s minicamp as if he needs to bust his ass to impress the coaches, even though he led the team in receiving yards last year and could break into the top 20 all-time in yards with a solid 2014. That’s Boldin. Forget compression gear; Boldin wears his jersey and a pair of baggy gray sweats. He’s old school, and that’s why he remains at the head of the class at age 34.
Boldin spoke after the San Francisco 49ers’ final minicamp practice, providing updates on every receiver with a realistic chance of making the 53-man roster besides Stevie Johnson (at the facility, didn’t take part in minicamp activities) and Kassim Osgood (mostly known as a special teams contributor).
“We’re a lot deeper at receiver this year than last year,” said Boldin.
Most observers already came to that conclusion before minicamp. After all, “deeper than last year” isn’t a high bar to clear for the 49ers’ receiving corps. But Boldin gets a chance to see these guys up close, and here are a few things he’s noticed about several impact receivers (including a certain tight end who was absent from minicamp).
Boldin on Michael Crabtree (who looks a bit lighter this year)
“He’s a lot more explosive. I just see him being back to his old self. For him, we’re taking things slow. Want to make sure he goes into the season healthy. You can expect to see the old Crab.”
Boldin on Vernon Davis (who’s M.I.A.)
“You still care about him. Care about his well being. We would love to see him here during mandatory minicamp, but it’s a decision that he made so that’s something that we’ve all got to live with. We like having him around, we like him around here working.”
Boldin on Brandon Lloyd (who’s making catches and picking Boldin’s brain)
“He came and asked me something about what we had saw on film. Different receivers use different techniques. I’m a bigger body guy than he is, so the way I play is a little different than the way he plays. So we just exchange ideas, what works for him, I let him know what works for me.”
Boldin on Quinton Patton (who broke the locker room hoop on Thursday)
“He looks good. He’s not hampered by the foot injury anymore. He’s just having fun out there, playing football. But you see he’s a lot more comfortable now. He’s going to his second year, has a couple of games under his belt. So you can see that comfort level come out when he’s on the field.”
Boldin on Bruce Ellington (who, like Boldin, played quarterback in high school and can play a little basketball himself)
“He’s a football player … You can’t really tell until you get in full gear about a guy’s toughness, as well as his mental toughness. But everything I see from him looks good. He looks like a football player. I’m excited to see what he can bring to the table.”
Boldin on … Boldin
After a year together, what’s it like to work with Colin Kaepernick?
“Just a lot more communication. When he was down in Florida, we had an opportunity to work together. I would go out certain days, we would throw and catch together along with Patton and Reid. Communication is a lot better. We’re on the same page, we’re seeing things, we’re talking.”
“(Half-laughs) To me, it’s football. I love football. I love to compete. But I feel like, for myself, it’s important to get timing down with the quarterback. It’s important to get out there and go through the concepts and see the different looks that defenses give you. I think if you do it now, it doesn’t come as a big surprise when we start up training camp. The speed of the game isn’t fast. But for me, it’s just getting back to that rhythm so that everything slows down.”