SANTA CLARA After the 4 1/2-month lockout last offseason, the 49ers' battle cry was that they were behind the rest of the league and needed to operate at 1,000 mph to catch up by the opening game.
This offseason, the team is fueled by a different kind of motivation: Everyone's out to get us.
"We're not going to sneak up on anybody," safety Donte Whitner said after a recent practice. "We're going to be the hunted this year, not the guys who are going out to hunt. And if we didn't get everybody's best shot last year, we're going to get it this year."
The team has shown no indication of being comfortable with last year's 13-3 record and its trip to the NFC Championship Game.
Today is the start of a three-day minicamp, the only mandatory session of the spring. But attendance isn't expected to differ much from the recent weeks of voluntary practices, which have included everyone from rookies to multiyear veterans such as Randy Moss and Justin Smith.
"We were pretty much at full force, minus one or two guys," coach Jim Harbaugh said. "So, it was outstanding. That attendance has been that way all offseason for us."
Only two players are expected to miss the minicamp.
Safety Dashon Goldson, who hasn't signed his tender after the team made him its franchise player in February, has been working out in South Florida. Second-round pick LaMichael James can't participate in practices until Oregon's graduation later this month.
As was the case during organized team activities, the minicamp will be conducted without pads and without contact. That means the team likely will continue to work on the passing game, which finished 29th in the league last season but has an influx of new wide receivers, including Moss, fellow free agent Mario Manningham and first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins.
Former Stanford wideout Chris Owusu, who was not permitted to attend the OTA sessions because Stanford hadn't had its graduation, will be on hand this week, Harbaugh said.
On defense, the focus has been on fine-tuning a unit that finished fourth overall last season and tied for the league lead in takeaways.
Linebacker Larry Grant, who returns to his role as the top backup to All-Pros Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, said his group has been working on communication with the other units.
"Everything last year with training camp and during the season was on the fly," Grant said. "We didn't get to put everything together as far as the linebackers knowing what the (defensive backs) are doing, what the D-line is doing. Our focus right now is that we communicate in every aspect of the game offense, defense and special teams."
Another guard against complacency is that five of the 49ers' opponents this season made the playoffs last year, including Week 1 opponent Green Bay, which had the NFL's best record in 2011.
"And then the other thing, a very important thing, is our next game, which is the Green Bay Packers," Harbaugh said when asked how the team maintains its focus. "And figuring out a way to win that one. So great expectations for today's meetings, tomorrow's practice that's where our mindset is."