San Francisco 49ers

49ers’ new communication system gives QB more voice

Offensive coordinator Geep Chryst will be calling the plays from the coaches booth this season.
Offensive coordinator Geep Chryst will be calling the plays from the coaches booth this season. AP

Anyone watching the 49ers practice this week might have thought Geep Chryst was wandering around and talking to himself.

Instead the offensive coordinator removed himself to a far corner of the field to mimic what the coach-to-quarterback communication will be like on game days, including Saturday’s preseason opener in Houston.

Chryst will be in the coaches’ booth. He’ll relay the play calls to quarterbacks coach Steve Logan on the sideline. And Logan will pass them along to quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

That also was the route the play call took in previous seasons. But this year, the emphasis is on getting it into Kaepernick’s ear much faster.

The 49ers typically have broken their huddle with more than 20 seconds left on the play clock in training camp. The thinking is a few extra seconds at the line of scrimmage will allow Kaepernick to survey the defense more thoroughly and avoid the delay-of-game penalties and last-second timeouts that plagued San Francisco in previous seasons.

The new coaching regime also has designed the practice process to give the quarterback more of a voice. In previous seasons, offensive coaches – primarily Jim Harbaugh – were on the field and in the offensive huddle during practice.

This year, Chryst and Logan are purposely staying away to allow Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert and third stringer Dylan Thompson to run the huddle and give them a closer simulation of what the communication system will be like on game days.

“The more you can practice that, the more smoothly that process is going to go on game day,” Gabbert said. “... And the players in the huddle hear one voice, and that’s the way it should be. It’s the quarterback’s huddle and that’s the only voice that should be heard.”

Anthony Davis’ return? – Former right tackle Anthony Davis, who abruptly announced his retirement in June, has been leaving hints on social media he plans to return to football next season.

Asked about that prospect Tuesday, coach Jim Tomsula said, “It does make you feel good that things are going in the right direction with him.”

Davis, 25, cited health concerns in announcing he was stepping away from the game. If he returns next year, he will be under contract with the 49ers.

Et cetera – Tomsula said the general plan was for Kaepernick and the rest of the starters to play one quarter in Houston. He said that could vary based on how the team looks in practice this week.

▪ Receiver Torrey Smith received a “vets day off” from practice Tuesday but is not injured. Fellow receivers Chuck Jacobs and Dres Anderson didn’t practice because of soreness.

▪ The catch of the day came from wideout DeAndrew White, who tipped a pass to himself on a long throw down the sideline from fellow undrafted rookie Thompson.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at

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