The 49ers convene at their Santa Clara headquarters on April 4 for the first day of their offseason program with NFL rules preventing Kelly and his co-ordinators from holding specific football conversations with players until that date.
“We get time to see them, meet them, talk football with them and then you get that minicamp so you actually get to get on the field and see them run around so you can make an assessment of everybody,” Kelly told reporters at the NFL owners’ meetings in Florida on Wednesday.
When Hayne arrives in Santa Clara he’ll meet a coaching staff largely made up of strangers after the 49ers sacked last season’s head coach Jim Tomsula, offensive co-ordinator Geep Chryst, special teams co-ordinator Thomas McGaughey and other key staff following a dismal and dysfunctional season.
Kelly and his co-ordinators need to quickly assess the 90-man squad so they can make the right moves at the April 28 NFL Draft, but more restrictions will work against them.
Hayne and his team-mates will largely be involved in strength and conditioning work for the first three weeks after their arrival.
Then when the mini-camp is held players will be allowed on the field, but won’t wear pads.
“It’s a tough assessment because there’s no pads on and all that, but it’s better than what we have had so far,” Kelly said.
Kelly’s arrival offers Hayne advantages and disadvantages.
The former NRL star can get a fresh start because Tomsula and McGaughey, who lost confidence in the Australian and dropped him to the practice squad mid-season, are gone.
One of the few survivors of the coaching purge was running backs coach Tom Rathman, who worked closely with Hayne during last year’s steep learning curve of a season.
But a lot of what Hayne crammed last year from Tomsula, a former defensive line coach, could mean little with the offensively-minded Kelly taking over and introducing a new system.
The biggest question mark hanging over the 49ers is if their fallen star, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, will be back.
Just like Hayne, Kaepernick was demoted by Tomsula last season and the quarterback has asked to be traded.
Kelly wants Kaepernick to stay, declaring, “I don’t think you cut talent”.
The 49ers are on the clock as Kaepernick will have $US11.9 million of his $US14.3 million 2016/17 salary guaranteed if he is still with them on April 1.
“Hopefully if he’s there on April 4 we can get a chance to sit down and really spend a lot of time with him,” Kelly said.
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