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Takeaways from 49ers' mandatory minicamp

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The Niners have drawn the curtains on their topsy-turvy offseason, but plenty of questions remain heading into training camp.

NFL Media's gang of scribes agrees: No team experienced more change this spring than San Francisco, an organization beleaguered by a rash of surprise retirements, departed free agents and the exodus of a uniquely gifted coach in Jim Harbaugh.

It's no surprise that this week's mandatory minicamp centered around one pressing question: What can we expect from the roster that remains?

"You guys want to say we're going to lose?" asked tight end Vernon Davis, per ESPN.com. "Then that's cool. That means we have a lot to prove, right? A lot of pressure. That's good, though. I think this team performs really well under pressure."

Fair point. The Niners shouldn't be written off before we see them on the field, but we have no road map for what has occurred in San Francisco, where a team that recently made three straight trips to the NFC title game looks completely alien in June.

They aren't better, but they will be interesting to monitor after this offseason's drastic makeover.

Some other observations from 49ers minicamp:

»  After watching left guard Mike Iupati bolt in free agency and right tackle Anthony Davis retire, the Niners rolled out a new-look line this week. On Thursday, Joe Staley manned left tackle, Alex Boone played left guard and Marcus Martin toiled at center, with Joe Looney at right guard and Erik Pears on the right edge, per the team's official website. The team also used Looney at center for stretches. Few position groups are under more pressure to mesh in a hurry.

»  One positive: Torrey Smith has brought much-needed speed to the passing game. Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee noted that Smith's "wheels were apparent on a couple of catch-and-run" lobs from Colin Kaepernick. The former Ravens wideout is a massive upgrade over Michael Crabtree from a speed perspective. Also faster: The pace of the offense, with receiver Anquan Boldin telling ESPN.com that new coordinator Geep Chryst is rolling out an attack that emphasizes speed and tempo, saying: "It can make a lot of difference. It allows Kaep to see exactly what the defense is trying to give us."

»  Barrows also reported that Reggie Bush took the first reps in each individual running back drill. That's likely a nod to his veteran status, but new coach Jim Tomsula has gushed over Bush since the minute they signed him. We still expect the tackle-breaking Carlos Hyde to play a major role this season.

»  Speaking of Tomsula, the man is not a fan of social media, saying: "I don't get it, personally. Talking purely personal here, OK? It just so happens every time I hear about it, it's not in a good way."

»  After the team lost defenders Patrick Willis, Chris Borland, Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Dan Skuta, Perrish Cox and Chris Culliver, a gang of new faces are learning under new coordinator Eric Mangini. The former Jets and Browns coach has kept the team's 3-4 scheme and seen outstanding work from the now-healthy NaVorro Bowman. The inside linebacker was "seemingly in the backfield on every play" and has "ruined a number of running plays," per the team's official website.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast welcomes Jeff Darlington to discuss minicamp stories, and Conor Orr calls in for the debut of a new segment. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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