Because the answer is: Just about everything. It starts with the new system being installed by coordinator Darrell Bevell, who was hired in January after spending the past five seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.
Then there are the new players who have been brought in to fit the new offense: quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and wide receiver Sidney Rice, who also came over from the Vikings in free agency; left guard Robert Gallery and tight end Zach Miller, free-agent additions from the Raiders; and tackle James Carpenter and guard John Moffitt, who were selected in the April NFL Draft to man the right side of the line.
In case you’ve lost track, that leaves five returning starters, and a couple of those come with asterisks: left tackle Russell Okung, last year’s first-round draft choice who is currently sidelined with a sprained left ankle; center Max Unger, who missed last season with a toe injury and started primarily at right guard as a rookie; wide receiver Mike Williams, who led the team in receptions last season after being given a tryout at a spring minicamp; and the backfield of running back Marshawn Lynch and fullback Michael Robinson, who also joined the team last season.
Oh, then there’s Tom Cable, the ex-Raiders head coach, who was brought in to jumpstart a running game that ranked 31st in the league last season.
With training camp ending on Thursday, Bevell offered what he learned during camp and what he still needs to find out in the three remaining preseason games – starting with Saturday night’s home opener against the Vikings at CenturyLink Field.
What he learned: “We learned a lot about the players. We’re learning what they can handle mentally, what they can’t handle physically, what their special talents are. So there’s a lot of good information that we’re gathering.”
What he still needs to find out: “We need to see just everybody playing together, and continually getting on the field. Playing time. Playing time. And start to see our offense come together and do the little things we’re asking them to do – playing hard, finishing plays.”
Bevell didn’t see much of his starters in the opener against the Chargers last week, and Rice and Williams didn’t play at all. The No. 1 offense was on the field for two series and generated 36 net yards.
Against the Vikings, Rice and Williams will play and the starters are expected to go most of the first half – with Tyler Polumbus starting for Okung.
“We’re excited to see all those guys play,” Bevell said. “You like to see all those pieces together and see what we can do.
“But it’s a building thing, and we want to make sure that we’re putting guys out there that are prepared.”
Here’s a look at the offensive depth chart:
WR: Mike Williams, Ben Obomanu, Kris Durham, Ricardo Lockette, Pat Williams, Isaiah Stanback.
LT: Russell Okung, Tyler Polumbus, Will Robinson
LG: Robert Gallery, Paul McQuistan, Brent Osborne
C: Max Unger, Mike Gibson, Lemuel Jeanpierre
RG: John Moffitt, Paul Fanaika
RT: James Carpenter, Breno Giacomini, Zach Hurd
TE: John Carlson/Zach Miller, Anthony McCoy, Dominique Byrd. On PUP: Cameron Morrah
WR: Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Chris Carter, Brandon Smith. On PUP: Deon Butler
QB: Tarvaris Jackson, Charlie Whitehurst, Josh Portis
RB: Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett, Leon Washington, Thomas Clayton, Vai Taua
FB: Michael Robinson, Dorson Boyce, Ryan Travis