Yesterday we got mired in a little discussion about whether there was a difference between the first "team" and first "group." Chip Kelly has continually said to take nothing from the fact that some guys are running with the first whatever and some are with the second whatever... It's just rotations.
But the fact is, an inordinate number of guys we know will be starters are playing on that first team/group/whatever. So while it is likely true that some guys are just being rotated around, a reason for that is probably to see how they matchup against better competition.
FIrst round pick Lane Johnson was moved up with the first group this week and he noticed the bump in the level of talent.
"They've been playing a lot so they have some moves up their sleeves and sometimes they'll break it out when you least expect it," Johnson said. "So you have to be disciplined with your technique and that's pretty much what it is.
"You just have to know when to hold back sometimes and know when to let go. You just have to know when to use the right tools at the right time."
As PE.com pointed out, Johnson often drew last year's top pick, Fletcher Cox, as his blocking assignment.
Physically, Johnson is prototypically built to be a great offensive tackle in this league. What he lacks is extensive experience at the position. Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland has been focused on refining his technique, specifically when it comes to using his hands.
"Just trying to use my hands more," said Johnson, "try to not grab (as much) and be more forceful in my hands, punching."