With so many pieces new in one way or another, it's critical that camp be as productive as possible. The offensive and defensive fronts, out of 12 spots, returns two likely starters from the season finale of 2007 - MLB Jon Beason and center Ryan Kalil (who didn't start a game for the 14 weeks prior).
Of the remaining spots, 5 are returning starters moving around, two are players upgrading from reserves, one is a rookie, and three spots are up for grabs. Of those three, at least one newcomer has a very good chance of starting. That's a lot of learning, and a lot of meshing, that needs to happen quickly.
QB doesn't escape it either. Starting QB Jake Delhomme missed the last 13 weeks of last year in a new offense. Backup QB Matt Moore wasn't in camp last year; Brett Basanez spent the year on injured reserve.
In back, the team will have similar issues - SS Chris Harris was only in portions of camp last year; likely starting FS Charles Godfrey is a rookie, and his main challenger, Terrance Holt, is new.
The team dedicated itself to toughness and retooled a ton of the motive power of this team, but with camp starting, it has to create that toughness while the individual pieces learn the guys next to them.
The Saturday evening session certainly didn't seem to be the heartiest portion of a two-a-day practice. Players worked out in shorts. Rookies Jeff Otah and Jon Stewart both sat out; Jake Delhomme was limited.
Darin Gantt puts up a good statement - why was Stewart on an exercise bike during practice, when he could be rehabbing later in the day and learning by immersion during practice?
As well, DJ Hackett was given the afternoon off. Whether it was precautionary or necessary is yet to be seen, but he's missing time a day into camp. Injury has always caused Hackett a lack of consistency.