Next week, the 49ers are going to be playing an away game against the Seahawks. They’re a team that features arguably the worst offensive line in the league.
If the 49ers want to win this game, they need to replicate what the Packers did to the Seahawks. And in doing so, they will need to get the offense to find that same (if not close) success that Green Bay had.
The unfortunate fact of the matter is that the 49ers boast arguably an offensive line that is just as bad.
The Offensive Line: You’re the weakest link
For most of 2016, this was the label given to the defense (more so the run defense). Yes, this unit struggled at times. Especially when Reuben Foster had to leave with a high ankle sprain.
But, they still caused turnovers to keep the game close. They contained running game as they only allowed 2.2 yards per carry, as well as holding Cam Newton to only 171 yards and less than 60 percent passing.
The offensive line, on the other hand, allowed four sacks. Two of those sacks resulted in turnovers (one strip-sack and one turnover on downs). They were unable to be the opposing team’s front seven on fourth and short situations twice as well.
This unit also only managed to put up an underwhelming 3.4 yards per carry. To be fair, the team only rushed the ball 15 times. However, the offense was playing catch up because of the numerous turnovers they gave up that put the defense into poor situations. Brian Hoyer couldn’t remain calm in the pocket as he was constantly harassed by pass rushers.
It’s not a good start for a unit that wants to improve from ranking third to last at protecting the quarterback in 2016.
How can they improve?
The offensive line has a strong base with their tackle positions in Joe Staley and Trent Brown at left and right tackle, respectively. It’s the interior of the line that’s questionable though.
Daniel Kilgore is injury-prone, and his apparent replacement would be the undrafted rookie, Erik Magnuson. The two starting guards are Zane Beadles and Brandon Fusco, who are not the best of names to protect the A and B gaps.
The team has gotten to this point with 2016 first-rounder, Joshua Garnett being placed on injured reserve. It’s a big loss as far as a player that’s still improving and getting more involved. Now, the most capable backup for these guards is former Detroit Lion, Laken Tomlinson.
It’s fair to know that this is the first week of the regular season that this unit has played in Shanahan’s system. This group is still getting accustomed to everything, and this is a work in progress. Hopefully, they get things figured out before they go to Seattle.