San Francisco 49ers: 5 Areas of Concern Entering Training Camp
No. 4, the Offensive Line
This one can’t be overstated. 2015’s line was horrendous. Just two seasons removed from having the best and most consistent line in the NFL, the 49ers line struggled with everything. The thing people want to know, what didn’t they struggle with?
It started with center Daniel Kilgore, and ended up hitting guard Alex Boone at the end of the season, just as Kilgore made his way back. In Week 1, the 49ers offensive line was (from left to right) tackle Joe Staley, guard Alex Boone, center Marcus Martin, guard Jordan Devey and tackle Erik Pears. After Kilgore’s return, Martin was replaced at center.
The line was never able to come together, partly due to the coaching philosophy. Rotating Devey and guard Andrew Tiller was dumb. The lack of cohesiveness showed at the end of the season. Starting from left to right were Staley, Tiller, Kilgore, Pears and tackle Trenton Brown. Brown should have played sooner too.
Maybe the line would have performed better, Brown would have gotten more experience and he could have formed more of a bond with his teammates.
Lack of Talent and Poor Play
No matter the injuries or chemistry issues, the 49er line wasn’t very talented. Boone and Staley were great, Kilgore and Brown were OK at the end of the season but everyone else stunk. Besides Tiller’s boost against the New York Giants, Devey, Pears and Martin played horribly. When roughly half of your O-line can’t do the job, you’ll hurt.
So, what do the Niners do to avoid concern in this area?
First, the talent infusion of rookie guard Joshua Garnett should help a lot. As long as their right tackle spot is OK (biggest area of concern on the offensive line), and they stay healthy, the 49ers line should be OK. They also have more depth with the addition of guard Zane Beadles.
Going into 2016 may not look better on the surface, but depth, consistency and talent have all been addressed this offseason, mainly because of Kilgore’s return and Garnett’s drafting. There is also coach Kelly’s offense, which gets the ball out quickly. Under these circumstances, a line of Staley, Beadles, Kilgore, Garnett and Brown can give hope to fans. That’s all we ask for.
Because it’s imperative for success.
Next: No. 3, a New Coaching Staff