Remaining 49ers O-Line Questions
If one subscribes to the NFL theory, “it all starts up front,” San Francisco’s offense might be in for some tough times this upcoming season.
Remember those Football Outsiders standings discussed on the opening slide? While there are some predicted changes to the 49ers offensive line entering 2017, there are far more returning parts.
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Scheme-wise, the only major difference is the switch from an inside zone, under former head coach Chip Kelly, to an outside zone under Kyle Shanahan. Without getting overly complex — you can read more about Shanahan’s running game here — outside zones essentially push defenders towards the middle of the field, opening up zones to the outside of the line as they appear.
Last year’s indication isn’t exactly a vote of confidence, in terms of personnel.
How long with left tackle Joe Staley hold up, and can he maintain his level of effectiveness over a full 16 games? And will fellow veteran Jeremy Zuttah start showing signs of slowing down as well?
For the younger players, what should we expect out of Trent Brown at right tackle? He’s not a scheme fit, but the Niners don’t have any better options. And will Joshua Garnett wind up being another one of former general manager Trent Baalke’s NFL Draft busts?
And there’s the big question — how well will this unit jell?
It might take a while. The results also may not be as pretty as hoped, which could easily push this unit atop the Niners’ list of positional needs heading into 2018.