No. 3: The Offensive Line Is a Problem
Earlier this offseason, Niner Noise looked at five problems the 49ers will face this season. Not surprisingly, the offensive line was No. 1.
Granted, the Niners were without former first-round pick, offensive guard Joshua Garnett (knee), who will be out for at least a month. And first-team players like left tackle Joe Staley and center Daniel Kilgore didn’t see too many reps.
But overall, the 49ers O-line struggled to hold its blocks and establish effective rushing lanes with any sort of consistency.
The interior positions proved to be the most problematic, although second-year offensive tackle John Theus whiffed on a block that led to a sack of quarterback C.J. Beathard. Theus is a long shot to make the 53-man roster, but there aren’t a lot of proven options elsewhere on the depth chart.
If there is some good news here, the Niners were decent enough in pass protection from start to finish. Two of the three sacks allowed were the result of Beathard and fellow QB Matt Barkley holding onto the ball too long.
Regardless, head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense will be far less effective if this unit isn’t able to hold its own.