Issue No. 1: Offensive Line Play
San Francisco 49ers
Last July, I didn’t see Person assuming the starting job, as I wrote:
"There’s a two-way battle between fellow guards Joshua Garnett, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, and Jonathan Cooper who has yet to be cleared from offseason MCL surgery. Injuries alone are of concern, which could test San Francisco’s depth. Additionally, Garnett’s fit within Kyle Shanahan’s outside zone is questionable."
Instead, the primary problem for San Francisco has been depth. Both Person and Garnett suffered foot injuries in Week 1, forcing the Niners to bump right tackle Mike McGlinchey over to guard and insert Garry Gilliam in on the right side of the offensive line.
That didn’t work so well. And while Person has since returned to duty, Garnett’s ongoing absence and Cooper no longer being with the team has put strains on Kyle Shanahan’s depth.
According to Pro Football Focus, the Niners rank 31st in the NFL in pass protection and 24th in run blocking. For all the offseason investments the team has made in the O-line, the results haven’t exactly met expectations.
Perhaps a fully healthy complement of Person and Garnett alleviate the early woes. And we should expect McGlinchey to improve after a mere two starts at the NFL level.
That said, this unit has a long way to go before it jells completely.