3 burning questions for 49ers offensive line in 2020

Center Ben Garland #63 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Center Ben Garland #63 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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49ers, Weston Richburg
Weston Richburg #58 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

No. 1: Will Weston Richburg Be Healthy Enough for 49ers?

Weston Richburg has been banged up since signing his lucrative free-agent deal with San Francisco back in 2018.

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True, his first year with the Niners resulted in only one game missed, but that injury translated into offseason surgery and a lengthy recovery stretching into training camp. He was ready to go by Week 1, yet Richburg suffered yet another serious season-ending knee injury in Week 14 against the New Orleans Saints. In his stead, the 49ers inserted backup center Ben Garland, whose efforts over the remainder of the regular season and up to the Super Bowl were commendable but nothing close to exemplary. Overall, Garland received a mere 59.1 overall Pro Football Focus grade compared to Richburg’s 62.5, and the latter was far superior in pass protection than the journeyman backup.

Signs are pointing to Richburg being healthy enough for training camp. Yet with the current pandemic eliminating much of the league’s offseason workout programs, one can legitimately question how long it could take for Richburg to get his proverbial “football legs” back underneath him.

It could take time, meaning he could feasibly miss the season opener in September, while the 49ers would again be forced to rely on Garland to open up the year.

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Simply put, Richburg’s health is going to be vital for San Francisco’s efforts up front.