Why Aaron Banks shows notable improvement for 49ers in 2022
Yes, it’s true that head coach Kyle Shanahan has long used a zone-style blocking system for his offensive line. But if you’re thinking Shanahan has solely stuck to his guns with this scheme, think again. Shanahan has since mixed in more man-gap and power elements to his rushing attack, and back-to-back running back acquisitions of Trey Sermon and Tyrion Davis-Price in the NFL Draft help reinforce this.
Aaron Banks, who was more of a power lineman than a pure zone blocker, might have had some difficulty early on with the partial adjustment. But that’s not the sole reason why some noticeable improvement should be expected in year two.
As noted before, Banks was given the shot to win the No. 1 right guard spot on the depth chart. However, he was almost exclusively a left guard at the collegiate level.
Unlike a Madden video game, simply flipping a player from one side of the O-line to another isn’t always as easy as just pressing a button, as Niners Nation’s Jordan Elliott pointed out earlier this offseason:
"Putting Banks back into his natural position where he was most comfortable playing could go a long way on its own. At times we tend to overlook just how hard the transition of moving from one side of the offensive line to the other is. All the mental reps you’ve taken and the muscle memory you’ve built up are now flipped upside down, and you’re starting from scratch."
Any skateboarders out there? It’s like going from regular- to goofy-foot. It’s not always easy.
Putting Banks into a spot where he’s most familiar should maximize his output in a way significantly better than whatever was seen last year.