How can the 49ers Clean up Their Offensive Line Woes? – Sports Illustrated

Chess Training

The interior offensive line was always going to be the weakest point of the San Francisco 49ers.

Weston Richburg and Ben Garland were dealing with injuries, which caused Daniel Brunskill to move out of position again. Doing so made it a certainty that center and right guard was going to be a soft spot.

However, after the performance that was on display in Week 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles, the entire offensive line as a unit just might be the 49ers' Achilles heel.

Mike McGlinchey, and especially Trent Williams of all players, are supposed to be the most reliable and dependable ones on the offensive line. It was the complete opposite for them against the Eagles as Williams allowed two sacks, while McGlinchey allowed a pressure that forced Nick Mullens into an errant throw.

Williams should be able to bounce back, but McGlinchey has not been too hot this season. Everyone but Williams, with the exception of Week 4, has looked average at best.

So how can the 49ers clean up their offensive line woes?

Well its certainly not going to be an easy overnight fix or even a weekly one.Otherwise, Kyle Shanahan would have done so by now.Maybe the answer is by bringing in another player?

But simply looking across free agency, there isn't anybody that can aid this unit. The only way in terms of a transaction is by making a trade. Perhaps center Alex Mack from the Atlanta Falcons? Even then, that is no guarantee to be a major boost to the offensive line nor a pathway the 49ers are willing to explore.

There are a couple of factors that should, hopefully, clean up the offensive line woes.

First, it is simply time. The loss of offseason activities and preseason action has clearly impacted this group. Shanahan's system is by no means easy, which is why the loss of all those snaps hurts this group more than most teams because it is so complex. Repetition cannot be overstated in this case. And for a guy like Brunskill, he definitely needs the reps after spending all of training camp at center.

Second, the offense needs Raheem Mostert. Mostert has always been a critical chess piece for the 49ers. With him carrying the rock, he is able to maneuver between the tackles better than any other running backs. Plus, he is able to rip off any carry for a massive gain.

But it is more than just production that the 49ers are missing from him.

When Mostert is in the backfield, he enhances the passing game and the use of play action. Defenses are not going to be as fearful with Jerick McKinnon or Tevin Coleman in the backfield compared to Mostert. The entire field opens up more and the opposition is forced to account for multiple forms of attack.

Because they have so much to account for, it can benefit the 49ers' offensive line. They can have a chance to settle in because the pressure is taken off them. And if they start putting together positive drives, it can be a boost to them mentally, which is huge because this is a group that does not look to be performing confidently. That much might have to do with the lack of comfortability since these last four weeks have been about settling in.

Unfortunately for the 49ers' offensive line, they are out of time and Mostert might not be returning on Sunday.

They need to start performing and fast. No one is going to sympathize with them for why they have shortcomings. Shanahan is going to have to figure out how to ease the game for his offensive line.

Otherwise, things could get ugly for the 49ers going forward.


How can the 49ers Clean up Their Offensive Line Woes? - Sports Illustrated

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