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49ers Stable with Mike Iupati-Joe Staley Tandem

Posted Jul 18, 2014

Our training camp positional previews continue with a look at the team’s current group of offensive linemen.



Our training camp positional previews continue with a look at the team’s offensive linemen.

LEADING OFF


- Mike Iupati enters a contract year. The two-time Pro Bowl left guard also enters the 2014 campaign lining up next to recently-extended Pro Bowl tackle Joe Staley for the fifth consecutive season. Iupati suffered a broken leg in San Francisco’s NFC Championship Game loss to Seattle. Despite the injury, Iupati was back on the field for offseason workouts and appears to be poised to return to his top-notch level of play. Staley and Iupati have made five combined Pro Bowl appearances.

- Jonathan Goodwin returned to the New Orleans Saints this offseason to be Drew Brees’ center. San Francisco elected to see what they had in fourth-year reserve Daniel Kilgore. So far, so good. Kilgore lined up at center with the first-team offense and showed he could handle the shotgun snaps that are needed with Colin Kaepernick’s diverse talents at quarterback.

- The right side of the offensive line was quite different than its left-side counterparts this offseason. Alex Boone did not participate in offseason workouts; Anthony Davis rehabbed offseason shoulder surgery. The 49ers, however, found ways to utilize many reserve players in place of their right guard and right tackle. The beneficiaries included third-year guard Joe Looney and veteran tackle Jonathan Martin, who was acquired via trade from the Miami Dolphins.


PLAYER TO WATCH

Kilgore.

San Francisco’s running attack has been in the NFL’s top 10 in each of Jim Harbaugh’s three seasons in the league. Goodwin’s role on offense was very underrated. An air-traffic controller is essential to the offense’s success and Kilgore will have the license and opportunity to prove he can handle the chaos in the trenches.

The best news for Kilgore was that he was given all of the first-team reps in OTAs and minicamps. The center-quarterback chemistry is just as important as a signal-caller’s relationship with his receivers. Kilgore was able to get the ball to Kaepernick consistently. Botched snaps were not an issue. Kilgore will look to continue the success rate when training camp begins and padded pass-rushers will be coming his way to collapse the pocket around his quarterback.

EXTRA POINTS


The 49ers drafted two offensive linemen: USC’s Marcus Martin and Clemson’s Brandon Thomas in the third round of the draft. Martin has a chance to compete with Kilgore this camp at center. Thomas, on the other hand, suffered a torn ACL in a pre-draft workout and will be out this season… Adam Snyder remains the team’s jack-of-all-trades reserve. He’s played every position on the offensive line and is available to play anywhere the coaches need him… The 49ers offensive line allowed 39 sacks last season and 40 sacks two years before that.

WATCH THIS



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