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Continuity Benefits 49ers O-Line

Posted Dec 28, 2012



There’s a lot to be said about the 49ers offensive line, which has featured the same starting five throughout the entire season thus far. There’s a lot that goes unsaid, too.

Communication in the trenches is always important among the big fellows on the offensive front, and even more so in today’s complex age of audibles at the line of scrimmage.

“Very helpful any time you can get continuity at that position,” 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. “There’s so many moving parts, communication, recognition. And when I say communication, it’s verbal, it’s also visual. There’s a lot of unsaid things that just have to be understood between them to operate at a high level. Anytime you can have continuity, that’s going to help.”

The quintet of left tackle Joe Staley, left guard Mike Iupati, center Jonathan Goodwin, right guard Alex Boone and right tackle Anthony Davis are just one of three offensive line units to have started all 15 games so far this season, joining Minnesota and the New York Jets.

The five linemen haven’t just played each contest, they’ve produced and performed well, too. Staley and Iupati were both named starters for the 2013 NFC Pro Bowl team, while Goodwin, Boone and Davis were each selected as alternates.

“All of our starting five should have made it,” Iupati said.

For Roman, the Pro Bowl invites were the fruit of a season-long labor in the trenches and the classroom. Like any other award, the 49ers recognized the Pro Bowl honors as team-wide accomplishments. With their recent recognition from peers, coaches and fans, perhaps it’s fitting that the five linemen will be featured on this week’s Gameday Magazine cover.

“It’s a credit to the players, it’s a credit to the position coaches, coach (Mike) Solari and coach (Tim) Drevno,” Roman added. “But, ultimately it’s a credit to the players. You always want to see your players succeed and it’s great that they’re being recognized.”

The 49ers offensive line has been a key part to the team’s current 10-4-1 standing atop the NFC West. San Francisco currently ranks fourth in NFL rushing with 2,362 yards, which also marks most by the club since 1998 (2,544). The unit was also recognized as John Madden’s Most Valuable Protectors in Weeks 5, 7 and 12 this season.

“Those guys work hard, we put a lot on them and they come in every day with a great attitude,” Roman said. “I think offensive line play starts with that. You’ve got to have the mindset to be a great offensive lineman. It has to happen every day, it can’t be a sometime thing.”

But the 49ers offensive line has a tall task at hand with the Arizona front seven. During the Week 8, 24-3 San Francisco victory on “Monday Night Football”, the Cardinals still notched four sacks of Alex Smith.

“We’ve got a tough opponent this week, Arizona,” Roman said. “Their defense, we have a lot of respect for, we know pretty well. … They’ve got good players, some guys we really think are among the top in the league at their position. We’re hard at work. It’s pretty clear cut, we win the game, we win the division. That’s always the number one goal we set out for.”

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