49ers head coach Mike Singletary wants to find a home for offensive lineman Adam Snyder, and it looks like that home is now at right tackle.
"We know he can do it. He knows he can do it. It's just a matter of 'let me concentrate on being the best I can be right here. Let me find a home somewhere.' So that's where the focus is right now."
Snyder started the first seven games of the year at left guard, but was replaced in the starting lineup in the 49ers last game against the Seahawks by David Baas. He ended up seeing significant action in the game at right tackle when Barry Sims was forced out with an ankle injury.
Sims has been ruled out of Monday night's game against Arizona and with this being Jonas Jennings' first week back at practice from a shoulder injury, Snyder could end up getting the start for the key divisional matchup against Arizona.
"My muscle memory is all left-handed in my stance, my body is used to doing everything out of a left-hand stance," said Snyder. "So to switch that over and do it on the right, is one of the biggest issues. I've done it before and I can do it again. I'm just excited about the opportunity."
During his four years with the team, the third-round pick has played at every position along the line save for center. Snyder understands that his versatile repertoire could lead him to getting moved again, but for now, he's looking forward to settling in and competing for a starting spot.
"I've had to play different positions in this offense for the past four years and I think it's really going to help me as a player. I'm a team guy, and if they need to me to step in and play guard so more – I'll do that. I think the coaches understand that, but I appreciate them giving me the shot to focus on one position for now."
Snyder missed last week's two practices due to the birth of his first child, and also sat out on Monday due to illness, but he still feels like he's come along quickly over the course of the bye week.
"I feel good. I'm getting better. I'm starting to feel like it's coming more natural. It's a tough transition to go from guard to tackle, let alone from the left side to the right side. I'm going to work out some kinks and I'm going to go out and play hard and do my best. The extra time has been huge, and it's given me the opportunity to work those kinks out."
Snyder also believes that despite the 2-6 record, that the entire team is much improved since their season opening loss to the Cardinals.
"We've come a long way since that game," said Snyder. "There aren't wins in the win column, but I think we've progressed as a team on offense, defense and special teams. It's that time of the season, where we need to stop doing those kinds of mistakes."
Those kinds of mistakes included five turnovers in the first matchup, four of which were on offense.
"That's what kills us in games, turnovers. In this league, you're going to lose the game if you have five turnovers. I think that's a major key to our success on Monday night. We need to hold on to the ball, move the ball and score points. We're capable of doing that. We've shown it and now we just have to go out and do it."
Despite the turnovers getting out of hand in that week one contest, the 49ers lost by only a ten-point margin in the 23-13 defeat. But since then, the Cardinals have averaged 29.2 points per game, which ranks as the number one scoring offense in the NFL.
The 49ers offense will rely on its defense to again keep down Arizona's point total, but Snyder believes it's a cause that his unit can help fight too.
"Controlling the clock is important," said Snyder. "I think we need to play a full game, which we've done maybe one time, I think you could say this year, where we've played a full game on offense, defense and special teams. On offense, running the ball and controlling the clock is going to be important. Letting Frank Gore run against the db's and the safety's, opening holes for him and protecting the quarterback, really is what it's going to come down to for us to win the game."
The 49ers offensive line has a different quarterback to protect this week, with Shaun Hill expected to see his first start of the season.
"Shaun plays with a high energy and he brings that into the huddle," said Snyder. "Guys get excited when he's in there and it's a different feel. I think Shaun brings a new energy and guys are excited to play. We've been excited all year and I think it's just time to turn it around and go out and play hard."
Playing hard includes Singletary's mantra of being physical, a battle that was clearly won by the Cardinals the first go-around. With the Cardinals sitting in the driver's seat of the NFC West, it's time for the 49ers to get even.
"I think it's going to be physical, this is a division opponent, who right now is in the lead," said Snyder. "They've got what we want and we have to go take it. I think we're ready and we're excited."
More on the Injury Front
In addition to Sims, safety Dashon Goldson (knee) and receiver Arnaz Battle (foot) have both been ruled out of the game.
Defensive end Ray McDonald (knee) and Jennings (shoulder) were limited in practice.
Quarterback Shaun Hill has started a game on the national scene, leading the 49ers last year to a win over the Bengals in an NFL Network Saturday night game, but Monday night will mark his first ever road start.
"I hadn't thought about it honestly until you guys mentioned it," said Hill to the media on Thursday. "Road games – they do bring another element to it. But it's nothing that I haven't done (prepared for) every other week on average for seven years. So I'm used to that."
Hill will be without one of the team's top receivers as Arnaz Battle, who is second on the team in catches and receiving yards, has been ruled out with a foot injury.
"That's just the way this league is, one goes down, another one steps in. You can't miss a beat. I think we'll be okay. We definitely have a lot of depth at that position and there shouldn't be any setbacks there."
Singletary said Battle would be replaced by a combination of both Jason Hill and Bryant Johnson. Johnson has started four games this season and is fourth on the team in catches and yards with 16 receptions for 208 yards and a touchdown.
Hill, last year's third-round pick, saw his most significant action in the Seattle game following Battle's exit. He caught g his first three balls of the season for 38 yards, including his first NFL touchdown on a 2-yard throw from Shaun Hill.
"I'm excited," said J. Hill of seeing the field more. "It's a national televised game. You never want anyone to get hurt, but now I do have an opportunity. The ball is in my court now and I have to play."