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Trent Brown Sees Growth in First Full Season as 49ers Starter

The more you can do, right?

Zane Beadles has adopted that mantra. The veteran offensive lineman has started at a different position in each of the San Francisco 49ers last three games – left guard, left tackle and center, respectively.

Last week it was Trent Brown's turn to showcase his versatility in a Christmas Eve matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. The second-year lineman made his first career start at left tackle in the absence of Joe Staley and Daniel Kilgore. It had been a year since Brown received practice reps at the position, and you'd have to go back to Brown's junior college days since he played left tackle in a game.

"You have to flip everything in your head," Brown said. "You've got to flip your feet. My body felt kind of awkward on Sunday. Going back and watching film, I feel like I did a decent job."

Brown admitted that his first series against the Los Angeles Rams was "shaky," but added that he got more comfortable as the game progressed.

Anchoring the 49ers offensive line was no small task. Playing a new position was only half of the challenge. Brown was also trying to contain a talented Rams defensive front while filling the void of perennial Pro Bowler Joe Staley.

"Those were some big shoes to fill," Brown said. "I was just telling Joe that. He said I did a pretty good job, and so that was pretty high praise coming from him."

Brown enlisted Staley's help in the days leading up to Week 16. He asked his veteran mentor for tips and suggestions.

"I just asked him to watch me during practice and 1-on-1's and stuff to make sure my sets were OK and to look at my footwork," Brown said.

Footwork in the run game and the ability to diagnose a defense pre-snap are two areas where Brown has seen the most improvement in himself. The Florida product entered the year with plenty of hype following rave reviews from the likes of Von Miller.

Chip Kelly said that Brown has done an admiral job fulfilling those expectations.

"I think he's very good in pass protection," the coach started. "He's really developing as a run blocker. I've seen progression from him over the course of the season. He's moved around now, he's played multiple positions.

"He's a little bit rawer on the left side than he is the right side. That transition isn't as easy I think maybe as some people think. He did a decent job against Los Angeles."

The 6-foot-9 lineman said that he hopes to eventually be the heir to Staley and make a permanent move to left tackle. Until that time comes, Brown looks forward to his continued development as an up-and-coming tackle in the NFL.

"There's more out there for me," Brown said. "I'm pretty pleased with my performances this year – it being my first full season as a starter. Next year I know even more in terms of what to be prepared for and how to take care of my body better. Next year I think it will be a big year for me."

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