49ers Issues lie With the Interior Offensive Line and Nowhere Else

No, the 49ers should not go after Jadeveon Clowney.

No, the 49ers should not go after Antonio Brown.

All of these scenarios have been brought up as potential solutions to the 49ers’ “issues” at edge rusher and wide receiver.

It is quite hysterical to see considering the fact that there are no issues at edge rusher and wide receiver. Just because there isn’t more star studded names at those positions does not mean there are “issues.” 

The real issues for the 49ers lie with the interior offensive line and nowhere else.

All of this talk that the 49ers need to squeeze the last bit of their remaining salary cap space for Clowney, Brown or whoever is ludicrous. 

Why shell out money for one player with character concerns and one player with motor concerns? It makes no sense, unless you are talking about adding these players in your Madden video game franchise. They do not need to sign, especially trade for a player at those respective positions.

Putting all concerted efforts towards improving the interior offensive line is the real crux of the matter. 

Center Weston Richburg will not be returning until mid-season, which already puts the 49ers’ offensive line at less than full strength. And as of now, it is not looking good for backup center Ben Garland to play in Week 1 against the Cardinals. Even if he did practice this week, it would be risky considering he missed essentially all of training camp. Garland might still need another week of practice to be fully fit to handle starting center duties.

That means Daniel Brunskill will be forced to start at center, and as good as he was last season at swinging all over the offensive line, he isn’t adequate at center at all. Brunskill is a turnover waiting to happen at center, along with his shaky blocking once he snaps the ball. 

The issues do not stop there for the 49ers. 

By starting Brunskill at center, it likely means Tom Compton will get the start at right guard, which is just begging the Cardinals to sack Jimmy Garoppolo at least five times. Compton has been that bad at right guard. 

Rookie Colton McKivitz is the better option, but still isn’t enough to say the interior offensive line will be solidified. 

Now the 49ers freed up some cap space by converting $9.5 million of Dee Ford’s base salary into a signing bonus. This could mean that there is a transaction waiting in the wings for the 49ers. Perhaps a trade for center Alex Mack of the Falcons? Or perhaps it could be to take care of Trent Williams now?

There is a lot to play with here for the 49ers, but it is clear that they have a plan in mind do with the extra cap space. And no, I doubt it is to sign Clowney, who I would be surprised if he even considered the 49ers since he would surely want a team where he could start to rack up stats for his next big contract.

Either way, the interior offensive line is a pressing concern for the second consecutive season for the San Francisco 49ers. There are ways to get over this hump of the shakiness at that area without making a transaction like getting Garoppolo on the run, adding extra players in the backfield, and even counter plays. 

But that will only get the 49ers so far before they come across talented defensive lines that expose them and if that happens, “issues” at receiver and edge rusher will look foolish.

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