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San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins shot down a report from yesterday by Cam Inman of Bay Area News Group that stated that rookie Joshua Garnett is expected to start at right guard during Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills. Garnett was reportedly in line to replace Andrew Tiller.
The 49ers starting offensive line of Joe Staley, Zane Beadles, Daniel Kilgore, Tiller, and Trent Brown has remained unchanged since the start of the season. Tiller has performed relatively well compared to his counterpart on the other side, Beadles.
Advanced statistics site Pro Football Focus has a 74.9 grade on Tiller this season, while Beadles has a 47.0 grade – the worst among the 49ers' starting offensive lineman and the worst of his career.
"When you're trying to get to know a player, get to know a team, get to know a unit, especially offensive line, I think it helps to get guys experience at different positions so we know what we have," said Modkins. "Josh has done a good job and we look forward to him continuing to develop."
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"We got him a couple of plays in the game because of the way the kind of game fell out," Modkins continued. "Hopefully we can continue that but no decisions have been made about him being the starter, no."
Modkins was asked what he has done since the start of the season to put himself in a position to get the snaps that he did against Arizona. "Well, he's worked hard," Modkins answered. "He's gotten better in practice. He's learning what we do. Obviously, he's a talented player. He's like any other young player, any other player on our team. They all need to continue working and continue to improve. But I think Josh is on the right track."
On Thursday against the Arizona Cardinals, Garnett played for the first time in his NFL career. He got 18 snaps, but his play was erratic.
"Josh was OK," Kelly said following the 33-21 loss. "I think his first significant snaps. I think we had him in for 18 plays. He did some nice things at times and then some other things that I'm sure he wants back, but that'll come with time with him."
Kelly was asked about Garnett and Kilgore getting beat by Cardinals DT Calais Campbell for a safety. "They had a game on," he said. "It was a twist game with the two inside guys. So, it was Josh, Danny, and Zane with the three on two situation for us. But, it was a twist game."