Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers' head coach Jim Tomsula
named his starting offensive line today, and for the most part it's pretty much what you'd expect. Joe Staley
and Alex Boone
were givens at left tackle and left guard respectively. Marcus Martin
will fill in at center until Daniel Kilgore
is ready to go, and Erik Pears
will continue to waive at defenders as they blow by him at right tackle. So while four of the five spots were kind of what we thought, right guard is a bit of a surprise. The starting nod there will go to Jordan Devey.
Who is Devey?
Well he's the guy the 49ers traded their sixth string tight end for two weeks ago. Seriously.
Devey spent the last two seasons with the New England Patriots, appearing in seven games in 2014 with four starts. The Pats were 3-1 in those games, but Devey didn't exactly set the world on fire. According to Pro Football Focus, he gave up nine quarterback pressures and graded out at a minus-19 overall.
Minus-19 isn't very good, but at least it will mesh well with Pears on the right side who also graded out terribly. Pears had a negative-25 rating at guard for the Buffalo Bills last season, and was almost as ineffective at tackle the year before, finishing 55th out of 76 qualifiers.
So, in short, it looks like Colin Kaepernick
will be rolling out a lot to his left this year.
Look, I'm not trying to bash Devey. He may end up being a great find and perform admirably for the 49ers. But let's call it like it is, the abrupt retirement of Anthony Davis
and the injury to Kilgore has the team in a serious bind. They can spin it however they want to, but San Francisco has an offensive line of mostly backups right now. That's a scary thought.
In my humble opinion, I think the unit is so bad at the moment, it could completely derail the entire season. I still believe they will be able to run the ball, but every drop back could be an adventure.
I'm also a little confused as to why the brain trust was so opposed to moving Boone over to right tackle. That would balance the line a little more, and give the 49ers two strong bookends. In this scenario, Pears would probably be starting at one of the guard spots, but at least that could limit the damage with him on the inside.
Obviously, I hope I'm wrong here and Devey and Pears can surprise some people. I think frustration is setting in though, especially seeing what the Denver Broncos did to the Niners upfront recently. I understand Kaepernick wasn't allowed to audible yet and yada, yada, yada. Bottom line is he wasn't able to get off more than two passes until there were less than two minutes left in the first half. The performance was unacceptable, and I don't know if they have the pieces in house to right the ship.
Al Sacco has covered the 49ers for various sites over the years. He's been a guest on multiple podcasts and had his work used by ESPN NFL Insiders and USA TODAY. Follow Al on Twitter @AlSacco49
Date: September 2, 2015 at 6:33 PM
Comment: I'm not really a fan of pessimistic blogs/articles. But this one gave me several chuckles. Humor is a good way to deal with misery.
Date: September 2, 2015 at 7:03 AM
Comment: Im very surprised that Devey and Pears are starting and both on the right side! I agree this was avoidable why didn't we pick up a lineman in free agency (Mathis) ? This was a problem last season when Davis was out with injury and when he retired nothing was done about it... Why is Thomas not starting or considered to start and move Boone to the right side??? This was an obvious weak spot and this is the solution wow!
Date: September 1, 2015 at 7:54 PM
Comment: We are f***ed
Date: September 1, 2015 at 6:48 PM
Comment: It's unbelievable how the stubborness and pride of one guy could change a winning team into a joke. Baalke's campaign to be the one and only savior of the franchise is tearing into pieces this organization with his reckless decisions. I know Harbaugh never was a saint neither wisest guy around but he brought results at the very end. But the point here is when your team is "keeping" the current status as contender you don't move a muscle because Baalke's mantra is look under garbage and let's save what others dump. With fewer exception such as Aldon Smith, Kaepernick, LaMichael James and Chris Borland (Anquan didn't count because it was a deal made between The Harbaughs and Boldin lured Torrey); our GM never made a bold move to pick or sign a talented player because must of the current players are blue chips but mostly low bargain ones those who didn't get over the view of scouts and have 50/50 chances of being rough diamonds such as Rogers,Whitner,Skuta,Dorsey,Ward,Reid,Tartt,Armstead,etc. Obviously we cannot blame him (or at least can't prove it) for the retires of key players but you can't be crossed by arms while the team crumbles down.
Date: September 1, 2015 at 6:05 PM
Comment: What I find upsetting is that this could have been avoidable. Mathis was available.
By: Niam moore
Date: September 1, 2015 at 6:02 PM
Comment: Devey and Pears were in the game during the 2 Completions(according to Kap)
Date: September 1, 2015 at 5:47 PM
Comment: Think your right. That was Pritty. Brutal We shall see. Hope we are both wrong. Your pal. Clovis ca
By: Damon Stevenson
Date: September 1, 2015 at 3:58 PM
Comment: Nice to know I'm not the only one who notices we've gong from one of the best O lines in the NFL to one of the worst over the last few years. How does Kap play an entire quarter and have zero yards passing? Wasn't it zero? Sure seemed that way. Adding Tory Smith and anyone else means nothing if he is getting hammered in like 1.5 seconds after the snap. God it is so freaking hard to be a 49ers fan right now.
By: Jerret Holcomb
Date: September 1, 2015 at 2:58 PM
Comment: I don't comment on many articles, but the line about Pears made me laugh. Great stuff. That said, I'll put in my 2 cents.. What happened to Brandon Thomas? Is his knee in bad shape? Did I miss something? I would bet that he has much more potential than Devey. The staff has only had a couple weeks of hands on evaluation time with this guy. He's big, but if that's what they're going off of then it will be a long season and the rest of this decade will be spent cleaning this mess they're making.
Date: September 1, 2015 at 2:44 PM
Comment: Well let's be honest this was always going to be a rebuilding year. The team clearly deserves some blame for failing to put a viable starting o-line in place to protect Kap, but this would look a lot different with A.Davis at RT and Iupati was poor at pass protection last year so I'm not sure I blame them for letting him go. Our best hope is that the young guys get better as the season progresses and Kap doesn't get his head blown off in the meantime.