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OFFENSIVE LINE PLAY: Most Important

  • WWFGD
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 833
Originally posted by goodthings19:
Reports from training camp indicate that the coaching staff (Solari) have spent a considerable amount of time with A. Davis getting him to improve his technique. All of the tools are there physically we just have to hope that he has it mentally to be a great tackle in this league. The fact that he showed up to camp in relatively good shape is a good sign that he is committed to not sucking the sack.
I think he can be really good. He is another one of those players that are still so young. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt but by year three I want dominance.
Originally posted by gamechanger:
Originally posted by Bluefalcon61:
Alex Smith makes this line (made up of high round draft choices) look bad.
What about on run plays? It's his fault too, right?


Well yes, If Alex can ruin VD's career, he can certainly make all those OL's look bad - even on running plays.
[ Edited by Bluefalcon61 on Aug 12, 2011 at 10:04 AM ]
I believe oline play is paramount. I've posted on this site for years that there has been a missing ingredient in our line play for a long time -- and it relates to what people typically refer to as the line "jelling" as a unit. That line jelling gets the offense the first 2-3 seconds of protection necessary to act with calm and precision. But no line can consistently hold their blocks and keep blitzers at bay longer than this. Occassionally you will see very good lines stone the defense for 5-6 seconds and give the QB all kinds of time -- but that is by far the exception.

The key for a oline that has jelled is that they know how to let the pressure (breakdown) occur predictably and "gracefully" so that the QB knows where to move to avoid pressure if he's still holding the ball. The QB needs to know that when the line calls out its blocking adjustments that the pressure will most likely come from a certain place, so the QB knows with the "mental clock" when to move up or out of the pocket.

That ability above -- lets call it graceful degradation -- it what makes good offenses look so calm and smooth even as things break down -- and ultimately leads to their ability to continue to beat the defense.

For the last 8 years, our oline play has looked like mayhem -- the breakdowns (missed assignments, pressure, etc) -- seem to come unpredictably from all angles. (Or in some cases, eg the AZ run blitzes, occurred over and over with no adjustments!!) Part of that MIGHT be that the QB doesn't have a good understanding of the blocking scheme and is aniticpating the scheme well. But usually, that is from poor line play AND scheme.

I don't think we will see perfect play in a first preseason game, but if we see hints of improvement where the line play looks organized and purposeful in how it allows pressure to occur (pushing it to the outside, directing a blitz to flow to the running back, etc) and the QBs seem calm in anticpating that and working with it to continue creating successful plays -- THAT will be a huge step forward in our team.
Originally posted by billbird2111:
One thing I will be looking at very closely during the first two or three series is the play of our offensive line. Folks -- if you're going to have a good offense in the NFL -- you start with a great line. And Harbaugh might be lucky in that he might have inheirited a VERY good offensive line (the way Walsh did).

It's no secret to most fans that we've been rebuilding the line for the past few seasons. While I was unhappy to see Bass slip away, we've still got the likes of Staley, Iupati, Rachal and Davis. This will be the second full season for both Iupati and Davis, and those are the two I will be watching the closest. Davis struggled to start out last season but seemed to find a firm footing in his last six to seven games. He showed flashes that he may be the long term answer at right tackle. Iupati meanwhile, showed that he's an absolute beast. He could be the new Larry Allen.

I say, could be.

If Alex is ever going to develop into a servicable QB. If Gore is ever going to return to form. If VD is ever going to be allowed the chance to roam downfield, it all depends upon the play of our offensive line. Short and simple: Good teams have good lines. Bad teams have bad lines.

We've invested heavily in this line. Both Staley and Davis are 1st round picks. Iupati we picked up in the 2nd. If I'm not mistaken, I believe Rachal was a 2nd or 3rd round choice. There aren't many journeyman types holding down spots on this line. All of them are draft pick studs.

If the 49ers improve offensively? It all starts up front. I know it's not sexy. It's the most overlooked area of football. But stars can't be stars unless they've got road grader grunts paving the way.

Watch closely. It should be interesting.


Bill, that is one of the best posts in a long time, my compliments to you sir! You hit the nail right on the head. I think once we get Goodwin up to speed on the line calls the biggest question will be the Chilo issue, hopefully someone has taught the young man to pass block.
Originally posted by RichmondPete:
QB play has been far worse than OL play the last 6 years last time I checked


A bad o line will ruin a young qb, it all starts up front Pete, you should know that.
Originally posted by RichmondPete:
Originally posted by gamechanger:
More like #2 reason why the 9ers have sucked. #1 reason has been FO and coaching.

QB play has been far worse than OL play the last 6 years last time I checked

If all you watch is the ball, then you have missed an ongoing weakness. It was the reason the team spent two high draft choices on OL last year. IMO, OL has been a close second to QB and was VERY often the reason QB play was not better.
  • Chico
  • Veteran
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Great Post! However, how do you not know Iupati was our second #1 pick in last years draft?

Anyway, building this line was a work in progress! We now have the talent and they are all still young. Let's see if this group can develop so that Alex isn't always throwing the ball with a LB or NT on top of him 2 seconds after snapping the ball.

Everyone wants to blame AS and how terrible he is but you can put Joe Montana or Tom Brady behind our line and they will look just as bad as Alex, if not worse!
I'm willing to go out on a limb that no other NFL team in the past 5-7 years has invested as many high round draft picks on offensive linemen. Our O-line coaches have had good credentials and while they have had some success at run blocking, pass blocking has been a constant problem.

Why? Why?
Originally posted by Overkill:
Line play is important. But MOST important? I don't know about that. The relationship between an OL & its QB is symbiotic. Each can make the other better or worse.

Indy, Chicago, Philadelphia, Arizona, and Cincinnati (off the top of my head) have all made significant playoff runs in recent memory with question marks on the OL. Green Bay won the SB with an OL that wasn't exactly top notch.

By the time the playoffs began, GB's OL was back intact, and so was the timing of the passing game.

But you are correct, a team can win it all with a question in the OL but not 5 of them. At the beginning of last year, the 49er OL was a complete train wreck. Iupati and Davis were brand new, Baas was a total fish out of water (though he showed surprising improvement in the second half of the year), Staley was hurt, Rachal was, well, Rachal. There was not solid play from anyone on the OL in the first half of last season.

Back in history, the first 49er SB win was with an under-sized guard named Dan Audick playing LT. He was barely adequate in addition to having some emotional issues. Walsh showed his genius by running plays that took advantage of his limited talent while avoiding his liabilities. He could do that because he had studs at the other spots.
This year, I'm taking absolutely zero from preseason. Well, except to see how Kap looks out there in terms of a football player.
Originally posted by Bluefalcon61:
Alex Smith makes this line (made up of high round draft choices) look bad.

...................
Originally posted by Marvin49:
...................


I respectfully submit that player development is the true culprit, and not just along the line.
  • dmax
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 6,504
everything starts in the trenches,thats where i'll be looking at
Originally posted by billbird2111:
One thing I will be looking at very closely during the first two or three series is the play of our offensive line. Folks -- if you're going to have a good offense in the NFL -- you start with a great line. And Harbaugh might be lucky in that he might have inheirited a VERY good offensive line (the way Walsh did).

It's no secret to most fans that we've been rebuilding the line for the past few seasons. While I was unhappy to see Bass slip away, we've still got the likes of Staley, Iupati, Rachal and Davis. This will be the second full season for both Iupati and Davis, and those are the two I will be watching the closest. Davis struggled to start out last season but seemed to find a firm footing in his last six to seven games. He showed flashes that he may be the long term answer at right tackle. Iupati meanwhile, showed that he's an absolute beast. He could be the new Larry Allen.

I say, could be.

If Alex is ever going to develop into a servicable QB. If Gore is ever going to return to form. If VD is ever going to be allowed the chance to roam downfield, it all depends upon the play of our offensive line. Short and simple: Good teams have good lines. Bad teams have bad lines.

We've invested heavily in this line. Both Staley and Davis are 1st round picks. Iupati we picked up in the 2nd. If I'm not mistaken, I believe Rachal was a 2nd or 3rd round choice. There aren't many journeyman types holding down spots on this line. All of them are draft pick studs.

If the 49ers improve offensively? It all starts up front. I know it's not sexy. It's the most overlooked area of football. But stars can't be stars unless they've got road grader grunts paving the way.

Watch closely. It should be interesting.


good post and i agree 100%. the games are always won and lost in the trenches. it will be the deciding factor in our season without a doubt. what im worried about is the right side of the line. from the middle to the left will be fine. its the right side that scares me.

also iupati was drafted at 17 overall in the first rd last year. and rachal was a high 2nd rd pick for us.
[ Edited by OptimusPrime52 on Aug 12, 2011 at 10:52 AM ]
I like this line. To be honest, I dunno why peeps are so hard on Rachal. Anthony Davis struggles ALOT more than Rachal did last year.

Staley: Good but not Great. Definitely Good Enough.
Iupati: Future Pro Bowler.
Goodwin: Solid, but not spectacular.
Rachal: Much better than peeps give him credit for. For some reason he's become the line whipping boy.
Davis: Struggled, but got himself in shape this offseason so I hope he makes a big push this year.

Snyder: I love this guy. Just tell me where to play and I'll play. Never a star, but always gets it done.
Wragge: Sold backup interior player.
Boone: Who knows? Might be good, but has never really gotten an opportunity.