Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by NinerGM:
The key to making the 49ers' game-day roster this season: versatility. That's what a number of the team's offensive linemen are working on this spring. The most prominent is Alex Boone, who is the frontrunner for the starting right guard position but who on Tuesday lined up at right tackle in starter Anthony Davis' absence.
This mimicked a regular-season scenario in which Davis - or left tackle Joe Staley - went down with an injury. Boone, who was the team's backup tackle last season, would move from the starting guard position to tackle, and someone from the bench would have to fill in at guard.
I love the fact this coaching staff is actually preparing for worst case scenarios. Best coaching staff in a long time.
Understatement! I love the due diligence here.
Although, while I feel the Boone example at RG is more of a veteran courtesy and he'll end up backing up both Staley/Davis at T (where he belongs and is best suited for - or pushing one for the starter), the constant learning-curve shifts for all of these guys (e.g. Boone, Kilgore, Beeler, Slowey, etc.) may not be good. We saw this same approach with Nolan. And for the OL, SPECIALISTS and consistency are crucial b/c the OL plays as a single unit. I personally don't want Boone wasting time learning about being a guard. I want him to continue to excel and specialize as a T so that when/if Staley goes down, we not only don't miss a beat, we start to progress and now we've got our starting LT for the future in place. Is anyone else concerned as well...more so with the move of T's to interior OL? Not so much LG to RG...maybe more G to C (totally different game here). Anyone?
I think the problem with the Nolan era was that the contingency plan kept changing from year to year because we kept changing the OC and subsequent offensive strategies so players kept learning new crap. Also add to this the protection of Rachal involved in said contingency plans ineffective. Well finally we have some brains running the ship and they've already (1) identified that Rachal is not a viable back-up option and (2) defining ONE plan and preparing for that. I like the fact this is being experimented with early, solidify roles, and then practice in that plan accordingly. It's totally possible for Boone to become an expert in one area but be functional to complete a game in another position. There's more than enough time now to identify what that role will be and then have those on the bench prepared.
I think the rate at which snaps are spent on alternate roles may not impact the main/starting duties. Boone is def getting snaps with the second offense as I would expect him to. This isn't uncommon for a team to have its back-up players learn multiple spots. The back-up just needs to be functional, not dominant and make basic blocksAlso given that any back-up will need to be versatile because we won't carry 9 OL guys this season - and I believe the reason why did because there were doubts about Rachal. Isn't it amazing how one guy can cause so much havoc to you 53-man roster?
In any event, failing to plan for a potential injury on the OL is a recipe for disaster that has been repeated too many time under previous regimes and we've paid dearly for it in wins and losses. You can't assume we'll have the same luck with health as we had last season. I'm glad the team is planning for that. I know people like to talk about the passing game and its effect - but I think deepest most prepared team wins.