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Alex Boone competing at OG

Originally posted by jreff22:
If Boone goes down you lose the #3 OT and a starting OG....stupid idea. And why draft 4 guys if none can step in and start?

I can see your point but if Kilgore is still a year or two away and Looney/Slowey are developmental, do you really want to risk Smith and Gore? Or should they start the best possible five? This is a very young line but Boone has a couple of years seasoning...two years versus none or one. Experience might make a difference. Once again, if they start Kilgore and he isnt' ready and Smith is injured it is worse than having to put Person in at OT.

The good news is that they almost won the super bowl with a terrible line so perhaps they will be improved whatever the line composition.
[ Edited by dtg_9er on May 11, 2012 at 6:10 PM ]
Originally posted by dtg_9er:
Originally posted by jreff22:
If Boone goes down you lose the #3 OT and a starting OG....stupid idea. And why draft 4 guys if none can step in and start?

I can see your point but if Kilgore is still a year or two away and Looney/Slowey are developmental, do you really want to risk Smith and Gore? Or should they start the best possible five? This is a very young line but Boone has a couple of years seasoning...two years versus none or one. Experience might make a difference. Once again, if they start Kilgore and he isnt' ready and Smith is injured it is worse than having to put Person in at OT.

The good news is that they almost won the super bowl with a terrible line so perhaps they will be improved whatever the line composition.

If we have 4 guys that cant play then we should of traded up this year or last year and got a kid who could start. Burning 4 picks and getting nothing in return is a major waste.
Originally posted by CorvaNinerFan:
Alex may become a bigger, better version of Adam Snyder. I think Looney will win the starting OG job...he's just the kind of player we need there. If Boone can become the jack-of-all-trades OL, that's great insurance if a starter goes down.

I was thinking the same thing. To me, this "move" to OG shows that
1) The Niners really like Boone as a player and want him to get playing time,
2) They want to have a reliable, versatile guy that can fill in at all the OG and OT spots in case of a game injury (like Snyder did before he took over as a starter), and...
3) They probably want to have to activate only 7 OL guys on game day...and that means that the guys they do activate need to be versatile.

I'm thinking the Niners want Boone to be their "sixth" man of the OL....so to speak.

Cheers!
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A 6'7" guard worked out for us before...



... but I still think we should move Anthony Davis to RG instead.
Originally posted by MILFS:
I will be rooting for Boone to win the starting job.

Me too!
Originally posted by OnTheClock:
I have to respectfully disagree on that one. I think that's a little pessimistic view of looking at it and a sort of "not-to-lose" mentality. I think you'd want the best players on the field, and it'd seem silly just to keep Boone on the bench because you're afraid of what will happen if both he and one of our starting tackles gets hurt. This is football and injuries happen, but I don't think you should alter your line-up based on the minimal probability of a series of negative events. That's like kicking a field goal on 3rd down because you're afraid you might not make the 1st down and/or the touchdown on the play, so you'll just be safe.

Boone could get hurt in practice while still being on the bench and we could lose our swing tackle that way too. I think you play the best guy. I don't know if that's Boone, but whoever it is, I think deserves to start.

If we're that confident in our tackle depth (Staley, Davis, Boone, Person -- and then both Kilgore and Slowey with experience in a pinch of course), then I don't have a problem with them trying Boone at guard. At this point, I am led to believe they are 100% OK with the slight risk.

In the end, it won't matter unless he wins the job. If anyone else gets it, these points all become moot.


Yes, it is a "not-to-lose" mentality. But look at it this way. If you literally want to have your best possible players on the field at all times, you would probably have Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis and perhaps a few other starters like Carlos Rogers (Bowman DID play special teams last year, but I'll address that later) playing special teams.
The reason you don't put star players on special teams is to protect them. So yes, I would say every team in the NFL "protects" players from injury by sacrificing optimum on-field productivity.
Bowman was used on special teams last year because he was a young player who had experience and excelled in special teams his rookie year; they didn't know he was going to be an All-Pro. That being said, they might keep him on special teams because losing one star middle linebacker when you have two, is not as devastating as losing one star CB, (Rogers) when you only have one. Although I think its most likely that one of the rookies will take over Bowman's special teams duties this year.

Here's the essential issue.
We only have ONE backup tackle, who we know can fill in nicely for a starting player. His name is Boone. Actually, the fact that Boone can even compete at guard brings up another point. You can find guards to fill in for injuries. In a worst case scenario, you can slide a tackle over to play guard. However, you cannot slide a guard over to play tackle, unless you are overflowing with tackles and your guard is extremely talented (young Larry Allen with the Cowboys). This is because tackles are far more precious commodities than guards, and they are extra-special commodities on this team. We don't have Michael Vick or Tony Romo running around back there. We have to protect the pocket or else our offense shuts down. The tackle position is important , but on this team, it is much more so.

Unless Boone is an All-Pro, dominant type of guard, I can't comprehend the value of putting him in there and risking him to injury. And yes, players are far more likely to get injured if they are playing in an NFL game every week. It just seems strange to me that we can't have these three guys complete: Kilgore, Looney, Slowey, to find an adequate solution at RG.
I mean heck, why not try out Staley at RG too? If he wins then we can play Boone at LT. Almost everyone would think THAT is crazy, yet many don't see anything wrong with doing the same thing with Boone (who might be only slightly less talented than Staley), because he is "only" a backup.
For every rep he practices at guard, he loses another rep practicing at the far more important position of tackle.

I just can't see it. I wanted to draft Boone; then when we picked him up as a UFA, I thought we got a steal. He turned is life around, and has looked great in the time he has filled in for Staley. The thought of him getting hurt in a game while playing guard when we have three (Kilgore, Looney, Slowey) guards we invested in as draft picks, throws me for a loop.

[ Edited by BrianGO on May 11, 2012 at 8:37 PM ]
IMO, the true RG competition is between Kilgore and Looney. I think Boone is temporarily competing at guard for 2 reasons:

1) We're in the mini-camp stage where we can afford to experiment with players. Boone can get some reps at guard to show what he can do at the position and also to gain experience in case we actually need him to play at that spot.
2) The spirit of competition.

Remember last season Adam Snyder "competed" at center despite being our best swing OT/OG? Everybody knew Goodwin was signed to be our starter but there was still a competition for the job anyway. This competition allowed Snyder to get experience at center (reason #1 above) and also push Goodwin (reason #2 above).

Of course I could be completely wrong and Boone could end up starting lol.
Originally posted by jreff22:
If we have 4 guys that cant play then we should of traded up this year or last year and got a kid who could start. Burning 4 picks and getting nothing in return is a major waste.


Not sure you would expect all first rounders to start right away, but a fourth, fifth and sixth rounder? Nor would I say that any late rounder was a waste if they can't start right away. The 9ers had one of the youngest lines in the NFL until they picked up Goodwin, who isn't my idea of a strong center.

I was in favor of trying to get a starter out of the draft but evidently Harbaugh wanted to have Boone, Kilgore and a rookie compete for the job...and I will bow to his experience. Having receivers who can get off the line fast will certainly help the line and that might make the difference this year.
[ Edited by dtg_9er on May 12, 2012 at 9:17 AM ]
Originally posted by BrianGO:
Yes, it is a "not-to-lose" mentality. But look at it this way. If you literally want to have your best possible players on the field at all times, you would probably have Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis and perhaps a few other starters like Carlos Rogers (Bowman DID play special teams last year, but I'll address that later) playing special teams.
The reason you don't put star players on special teams is to protect them. So yes, I would say every team in the NFL "protects" players from injury by sacrificing optimum on-field productivity.
Bowman was used on special teams last year because he was a young player who had experience and excelled in special teams his rookie year; they didn't know he was going to be an All-Pro. That being said, they might keep him on special teams because losing one star middle linebacker when you have two, is not as devastating as losing one star CB, (Rogers) when you only have one. Although I think its most likely that one of the rookies will take over Bowman's special teams duties this year.

Here's the essential issue.
We only have ONE backup tackle, who we know can fill in nicely for a starting player. His name is Boone. Actually, the fact that Boone can even compete at guard brings up another point. You can find guards to fill in for injuries. In a worst case scenario, you can slide a tackle over to play guard. However, you cannot slide a guard over to play tackle, unless you are overflowing with tackles and your guard is extremely talented (young Larry Allen with the Cowboys). This is because tackles are far more precious commodities than guards, and they are extra-special commodities on this team. We don't have Michael Vick or Tony Romo running around back there. We have to protect the pocket or else our offense shuts down. The tackle position is important , but on this team, it is much more so.

Unless Boone is an All-Pro, dominant type of guard, I can't comprehend the value of putting him in there and risking him to injury. And yes, players are far more likely to get injured if they are playing in an NFL game every week. It just seems strange to me that we can't have these three guys complete: Kilgore, Looney, Slowey, to find an adequate solution at RG.
I mean heck, why not try out Staley at RG too? If he wins then we can play Boone at LT. Almost everyone would think THAT is crazy, yet many don't see anything wrong with doing the same thing with Boone (who might be only slightly less talented than Staley), because he is "only" a backup.
For every rep he practices at guard, he loses another rep practicing at the far more important position of tackle.

I just can't see it. I wanted to draft Boone; then when we picked him up as a UFA, I thought we got a steal. He turned is life around, and has looked great in the time he has filled in for Staley. The thought of him getting hurt in a game while playing guard when we have three (Kilgore, Looney, Slowey) guards we invested in as draft picks, throws me for a loop.


Just can't get this at all. Are you saying you would prefer NOT to put the best 5 OL on the field because one might get injured? Yes, yes you are... and that is a terrible way of going about things. OL is too important to not put the best 5 on the field. If you worry about your depth, then you add quality to that depth... you don't reserve a starting caliber OL just for depth.. you get other OL developed to be that depth. Maybe gtuys like Person or that other Stanford OT is further along and more capable than you think.
Listening to Harbaugh talk about line competition makes it clear they believe Boone is their fifth best lineman and that is why they are hoping he can play RG. Talked about his knee bend and his ability to hold the point of attack. When asked about moving Boone affecting their depth, he said that after they find the top five they will look for the sixth, seventh and so on. In other words, you don't keep your fifth guy on the bench just in case someone is injured.

And since RG was the biggest problem last year it is great that the best player available will fill that spot. Do I wish they had drafted DeCastro? No, I wanted a top FA RG! Oh well!
Originally posted by BrianGO:
Yes, it is a "not-to-lose" mentality. But look at it this way. If you literally want to have your best possible players on the field at all times, you would probably have Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis and perhaps a few other starters like Carlos Rogers (Bowman DID play special teams last year, but I'll address that later) playing special teams.
The reason you don't put star players on special teams is to protect them. So yes, I would say every team in the NFL "protects" players from injury by sacrificing optimum on-field productivity.
Bowman was used on special teams last year because he was a young player who had experience and excelled in special teams his rookie year; they didn't know he was going to be an All-Pro. That being said, they might keep him on special teams because losing one star middle linebacker when you have two, is not as devastating as losing one star CB, (Rogers) when you only have one. Although I think its most likely that one of the rookies will take over Bowman's special teams duties this year.

Here's the essential issue.
We only have ONE backup tackle, who we know can fill in nicely for a starting player. His name is Boone. Actually, the fact that Boone can even compete at guard brings up another point. You can find guards to fill in for injuries. In a worst case scenario, you can slide a tackle over to play guard. However, you cannot slide a guard over to play tackle, unless you are overflowing with tackles and your guard is extremely talented (young Larry Allen with the Cowboys). This is because tackles are far more precious commodities than guards, and they are extra-special commodities on this team. We don't have Michael Vick or Tony Romo running around back there. We have to protect the pocket or else our offense shuts down. The tackle position is important , but on this team, it is much more so.

Unless Boone is an All-Pro, dominant type of guard, I can't comprehend the value of putting him in there and risking him to injury. And yes, players are far more likely to get injured if they are playing in an NFL game every week. It just seems strange to me that we can't have these three guys complete: Kilgore, Looney, Slowey, to find an adequate solution at RG.
I mean heck, why not try out Staley at RG too? If he wins then we can play Boone at LT. Almost everyone would think THAT is crazy, yet many don't see anything wrong with doing the same thing with Boone (who might be only slightly less talented than Staley), because he is "only" a backup.
For every rep he practices at guard, he loses another rep practicing at the far more important position of tackle.

I just can't see it. I wanted to draft Boone; then when we picked him up as a UFA, I thought we got a steal. He turned is life around, and has looked great in the time he has filled in for Staley. The thought of him getting hurt in a game while playing guard when we have three (Kilgore, Looney, Slowey) guards we invested in as draft picks, throws me for a loop.


I think that's apples and oranges when you start throwing special teams in there. Some players can be used both ways, but most of these units feature players specifically trained for those roles (gunner, long snapper, punter, coverage, blocking, etc.) When we're talking specifically about a players key unit -- the offensive unit, defensive unit, or special teams unit -- we want the guys best trained at that craft. The part about not having guys like Moss on kick coverage or something is a totally different discussion.

I think the best way to look at it is like this: Do you want to risk our QB getting hurt because you decided to play a lesser OL just to protect that swing player from injury, so that if he got hurt there MIGHT -- and that's key, no guarantee -- there might not be as good of a fill-in for him?

I think you're at substantially higher risk when you elect to have your leader of the offense be protected by anything less than the best five OL at each respective position on the line.

You want to have the best available five protecting him at all times. If injuries happen, so be it, the next best guy(s) will step up. But you can't go in fearfully, expecting your top guys to get hurt, and because of that not play them. Just seems silly.
[ Edited by OnTheClock on May 12, 2012 at 10:12 AM ]
Agree with OTC and Oldman, put your best OL especially if the player is stoked for the opportunity and has total buy-in. This gives the coaches another resource to stick in the middle and kick outside if need be. What a great way to prepare for contingencies that normally occur during a football season. The bottom line is that the more versatile your line is the better equipped to deal with injuries when they occur. I always said that the key to winning championships is depth, not O or D or ST...depth!

To that degree, there is something that the coaches SEE in Boone as an OG. Therefore, I'm apt to believe that Harbaugh approves along with the other O coaches. I believe that Harbaugh is methodical in everything that is football and is willing to push the envelope to test boundaries. This is but another example. The better one come from last year's transformation of Bruce Miller. Simply put, no single person on this site believed at the beginning of that process that he would have the year he did as a newbie NFL FB, never have played the position before. That's all on coaching!

Therefore, I believe this coaching staff has found another gem in Boone. If he truly can bend down lower even at Maiocco's bet winning 6'7 1/2", then his mean MOFO nastiness is perfect for the inside. You can see him smile when he talks about it, too. Sucker loves to smack down in the trenches. We already know he's as strong as an OX and pretty nimble too for the big man. And to think he can add 20 lbs naturally to his frame and quickly too. These coaches know what they are doing so I contend to side with OTC and Oldman as I said in the beginning.

Get your best 5 out there, b***hes!!!!
I look at this move from a couple different perspectives, a bit functional and a bit motivational.

1) They gave Boone a chance and he blossomed. He showed loyalty by signing with us, even though Staley and Davis have a lot of playing years ahead of them and he's stuck behind them. So, we're telling him we value him and want to get him on the field.

2) He's already proven himself as capable and just needs some reps to be ready, not a lot of coaching up to play at either tackle spot. So, now is the perfect time to increase his flexibility by adding some time at guard.

3) The other prospects at guard are very green and at some point, if they can't protect Gore and Smith, they might have to make some move like they did when they had to replace Chilo.
Originally posted by OnTheClock:
I think that's apples and oranges when you start throwing special teams in there. Some players can be used both ways, but most of these units feature players specifically trained for those roles (gunner, long snapper, punter, coverage, blocking, etc.) When we're talking specifically about a players key unit -- the offensive unit, defensive unit, or special teams unit -- we want the guys best trained at that craft. The part about not having guys like Moss on kick coverage or something is a totally different discussion.

I think the best way to look at it is like this: Do you want to risk our QB getting hurt because you decided to play a lesser OL just to protect that swing player from injury, so that if he got hurt there MIGHT -- and that's key, no guarantee -- there might not be as good of a fill-in for him?

I think you're at substantially higher risk when you elect to have your leader of the offense be protected by anything less than the best five OL at each respective position on the line.

You want to have the best available five protecting him at all times. If injuries happen, so be it, the next best guy(s) will step up. But you can't go in fearfully, expecting your top guys to get hurt, and because of that not play them. Just seems silly.


We believe in the same thing, but we disagree in how to achieve it.

Its tactics vs strategy. Both you and I want to have as much talent on the field as possible. The only difference is, I am thinking about the season, and you are thinking about a single game or play.

Scenario 1:
Let's say Staley gets hurt for five games. Boone comes in healthy and fresh to replace him, and protect our QB from injury which is what everybody wants. He has spent all his practice time at LT and has honed his skill there. For five critical games we were able to have the maximum talent possible playing at their maximum ability, and Alex Smith was at less risk of injury.

Scenario 2:
Boone has been our starting RG for ten games into the season. Staley gets hurt for five games, Boone moves over to replace him, we now have a swing player who has gotten far less practice time at the position of LT protecting our QB's blind side for five critical games. Our talent is less than it could have been had we had Boone focusing every rep at LT the whole season. Alex Smith is now at higher risk of injury.

Scenario 3:
Boone has been our starting RG for seven games, he gets hurt in game seven with and injury that will take about a month to recover from. Staley gets hurt for five games in week ten as before, Boone and Staley's injuries overlap for 2-3 weeks. We have to activate Person from the practice squad, and throw him into live NFL games. Alex Smith starts running for his life and we lose some critical games. Man it would have been nice to have someone ready to go at LT.


Scenario 1 is what I think is best if we want to have maximum talent on the field for the SEASON.
If the season were only 1 or 2 games, or injuries were not common in the NFL, I would agree with compromising our backup LT position for the short term, but short-term glory is not how a 16 game season is won.

The other factor is the word "best". What exactly are we talking about? If Boone is just a smidgen better than everyone else at RG, then we throw away strategy just so we can improve slightly at RG?
Does "best" mean that Boone is far better than all three of our draft picks? If that's the case, then first of all we suck at drafting guards, and second, we should be replacing Anthony Davis at RT with Boone. With his quick feet, if Boone can also maul defensive tackles better than our draft picks, then he needs to be on the field playing a much more important position than guard.

Maybe the coaches really really like Person? Nah.
Like I said and another poster said before, I think the reason we might be giving him reps at guard is just to give him the familiarity with it, so in case we did run into a worst-case scenario, we have him available to fill in at RG in a critical situation, like the playoffs. I don't think they really intend to have our primary backup tackle at both RT and LT spend the season at RG, especially after drafting THREE players in the last two years to play guard.

This is another example of Harbaugh wanting players to compete...I think RG will end up being Looney. He's the right size (6-3, 315), had a very impressive number of pancake blocks and had the benefit of working w/Jeremy Newberry, who said JL's not your typical rookie. Harbaugh and Baalke were also very impressed with him at the combine...one of the best interviews they had. Boone's biggest value to the team is at b/u OT. Kilgore's working at C to potentially b/u Goodwin...he'll also work at RG. Again, competition. Looney will earn the position.