Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Bulked-up 49ers tackle Mike McGlinchey doesn’t go unnoticed

Jul 29, 2021 at 9:30 AM--

While San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has always expressed significant confidence in his right tackle, Mike McGlinchey, fans and analysts have often been less than complimentary while discussing the offensive lineman's career as a whole.

In May, the 49ers exercised McGlinchey's fifth-year option, meaning he will be with the team through the 2022 season. Beyond that, who knows? After defending himself against critics for much of last season, McGlinchey eventually admitted that there was room for improvement.

"I think there's a lot of things I did really well all year," McGlinchey said in December. "There's things I did a lot better than last year. But I wasn't consistent enough. The fact of the matter is there were some bad moments this year that I let my team down when they needed me to be at my best, and I didn't get it done. The thing I need to do is just be consistent."

At the time, McGlinchey didn't sound too concerned about his weight, hinting that improvement might be as simple as working on his technique. However, the bulked-up McGlinchey didn't go unnoticed when the 49ers reported to training camp this week.

"Sometimes losing weight helps; sometimes it hurts," Shanahan told reporters on Tuesday. "I think he put a little bit more on, but I don't think that was the big thing (this offseason). It was just being as strongest and most in shape, ready to go."

Last year was a unique situation. COVID-19 impacted everyone, including NFL players. They didn't benefit from in-person work with coaches for much of the offseason, and quarantining likely impacted their training. As a result, players didn't practice together in an official capacity until training camp, just weeks before the start of the season.

"I think Mike, like everybody, didn't get quite the offseason that he wanted," Shanahan said. "Not because he's not a hard worker or anything like that, just going through COVID and stuff like that. And so you see, where your weight's at, how that affected you going through that year."

McGlinchey prioritized working with team personnel this offseason. He focused on adding weight and strength.

"There wasn't necessarily a number that I was trying to have, but it was definitely evident that I needed to get stronger," McGlinchey told KNBR in June. "It was a tough offseason last year all the way through. Everything was shut down. Even our facility was shut down. Food resources were shut down, so I had to figure out and get creative about what I needed to do to stay on top of things. And unfortunately, it just made life on the field a little bit more difficult."

The anchor opposite McGlinchey, left tackle Trent Williams, has high expectations for the 49ers offensive line and the entire team in 2021. He too has noticed his bulked-up teammate.

"McGlinchey added weight," Williams said on Tuesday. "I think that was more of a personal thing that he wanted to do for himself. I think he looks great. I think he looks amazing. I know he's been working his butt off."

Early on, expectations were high for McGlinchey. After all, the offensive lineman was the No. 9 overall pick in 2018. However, while McGlinchey's Pro Football Focus run-blocking grade of 91.3 in 2020 was a career-high, his pass-blocking grade of 58.3 marked a career-low.

"When you come into the league as a high pick and you have a good rookie year and you go through a couple rough spots in your second year, that's not going to define you," Shanahan said. "It's how you come back from it. And I think Mike really attacked everything. And sometimes you've got to tell Mike to slow down a little bit because it means the world to him."

McGlinchey previously admitted that maybe he paid too much attention to what his critics were writing about him. Perhaps seeing it on a daily basis took a mental toll on the offensive lineman.

"I definitely deserved some of the criticism that I got," McGlinchey said. "I don't know if it needed to be as extensive as it was from week to week, but that's what happens when you're a focal point of your offense that's kind of injury-riddled, and I was a first-round pick, so expectations are high."

Added Shanahan this week: "Just talking to him, being around him today and yesterday, you can tell he's in a great space and a great place. And I think he's ready to go. And I'm excited to see him out there this year."

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