Texans hiring 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans as head coach →
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


Main concern for 49ers heading into training camp

Jul 25, 2022 at 9:00 AM--


The San Francisco 49ers are entering the 2022 season with aspirations of winning the NFC West. To some, this might seem unattainable with a relatively inexperienced starting quarterback playing in the same division as the reigning Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, who enter the season as the betting favorites, but the 49ers shouldn't be considered far behind.

Despite having a plethora of success head-to-head against the Rams in recent years, Los Angeles won the most important meeting, the last one, in the 2021 NFC Championship game. After the two teams exchanged body blows for three-plus quarters in that contest, the Rams exploited an area of weakness along the 49ers offensive line with Aaron Donald—possibly the best interior defensive lineman of all-time.

That brings me to the main concern I have heading into the 2022 regular season. Over the summer, the 49ers lost starting center Alex Mack to retirement. Mack, in his prime, had been one of the best players at his position and became a reliable veteran last season, earning an overall grade of 70.4 courtesy of Pro Football Focus (PFF). That impressive grade included a pass-blocking mark of 75.6 over 1,088 offensive snaps. Unfortunately, for the 49ers, Mack is one and done with the organization.

With Alex Mack hanging up his cleats for the final time, the San Francisco 49ers will look to relative unknown Jake Brendel to fill the void.

According to Matt Barrows of The Athletic, Jake Brendel is the favorite to win the starting center job to begin the season. Daniel Brunskill is a versatile offensive lineman who spent time at center in his career but played exclusively at right guard last season. Brunskill is expected to start at right guard, along with Aaron Banks at left guard to begin the year. So, are you comfortable with the combination of the unproven Banks/Brendel or Brendel/Brunskill to block up Donald? This is an area where the organization could stand to explore all their options this summer if one of the three falters during training camp and the preseason. Banks looked overmatched last season throughout training camp, but hopefully he's ready to live up to his draft position. The 49ers spent a second-round selection on the Notre Dame product in 2021.

Brendel has only played 250 NFL snaps over his career, which began in 2016. However, the 29-year-old has one thing in his favor—he will be looking to impress a familiar face this summer in offensive line coach and run game coordinator Chris Foerster. Foerster and Brendel crossed paths during their time in Miami.

One benefit of Brendel stepping in with the first crack to win the vacant starting center role is his familiarity with second-year signal-caller Trey Lance. Lance and Brendel worked exclusively together with the second group last season. If Brendel wins the job, it will also help smooth Lance's transition to becoming the starting quarterback.

Lance had this to say about the situation;

"I got to spend a lot of time with Jake," said Lance. "Obviously, I took all my reps pretty much with Jake and Jimmy [Garoppolo] was with Alex [Mack] last year. Obviously sad, I wanted to play with Alex for sure, but I'm super excited for Jake. Jake's three lockers down from me. We're together, one of the first two guys in every morning, Jake is and I know he's one of the last guys to leave, so he works super hard and his athletic ability is one thing I think that stands out about him."

The 49ers will also look at undrafted rookies Dohnovan West and Jason Poe, 6th round pick Nick Zakelj, and undrafted journeyman Keaton Sutherland as well.

If general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan feel this roster is ready for another Super Bowl push, they should consider signing veteran free agent J.C. Tretter. Tretter is a proven entity with 90 career starts under his belt. The former Packer and Browns center posted a career-best 78.7 overall grade last year in Cleveland, according to PFF. That grade also included a stellar 83.7 pass-blocking mark. Tretter has not posted a sub-80 pass-blocking grade in six consecutive seasons.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.



LISTEN

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



49ers Mailbag: How can the defense slow Jalen Hurts? Is the offensive line a concern? Can SF overcome issues with running QBs?

By Marc Adams
Jan 25

It's Championship week, and the San Francisco 49ers are gearing up to take on the Philadelphia Eagles for a chance to play in the Super Bowl. The teams are evenly matched, to say the least. NFC ranks this season 49ers Defense Eagles OffensePPG 1st 1stYPG 1st 1st pic.twitter.com/C0v702DiAZ— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) January 24,



49ers Notebook: Mike McGlinchey hopes to stay in the Bay; Jimmie Ward reflects on his time with 49ers; A Jimmy G sighting; Nick Bosa describes injury vs. Eagles; A Joe Staley - Kayvon Thibodeaux Twitter battle

By Kirk Larrabee
Jan 29

The end of the 2022 season brings a whole new set of questions for the San Francisco 49ers -- questions that will start to get answered in the weeks and months ahead after looming large in the locker room following their NFC Championship loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The 49ers have a number of players slated for free agency and will have to make some tough decisions on who will stay and who will go. Two of those players -- offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey and defensive back Jimmie Ward -- spoke about their futures on Sunday while also reflecting on their time with the 49ers. We'll talk about what McGlinchey and Ward said Sunday, as well as a number of other topics in this version of 49ers Notebook. We'll also dive into what happened to Nick Bosa



A Game for the Ages - Matchups, History, and More Ahead of 49ers-Cowboys Divisional Game

By JD Salazar
Jan 21

Do you smell that? It's playoff football. It's a time to celebrate. For a few more precious hours, every team in the tournament still has life, still has reason to hope. There are no more guaranteed games, but there's football to be played, and right now is the time to exult in it. No matter who you root for, you can imagine your team finding a way to win, a way to keep playing football, and filling your February with excitement and joy. Right now, there's nothing standing between your team and glory except the vagaries of chance and a well-fought effort this weekend, and hopefully the next. And for those of you who aren't rooting for a team that's made it this far, never fear. 7 of the 14 playoff entrants this year didn't make it into the dance last year. The



Key stats from the 49ers' 31-7 NFC Championship Game loss vs. the Eagles

By Site Staff
Jan 29

The San Francisco 49ers lost 31-7 to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Below are several statistics and notes from Sunday's game, which were provided by the 49ers Communications staff. Christian McCaffrey RB Christian McCaffrey registered 14 carries for 84 yds. and 1 TD to go along with 4 recepts. for 22 yds. He has now registered at least 50 scrimmage yds. and 1 TD in all 4 of his career postseason games. He is the 8th player and 6th RB since 1970 to accomplish the feat in at least each of his first 4 postseason games (RB Marcus Allen, LAA/KC - 7 games, RB Terrell Davis, Den. - 7, RB Curtis Martin, NE/NYJ - 5, WR Randy


Featured

Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone