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Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

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Kyle Shanahan believes in young 49ers O-linemen but admits “we’re not there yet”

Aug 26, 2022 at 2:32 PM--

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan believes in his young inexperienced offensive linemen. They obviously haven't reached their full potential yet, evident by Thursday night's 17-0 preseason loss to the Houston Texans. However, the team has 16 more days until the regular-season opener against the Chicago Bears, and the 49ers coach hopes his offensive line will make a leap before retaking the field.

"Yeah, I mean, we're not there yet. I think that's obvious," Shanahan said Friday on a conference call. "We've got some new guys and some young guys. And also, not having [Mike] McGlinchey in there, and his little setback has hurt. I'm hoping to get him back. Not having Dan Brunskill in there, who has been a starter for us the last two years, has also been rough.

"But what I'm excited about, all these young guys, who are getting these opportunities and playing, they all have the ability to be very good in this league. It's tough in an O-line situation where, especially this year, you don't do one thing from practicing football from an O-line standpoint in OTAs. You really just start in training camp."

Offensive linemen just go through the motions during OTAs and minicamp. They don't get to block in game-type scenarios until training camp. That started only a month ago.

"So it's been about three weeks to a month of football for those guys," Shanahan continued. "I really do believe in the ability that they have and where they can go, but the season is now just [16] days away, and I do believe that the more they play, the better they'll get because they're made of the right stuff, and they have the ability to do it. But it does take time in this league, and we've got a couple of guys doing that, right now, are showing up a lot, but they'll get there."

Shanahan was specifically asked about second-year guard Aaron Banks. The coach didn't feel any struggles were entirely Banks' fault.

"I thought he had a better game this week than versus Minnesota," Shanahan responded. "I know there's definitely a couple that he missed, but I also thought it was the full offense there. There's a couple I thought we could have gotten rid of the ball a lot sooner. There's a couple that the quarterback didn't have a chance on.

"As a whole, it wasn't good enough. When you ask [about] him in particular, I thought he did improve from the week before."

Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams sat out Thursday's game. McGlinchey and Brunskill are working their way back from injuries. Shanahan hopes the return of those players will result in a much-improved unit in front of second-year quarterback Trey Lance.

The coach added, "Hopefully, we can have some good news with Brunskill and McGlinchey, so we get some guys back who have done it before, and they can give us a little more help in [these] areas."

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