We are now in week three of the "battle" between Jordan Devey and Andrew Tiller. To recap, the Giants game was a clear win for Tiller. Against the Ravens the gap between the rotating guards shrunk, but Tiller still came out on top. Against elite competition the story doesn't end much differently.
Andrew Tiller is clearly a better pass protector than Jordan Devey. On two plays, Michael Bennett uses the same inside jab-step to get right around Devey.
When you get an OL that can’t pass protect and a QB who can’t navigate the pocket, bad things happen… pic.twitter.com/hlZSL0MWl3— David Neumann (@davidneumann_) October 27, 2015
Michael Bennett is good at football. Jordan Devey plays a mean tuba. pic.twitter.com/2iJSZZrbsV— David Neumann (@davidneumann_) October 27, 2015
Michael Bennett is one of the better players the offensive line will face all year, and he made both guards look a little foolish. Here, Bennett just wins the hand fighting battle on a zone run and gets right by Tiller.
The 49ers don't pull their guards as much as they did under Greg Roman and Jim Harbaugh. This might be part of the reason why. Tiller takes a bad angle on the pull and Hyde makes something out of nothing.
Tiller fared better in pass protection, but he also faced Michael Bennett fewer times than Devey. I have no clue if this was part of the Seahawks plan, or if it was just coincidence. But against slower, inferior, players Tiller was able to hold his own.
And of course, the week wouldn't be complete without another one-punch wonder from Tiller. He gets at least one of these a week.
Looking at the final grades, both guards played below average - something to be expected when playing the likes of Seattle. But for the third straight week, Tiller outplayed Devey.
Believe it or not, I can see a little of the logic behind the rotation at guard after three weeks. Andrew Tiller is a MUCH better pass protector and short-area run blocker than Jordan Devey. But Devey pulls a little better, and is a little more mobile. The latter is a skill the staff values given their reliance on the zone blocking scheme.
And yet, when you look at the overall picture, Tiller consistently grades out better overall than Devey. Given that the 49ers will likely be playing from behind often, I'd rather have a pass-blocker in there than a marginally better run blocker who's "best" skill (pulling) is not a huge part of the 49ers game plan week-to-week. But instead all we can do is continue to scratch our heads at the coaching decisions coming from the Tomsula-led 49ers.