The San Francisco 49ers suffered their second preseason loss on Saturday, and we were once again left with questions about the offensive line. The left side will be fine with Joe Staley and Alex Boone, but the right side is a big ol' question with only one preseason game remaining.
Jim Tomsula has said the team will try some new offensive line combinations, and we saw that on Saturday. Marcus Martin was moved from right guard to center, Ian Silberman was moved in at right guard, and Joe Looney was demoted to the second team. The changes did not help, as Silberman struggled out of the gate. Erik Pears did not help matters, as he and Silberman combined to provide a veritable turnstile on the right side.
The 49ers eventually replaced Silberman with Jordan Devey. Silberman would make his return, but all in all it was a pretty dismal night for the right side of the line. The team eventually went to the second string line, and it included LT Patrick Miller, LG Brandon Thomas, C Joe Looney, RG Andrew Tiller, and RT Trent Brown.
After the game, Tomsula was asked about the line. He acknowledged some issues during the game, and then had some interesting comments. He said he thought things were becoming a bit more clear, and the team would get it figured out in the next couple days. He was asked a follow-up on the state of the line, and said he did not want to coach through the papers. He said he wants to talk to the respective players first, and then talk to the media about it.
Could this mean some changes are in store for the line? Or is it just a formality, but he still just wants to go through the process of talking to the players first? One interesting tweet I noticed suggested the 49ers could mix it up on the line over the next two weeks because practice will now be closed to the media. Maybe the team shakes it up and lets a new-look line work together until the opening game. I am not expecting that, but I suppose anything could be possible as the 49ers try and figure something out with a problematic offensive line.
The most notable aspect of the line remains the center/right guard combination. I don't know if they are unhappy with Looney, or just wanted to give Silberman a chance or what. I'd lean toward a problem with Looney's work because I don't see how you make a change in the third preseason game, just for kicks. It's a bizarre situation to say the least.