The San Francisco 49ers offensive line has seemed to show some improvement from last season, but Pro Football Focus is not exactly enthused by the performances. PFF ranked all 32 offensive lines through four weeks, and they have the 49ers ranked No. 28. They ranked them No. 32 heading into the season, so this is improvement!
Their review of the line mentions pass protection, but focuses on the run game struggles.
LT Joe Staley remains the one bright spot on a line that was once the best in the league back in 2012. Even Staley has been less impressive this season, though, allowing no sacks but nine total pressures, and seeing a dip in his overall performance. He is by far the class of the 49ers’ unit, though, that features various shades of poor play. Trenton Brown has been perhaps the worst performer, with awful run blocking explaining to large degree why the team has averaged just 2.9 yards per carry on runs off right tackle.
The 49ers as a whole are averaging 3.6 yards per carry, which is tied for No. 24 in the NFL. There has been general agreement about the run blocking struggles. Football Outsiders ranks the 49ers No. 31 in adjusted line yards. The 49ers rank No. 12 in FO’s power success but at or near the bottom in the other rushing metrics.
At the same time, FO ranks the 49ers No. 2 in adjusted sack rate. This is not a perfect stat because it only factors in sacks and intentional grounding penalties. It does not assess when a quarterback is hurried. PFF offers their grades, which come via visual assessment of performance. Neither of these systems is perfect, but they do each offer at least some measure of context to the debate.