The San Francisco 49ers offense had some ups and downs in the season opener, but the offensive line stepped up, opening holes for Carlos Hyde, and stopping the Rams pass rush. Marcus Martin got some work when Andrew Tiller left for four plays, but other than three snaps of reserve work in the fourth quarter, the starters handled their business.
There were a couple things related to the reserves that are worth a mention. The first relates to Anthony Davis, and the second relates to Joshua Garnett. Over the weekend, the team had some issues with Anthony Davis, who was reportedly pondering retirement, and then returned after some resolution about his role with the team. He was the team’s backup tackle on Monday, getting three snaps late in the game at right tackle. Joe Staley departed the game late, and Trent Brown moved over to left tackle.
After the game and Monday morning, Chip Kelly said it was his decision to remove Davis from the guard position, and there had been a miscommunication over the weekend. Monday afternoon, Kelly met with the media and further clarified Davis’s role with the team. He said that Davis works with the guards, but for the active 46-man roster, he is a guard/tackle option. We saw Martin come in at right guard when Tiller got hurt. Kelly mentioned that had Zane Beadles subsequently gotten hurt, Davis would have come in at guard.
That brought up a topic of discussion that reflects on the decision to deactivate Joshua Garnett. Kelly said the 49ers will have seven offensive linemen active each week, which means only two full-time linemen as backups. They want to have one that can play center and guard, and another that can play guard and tackle. For Monday, Martin was the former, and Davis was the latter. Kelly said the difference between Garnett active and inactive was his inability to play center. He has focused on guard, and it would seem his best chance of cracking the game-day 46-man roster is if Zane Beadles struggles, or if there is an injury that costs a player a subsequent game.