The San Francisco 49ers offensive line is pretty terrible as a whole, or at least it has been for much of the season. To be fair, serious injuries have occurred throughout the lineup, at just about every position. Expecting high level play with guys like Zane Beadles starting isn’t exactly smart.
But the 49ers still have some bright spots, namely left tackle Joe Staley and right tackle Trent Brown. On Tuesday, 49ers general manager John Lynch spoke about Saley and Brown, calling the pair “cornerstones” of the franchise.
“We love Joe staley and love the way he plays we think he's a really good scheme fit for the offense we play,” Lynch said. “Joe can play in any offense but we feel like it's an ideal fit.”
Staley started off the season well, had a bad game or two but ultimately recovered before he went down with an injury. He suffered an orbital fracture around his right eye, one of the most unpleasant injuries you can possibly have.
He was originally expected to be inactive through the bye week, but he came back fairly quickly. Lynch was impressed with that, too.
“I think as you're around these guys we're constantly evaluating but you see a guy come back from breaking his face and its an 0-9 team and being extremely resolute in his want to get back in there, pressing the doctors 'When can I be back?' A lot of guys could just say 'I'm going to take the rest of this year to kinda..' and that's not where he's at and he's been, guys like that, people look to,” Lynch said. “We have a young team and so when a guy like that steps up like that, then plays the way he did and then you see the excitement and how excited he is, I think that's a big deal with us.”
Lynch was then asked if he still sees Staley as the left tackle and Brown as the right tackle going forward, and he confirmed as much.
“Absolutely,” Lynch said. “We like that. We like that a lot. We feel like there's a lot of places where we need to improve and you're always trying to improve but those guys are cornerstones here for the next few years.”
I see no reason to consider switching Brown to left tackle. He’s such a good fit on the right side, there’s no guarantee he will be a high-quality left tackle in the NFL. If and when Staley calls it a career and Brown is still around, then it would be worth testing. But for now, they both work as anchors on either side.