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Kyle Shanahan: Trent Brown is tough to get around, but needs consistency

You can’t teach his combination of height, weight, length, and maneuverability. Imagine if he could get consistent?

The San Francisco 49ers signed offensive tackle Garry Gilliam this offseason to compete with Trent Brown for the right tackle role. Through four days of practice, Brown has held onto the starting job, but has had his ups and downs. He had some struggles on Sunday, but by all accounts acquitted himself well on Monday. Additionally, Brown said he is unbeaten in one-on-one drills with defensive linemen.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke on Monday about Brown’s ups and downs. He talked about the raw physical tools Brown possesses, but the need to bring more consistency play in and play out.

“[He needs to ] Just to be more detailed and the same every play. If Trent is on with his concentration and his technique, if he comes off the ball at the right time, if he’s not late off it, he is a big man and tough to get around. I think you can ask any defensive lineman out there, he is very hard to beat in pass protection because of his size and the length of his arms, and then he can move his feet. But, if you ever just hesitate on a play, if you ever miss a snap count just a hair, we’ve got some D-Linemen that will come off the ball and expose him if he’s not on his game. When Trent is on his game though, it’s a long day for those D-Linemen and they’ve had some of those days in our four practices or three practices.

“Yesterday, you’re right, I noticed the same thing, but it’s a long camp. That’s what’s the hard thing about camp, everyone wants to come out and evaluate practice and I always kind of look at practices, that’s where you get better. If some of these guys come out and they try not to throw interceptions, they try not to do this and they play conservative, you’re just trying to survive and now you’re not getting any better. I like guys to come out, try techniques, try to improve and not really worry about perception, judging them day to day. It’s a long process. You’re right, he didn’t have a great day yesterday, but I think he did a lot better today. I’ll see more when I watch the tape, but it’s something as coaches, it’s a long camp. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I hope he’s at his best Week 1.”

Brown has dealt with weight issues throughout his football career, and John Lynch mentioned that he came into the offseason workout program “a little heavy.” However, Brown came into training camp below his target weight.

“He’s done a great job, as much as anyone on our team in terms of losing the right type of weight and adding the right type of weight. Losing fat, adding muscle. Trent is right where we want him and he came into the start of camp exactly where we asked him to be. I know he’s worked very hard to do that and we’re very proud of him for doing that. The thing is, it doesn’t end right there though. It’s every day. And it’s going to be every day forever for him. He’s a guy that can put on weight fast. But, when he’s on it and he’s at his right weight, he’s tough to deal with.”

Brown met with the media on Monday after practice, and said he was under his target weight. When they asked what the target weight was, he said it was 358 pounds. He wouldn’t say what his weight was specifically, laughing and saying “let’s go with that,” when someone guessed 352.

Brown mentioned keeping consistent with his diet (no carbs) and working hard to keep his weight more consistent. The highlight might have been his response when asked about what he needs to do to take his game to the next level. He mentioned coming in at the right weight and being healthy, and then said, “I’m light.” I realize weight is all relative, but when you’re feeling light at just under 358 pounds, that’s certainly something.

Brown will need to feel a little lighter to maneuver around in the 49ers zone-blocking scheme. He’s received a lot of praise over the last year, but that has always come with mentions of his need for consistency, both in technique and in his weight. His combination of size, length, and speed (relative to his size) cannot be taught. If he can show some semblance of consistency, the 49ers will have a rock (a very maneuverable one!) at right tackle.