In the preseason finale, one of the players who stood out on the defensive line was Ronald Blair III. He did enough to make it clear to the 49ers staff that he deserved a spot on the 53. Blair is in his third season with the team, but nothing is given with the depth they have on the defensive line, his spot was earned.
Blair got to play a fair amount to reps facing the Chargers which he said helped him get into a rhythm. He ended the day playing 23 snaps (44 percent of defensive plays) as well as a few special teams reps. Blair was productive throughout his time on the field, recording two solo tackles, three combined, one tackle for a loss, one quarterback hit, and one sack for a loss of a yard.
While Blair was satisfied with his performance, he says there are things he still wants to improve on, especially the smaller details like his footwork that will help him excel even more. He attributes his rise in production his film study as well as the teachings of pass rush specialist Chris Kiffin.
Blair also commented about the communication amongst the defensive line being exceptional which helped them be successful on the field. This, of course, could be a challenge with the varying personnel that was seen in the preseason finale. Blair remarked that because of the unique combination, it was fun and “electric” and actually forced them to communicate well with each other. He also remarked that everyone is more comfortable in their second season in the scheme whereas last season players were slightly more reluctant in making calls.
With all of the depth on the defensive line, Blair will have to keep proving himself to get playing time but he feels like he is definitely headed in the right direction.