The San Francisco 49ers offense is the darling of Pro Football Focus for Week 3 of the preseason. Three members of the offensive line along with a wide receiver made the PFF Team of the Week for Week 3.
Yes, you read that right, three members of the offensive line. One of which is a backup.
Right tackle Mike McGlinchey made the list. PFF cited McGlinchey as having a 100.0 pass-blocking efficiency. PFF also pointed out that McGlinchey is yet to surrender a hit sack or hurry the entire preseason. Why am I highlighting this? Because McGlinchey’s biggest criticism has been his pass blocking. As a run-blocker, he’s an absolute mauler, but for pass-blocking he left something to be desired in 2018. The fact he was able to hold up with 100.0, even if it’s against a defensive line some of you call mediocre (the Chiefs defensive line isn’t that bad, actually) is impressive.
Moving on, we also had right guard Mike Person back in action. PFF put Person on the team due to his superb run blocking against the Chiefs. Person is much like McGlinchey on the pass blocking, side having not surrendered a sack, hit, or hurry in his 13 snaps.
And then the center. Ben Garland. Yes, you read that right, the guy who isn’t Weston Richburg. Garland made the team at center. 100.0 pass-blocking efficiency, no sacks, hits or hurries. Garland is very crucial. The 49ers signed him in the offseason due to his experience with Kyle Shanahan’s offense in Atlanta. He’s showing that he can hold down both center and guard which makes him excellent depth behind Richburg and person. Garland is 31, so he’s not going to be the savior of the position, and it is preseason. That said, this should at least inspire confidence that he can hold down the fort for a game or two if someone else is injured.
We’re not done with this team yet. We also have Richie James making the list at wide receiver with his 66 yards in four catches and 8.25 yards per route run. There’s hints/speculation that James will make the team for his special teams’ ability and despite a few strange drops in Week 1, James has been solid as training camp has gone on. He’s been pegged as the team’s kickoff returner as early as 2018 after he did this (really, that never gets old) and that dime from Jimmy Garoppolo Saturday shows he can take the ball and run with it.
There have been concerns on how this offensive line could hold up, and there’s still a lot of question marks, but this is very encouraging. We still need to see how the offense does as a whole in regular season play, but what we saw Saturday was very inspiring. Now let’s see how this group does with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.