One of the Niners’ weaknesses has been the play of the offensive line, which has mostly been spared from the rash of injuries every other position group has suffered over the first three games.
San Francisco takes on a Philadelphia Eagles team that is third in the NFL in sacks per game, so if the 49ers want to make it three wins in a row, they’ll need a better performance from the big boys upfront.
Here are three players who need to step up for the Niners this week:
Guard Daniel Brunskill
Brunskill played well last year while appearing at multiple different positions along the offensive line, but hasn’t been able to carry that over to 2020. The former AAF product got a 56.7 grade from Pro Football Focus last week against the Giants and graded as the 50th best guard in the NFL going into Week 4. He had four missed blocks against the G-Men and struggled with run blocking as well.
Guard Laken Tomlinson
Tomlinson was the worst graded offensive player against the Giants at 45.3 (43.5 in run blocking). Football Outsiders ranks the offensive line 31st in adjusted line yards, and the middle of the unit has been particularly bad when rushing up the gut, ranking No. 30 at 3.48 yards. Tomlinson missed four blocks against the Giants and needs to be better going forward if the Niners want to replicate their success from last season.
Linebacker Kwon Alexander
Alexander continues to struggle early this season. PFF graded him at 59.4 overall, including 42.5 for his run defense. With Dre Greenlaw’s status unknown for this Sunday, the Niners need Alexander to step up. He played 87% of the snaps against New York last week and finished with just two tackles. After being strong in coverage in 2019, Alexander has seen a drop off early this season, with quarterbacks combining for a 101.6 rating when targeting him in coverage.
Which players do you think need to step up for the 49ers against the Eagles this week?