The San Francisco 49ers’ offensive line’s interior is a question mark heading into the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals. Starting center Weston Richburg will be out for at least six weeks, while the right guard position has been a revolving door at training cap with presumptive starter Daniel Brunskill filling in due to backup Ben Garland’s ankle injury.
The good news is that the offensive line’s pillars should be among the best in the league in 2020. Left tackle Trent Williams is a perennial All-Pro who will protect quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s blindside. While 2018 first-round pick Mike McGlinchey will lock down the right flank of the line.
McGlinchey is coming into his own entering his third season. The 25-year-old missed four games with a knee injury last year, but came back strong, helping the Niners make a run to the Super Bowl. McGlinchey says he put in the work over the summer to be even better in 2020.
“I feel really good out of out of the training camp that I’ve had. feel really prepared, feel the best shape that I’ve been in as confident as I’ve ever been, and excited to get it going, McGlinchey said. “You don’t want want to do it any other way than being the best in Week one.”
Head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense is complicated. The nuances, deception, and play designs aren’t easy to learn, especially for a rookie. McGlinchey believes he turned the corner in his second year and was playing the best football of his life.
“It is my third year in this offense, and it’s an opportunity to capitalize on the things that I was doing at the end of last year,” McGlinchey said. “The confidence that I had in my studies in the offseason, the training that I had in the offseason with our strength and conditioning staff, and the way that I’ve played here in the last month, it’s just that it’s kind of all starting to come together.”
Williams — who is one of the best offensive tackles in the history of the NFL — was impressed with the growth he saw in McGlinchey’s game early on in training camp. He sees how much potential the Notre Dame product has and believes McGlinchey will take his game to another level in 2020.
“I think they [the coaching staff] would say that Mike has probably been one of the most improved players on his team,” Williams said. “For me, watching him last year, I thought that he made a ton of strides, and I think one of our first conversations when I got here ... I told him that there’s nothing stopping him from being the best right tackle in the league. I think that’s what he’s really chasing; he’s chasing greatness, he’s never settled, he’s never satisfied.”
McGlinchey is bitter about how the season ended. He knows the 49ers blew the Super Bowl and used the heartbreaking defeat to fuel him during the offseason. The right tackle is eager for the Niners to finish the job this season.
“I feel really good out of out of the training camp that I’ve had, McGlinchey said. “I feel really prepared, feel the best shape that I’ve been in, as confident as I’ve ever been, and excited to get it going.”
Which part of McGlinchey’s game do you think he needs to improve on most for him to become one of the best right tackles in the NFL?