The 49ers had the bye week to make certain roster decisions. The focus remains on the quarterback, but we’ve seen examples in each game where whoever was under center didn’t help his quarterback out.
One of those positions is right guard. Daniel Brunskill has been inconsistent. There are stretches throughout the game where he goes unnoticed, which is a good thing for the former AAF guard. But then, there are those three or four plays where Brunskill gets beaten thoroughly, and the 49ers drive stalls.
Per Sports Info Solutions, Brunskill’s blown block rate of 3.2 is up from 2.8 a season ago. Brunskill hasn’t allowed a sack, but he has six blown blocks and a holding call this season. In addition, there are other plays where Brunskill was driven back into the pocket, forcing the quarterback off his spot.
Could Brunskill’s inconsistencies open the door for second-round pick Aaron Banks to see his first action in the NFL? Kyle Shanahan said earlier in October that Banks needed scout team reps to get into playing shape and get used to how the Niners ask their guards to move.
Center Alex Mack joined KNBR’s Murph & Mac show Tuesday to discuss what Banks has to do to play:
“Just keep putting the work in. You know, he’s a good dude. He works hard. He just has a couple of more things to learn and put the work in. And it’s a credit to the other guards that it’s not easy to break the starting lineup. We have a lot of depth here.
Aaron is physically talented. He just needs to keep working on the technique and keep learning, and we may need him this next game. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We just have a lot of good depth, and that’s kind of where the cookie crumbles.”
Mack hints at Banks potentially playing Sunday as the rookie has been inactive all season.
I’m not sure if the first game you want to work in your rookie right guard is against No. 99 on the Colts. Determining whether to play physical talent versus technique seems to be the theme for this 49ers rookie class.
Mack went on to answer if there’s a legitimate concern at the lack of playing time for Banks:
“No. This is one of the good things about coming here, is that we have a lot of talent, and you can have a lot of people to learn from. And when his time is called, he needs to be ready. So, he’s just doing what it takes to be ready when the next man up happens.”
How critical is it for Banks’ development to receive real-time reps? You don’t want to play him at the team's expense, which is why the 49ers have been patient to this point. Based on how Mack is talking about Banks, we should be seeing him sooner than later.