Even months removed from the final game of the 49ers’ 2020 season, it’s still hard to shake the images of Mike McGlinchey getting overpowered by defensive lineman, linebackers, and, yes, even defensive backs. The number nine overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft admitted that he went to a dark place at points last year but says he learned from the experience and will be better for it in 2021. Former Notre Dame offensive lineman Mike Golic Jr. of ESPN sat down for an interview with Niners Nation to talk about McGlinchey’s future and the outlook for the rest of the team’s 2021 offensive line.
What happened with Mike McGlinchey last year?
“I just think it was one of those situations where, like a lot of the season last year for the Niners, it was hampered by injury early on, things got a little bit out of control and untenable sooner in the season than everyone expected, and sometimes those things can snowball.”
Perhaps a big reason why McGlinchey’s problems snowballed last year was the isolation that came from the COVID-19 pandemic and having to move to Arizona for the latter part of the season. Golic said that isolation could affect an offensive lineman more than some other positions on the team.
“That’s the one thing about the offensive line is that you’re used to almost always being together. Doing things together,” Golic said, “I firmly believe whether it’s off the field, whether it’s the way that you watch film together, not being able to do that as much- all those little moments where you can steal time with the guys you’re going to work with pay dividends on the field. It was a year last year that was mentally trying for a lot of us, so I believe Mike when he says that maybe all of those things impact us a little bit more in a year where the rest of our life is so out of balance.”
Why will McGlinchey be better as a pass blocker in 2021?
“When Mike came in [to Notre Dame], he was a guy that had to add a lot of lower body strength there. His foundation was a spot where he was having to compensate for that. Being a taller dude who wasn’t as thick in the lower body yet. He’s really, from his last year at Notre Dame to now, gotten into that man-body.
I saw him this offseason for a little bit - let me tell you, Niners fans - he looks ready. He looks very, very ready. I just think for him, it’s always, like, his physical makeup has been getting to a spot where he’s comfortable with all the lower body strength that he has now and can pair that with the rest of those natural gifts that he’s got to be a cleaner pass protector in a number of those spots.”
Mike was very generous with his time and also took me through what makes Alex Mack so special, how Trent Williams makes life easier for the rest of the offensive line, and yes, even a little Trey Lance talk at the end.
If you’d rather listen to the interview than watch it, you can find the podcast version on the Niners Nation Podcast feed as well.