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The Shanaplan: Should we worry about the “musical chairs” along the offensive line?

One of the more surprising moments of Kyle Shanahan’s first media session this week was when he described the interior of the 49ers’ offensive line as an open competition akin to a game of “musical chairs.” On today’s Shanaplan podcast, Kyle Posey and Akash Anavarathan dove into whether that comment should raise a red flag.

It’s no secret how important the offensive line is to Kyle Shanahan’s offense (not to mention every other team in the league). So it was a little surprising to hear him say, “It’s going to be musical chairs in there for this camp...We think we got a number of choices, and it’ll be fun to watch them kind of all battle it out.” Despite two of the five OL spots being unsettled, however, Akash isn’t too worried about things just yet.

“It makes me a little nervous because there’s such a big question mark at center and right guard - and given who they have at quarterback in such a young player. That being said, they’ve got a lot of young competition there between [Dohnovan] West, [Jason] Poe, obviously [Jake] Brendel, [Daniel] Brunksill, Jaylon Moore is another name.

What I think they’re gonna do is just say ‘Let’s have all these guys compete. Let’s see who are the two best players at that position.’ If you’re Dan Brunskill, you’re thinking, ‘OK, I can either be the starting right guard or the starting center.’ So he’s got, I’d assume, one of those two spots locked down. Now it’s whether someone else can capture the other spot. Can Brendel just be the starting center out of the gate in training camp. Or, are one of the rookies or younger guys going to show up at right guard and move Brunskill over to center is really what it comes down to.

It’s early enough, I think if we still had the shuffling going on going into the regular season I’d be a little bit more concerned, but it’s day one of training camp. It’s still July, so I like that they just have a ton of bodies to throw at the position.”

Kyle Posey also astutely pointed out that all of the offensive linemen will be put through the wringer against the Niners’ front seven, so anyone who can stand out against them will be just fine in the regular season.

Like Robert Saleh always said, iron sharpens iron.

Other topics in today’s show

  • Why the end for Dee Ford is coming soon (1:33)
  • If Javon Kinlaw is DJ Jones from last year, is that enough? (3:56)
  • Should we be worried about the “musical chairs” offensive line? (5:58)
  • Jimmy G. passes his physical - now what? (8:42)
  • Deebo Samuel isn’t practicing, but that might be a good sign (12:54)
  • Why this year might look like 2019 all over again (15:00)
  • One thing each host wants to see this week (20:48)