After Thursday’s game, Kyle Shanahan made it clear that he wanted to clean up some of the issues along the offensive line:
“It’s hard despite the situation or the game or anything like that when you commit that many penalties; we have some of the drops, just some of the sloppy plays, the sacks. Some of the first downs that we committed on third down with some of the penalties, it just wasn’t good enough. And we have to clean that stuff up and make some decisions this week to help it.”
A decision could be not to rely on as much youth up front. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the 49ers are hosting John Miller, who has started double-digit games at guard in each of the past four seasons with the Panthers, Bengals, and Bills.
In ten starts last season for Carolina, Miller was penalized once and allowed five sacks. I like to reference Sports Info Solutions’ “total points earned” stat as it isn’t subjective. Miller earned 19 points last season. That’s the same as former Cowboys right tackle La’el Collins in as many starts. Daniel Brunskill, who started 17 games, earned 31 points.
The former 3rd round pick of the 2015 draft comes with 84 career starts.
Billy Marshall has covered the Panthers for the past few seasons. Here’s his take on Miller:
John Miller primarily plays as a right guard on the offensive line. He isn’t athletic, but he has plenty of functional strength. His positives are his run blocking and upper body power. He packs a decent punch at the point of contact on gap and power runs. While he isn’t an elite pass protector, his strong hands and grip strength give him the ability to sit and anchor at times.
The weaknesses of his game stem from his athleticism and leverage. He has slow feet, which can hinder him in the run and pass game. Miller isn’t going to make any highlight worthy blocks at the second level when he’s climbing or pulling. Despite his strong hands, he does tend to overset and lose leverage as a pass blocker. Overall his pass pro is an area that could stand to improve.
That sounds a lot like Aaron Banks, but with experience.
Another pro for Miller would be that he’s seen the types of looks and games defensive lines run that Spencer Burford or Banks haven’t. It will be telling if we see Miller signed and even more so if he’s in the starting lineup come Week 1.