The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners

The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners
A review and commentary on the history & lastest events surrounding the 17 time NFC Western Division & 5 -Time World Champion San Francisco 49ers. From 1946 and the All America Football Conference to 2009 and the road to a 6th Super Bowl title - For true fans of the scarlet and gold! Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Big Five...O-Line is Everything

Jonas Jennings, Larry Allen, Eric Heitmann, Justin Smiley, Kwame Harris, Adam Snyder and Tony Wragge.

The front five, which because of injuries at times included Snyder and Wragge, were key to Frank Gore finishing third in the NFL in rushing with a franchise-record 1,695 yards. And the generally consistent play of the big guys helped Alex Smith gain confidence as the season progressed and upgrade his play from his rookie campaign; Smith's completion percentage went from 50.9 to 58.1, his interception percentage decreased from 6.7 to 3.6, and his passer rating improved from 40.8 to 74.8.

In order for Gore to repeat his numbers, which included an average of 5.4 yards per carry, and for Smith to take the next step into the top half of league quarterbacks (he ranked 22nd in passer rating last season), the 49ers need to maintain their quality quintet up front. The question is: Will they do it? The contracts of Smiley and Harris are up after the 2007 season, and the 49ers haven't seemed eager to re-sign either one. In fact, they drafted Central Michigan tackle Joe Staley (right),ostensibly to replace Harris, and they have offered Smiley in trade. Four teams - Baltimore, Chicago, Denver and Seattle - reportedly were interested leading up to the draft, but none would bite for the second-round pick the 49ers wanted.

As for the rest of the line, the 49ers seem set at left tackle with Jonas Jennings and at center with Eric Heitmann, (right, Number 66),who is coming off a broken leg suffered last December. Left guard Larry Allen probably doesn't have much left; the 35-year-old missed five games last season with a knee injury and will probably yield to Snyder or Wragge, who both filled in for him last season. With Smiley, Harris and Allen all expected to leave in free agency after 2007, the 2008 line figures to look a lot different than the 2006 version. But the fact that the 49ers have played seven guys the past two years and probably will work Staley in this season means the transition shouldn't be that much of a problem.

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