Coach Kyle Shanahan anticipates right tackle Mike McGlinchey have a strong season in 2021.
In fact, the 49ers are so confident, they have already made a hefty financial commitment to the right tackle in 2022, when McGlinchey is scheduled to receive a fully guaranteed salary of $10.88 million on the fifth-year option.
McGlinchey is coming off a season in which he rated as one of Pro Football Focus’ top offensive tackles in the NFL as a run-blocker. His overall grade was good, though he struggled with a career-low grade in pass protection.
McGlinchey is listed at 6-foot-8, 310 pounds. The questions arose late last season whether McGlinchey would be better served if he were, well, better served at the dining table.
“Sometimes losing weight helps; sometimes it hurts,” Shanahan said. “I think he put a little bit more (weight) on (this offseason). But I don't think that was the big thing. It was just being as strongest and most in shape, ready to go.”
McGlinchey, 29, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 draft, started all 16 games for the 49ers in 2020. In three NFL seasons, he has started all 47 regular-season and playoff games in which he has appeared. He missed four games in 2019 with a knee injury.
The 49ers were pleased with how he played in his second season. When he came back from his injury, he played a key role as the 49ers advanced to the Super Bowl.
The complexion of the games changed from 2019 to 2020. The 49ers played with a lead for much of their Super Bowl season. They were able to stick with their run game and keep pass-rushers from regularly zeroing in on the quarterback.
A year ago, the 49ers fell to 6-10 and regularly found themselves in catch-up mode and relying on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard to lead them from behind.
Shanahan also points to the fact that the NFL’s offseason program went virtual -- and was virtually eliminated -- during the spring and summer of 2020. That prevented McGlinchey from settling into a typical offseason routine.
“I think Mike, like everybody, didn't get quite the offseason that he wanted,” Shanahan said. “Not because he's not a hard worker or anything like that, just going through COVID and stuff like that. And so you see, where your weight's at, how that affected you going through that year.”
Upon the completion of last season, McGlinchey said he could have done a better job of managing the ups and downs of the game. He said he sometimes fell into a trap of overthinking what he is doing on the football field.
When that is the case, one bad play leads to another, leads to another.
“No matter what happens, and no matter the mistakes that I’ve made, and the plays that I’ve given up, I can’t ever let it again affect the next week,” McGlinchey said. “I can’t ever let it again affect the next game. I can’t ever let it again affect the next play.”
Shanahan said it is understandable that a great college player who earns the honor of being a top NFL draft pick is challenged mentally as he deals with successes and failures at the next level.
“It's how you come back from it,” Shanahan said. “And I think Mike really attacked everything. And sometimes you’ve got to tell Mike to slow down a little bit, because it means the world to him.
“Just talking to him, being around him today and yesterday, you can tell he's in a great space and a great place. And I think he's ready to go. And I'm excited to see him out there this year.”