SANTA CLARA — 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan finds the consistency of the offensive line a positive in the team’s challenging 2-9 season. Unfortunately, the consistency has been lacking in several other position groups.
In Pete Carroll’s conference call with local Bay Area media, he referenced 49ers Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh’s theory that it takes five years for players to get the reservoir of knowledge they need within a particular system.
When Shanahan was asked if he was in agreement with that statement, he confirmed that he believes consistency is key to a team’s success. He also pointed out that one position group that has been able to play with consistency this season for the 49ers -- is the offensive line.
“It’s extremely important,” Shanahan said. “You know, when you run a system, it’s about 11 guys moving together and that's the thing that I’ve been really excited about this year.
“I know there hasn’t been a lot of success and things like that, but the one place I can say we’ve gotten a lot of continuity this year is our O-Line.”
Center Weston Richburg missed the Week 8 match up in Arizona, but outside of that one game, the offensive line has been the same. Joe Staley, Laken Tomlinson, Mike Person, Mike McGlinchey and Richburg have all appeared together in the other 10 games.
Shanahan points towards this consistency as one of the reasons running back Matt Breida has been successful. Breida has had three 100-yard games and is on pace for a 1,000-yard season.
“I think that’s why we’ve run the ball so well,” Shanahan said, "and I think that’ll be huge for us going into next year.”
Unfortunately for the 49ers, several other position groups have not shown the same consistency.
Injuries have decimated the wide receivers, safeties and -- of course -- the quarterbacks.
Shanahan noted that there have not been two games in a row where the 49ers have had the same wide receiver group active. They will be without Marquise Goodwin in Seattle. Pierre Garçon could be inactive as well, battling a knee injury that has kept him out three out of the past four games.
“I wish we had more continuity at our receivers,” Shanahan said. “We’ll see how this week goes with Pierre and Marquise not being here. And if that’s the case, it’ll be the first time this year that we’ve had the same receivers start and play the same positions two weeks in a row. So, the continuity at receiver has been tough.”
Having three different starting quarterbacks has probably not helped develop the chemistry with the receiving group, either.
Goodwin leads the group with 339 receiving yards in his eight games, 67 of which were from one play. Garçon is not too far behind with 286 yards, also in eight games played.
The 49ers will need a well-balanced game if they want to have a chance against their division rival Seahawks. When Nick Mullens is on the field, it starts with the offensive line.