Shanahan not worried about 49ers' O-line after rough outing


The 49ers' offensive line didn't help quarterback Nick Mullens in the worst start of his NFL career Sunday.

Mullens wasn't protected well in the 49ers' 25-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at Levi's Stadium, which didn't allow the offense to get into a rhythm. Coach Kyle Shanahan still is not worried about his offensive line, chalking it up to a substandard game against a formidable defensive front.

One of the 49ers' most impressive offseason moves was the trade for star left tackle Trent Williams. Up until Week 4, the Pro Bowl tackle had played at the elite level that is expected of him.

But Williams struggled against the Eagles, giving up two sacks and two pressures in what easily was his worst game as a 49er.

“Yeah, he didn't have his best night,” Shanahan said. “Trent was a little bit off, along with everyone else out there, and that's the result when that happens. Trent’s as good and as talented of a guy as I've been around. He had a rough night. I'm not worried about that going forward.”

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Shanahan relies on the athleticism and accuracy of his offensive linemen to effectively execute his run blocking schemes. It was what powered the team through the playoffs last season. It wasn't just Williams who had a challenging outing, though. Daniel Brunskill allowed two sacks and four pressures while Mike McGlinchey and Laken Tomlinson allowed three pressures each.


In Sunday’s loss, Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson were held to 60 yards rushing combined. The remaining 56 yards on the ground were gained by George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel on three plays.

Shanahan gave a lot of credit to Eagles’ defensive linemen Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox for limiting the production of the team’s run game.

“I knew it would be [challenging] going into the game,” Shanahan said. “You’ve just got to turn on the tape and watch how their D-Line plays. If you can't stay balanced and be in good situations, that D-Line is going to tee off.

“I think we had a number of plays, a number of runs that we did miss. So, when you do that and you're off just a little bit, it's not the safest way to play because when you're off, they can make you look bad.”

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Shanahan rightfully was frustrated after the loss but also explained that when an offensive lineman makes a mistake it’s amplified by what happens as a result.

A wide receiver can run the wrong route and indirectly be a factor in a quarterback sack, but an offensive lineman being unable to sustain a block is much easier to identify.

“It's going to happen at times, but Trent’s in here working his butt off, doing the right things,” Shanahan said. “He’ll get it corrected and we'll help him do it around him too.”