Ronald Blair

Watch 49ers' Ronald Blair show off big strides made in torn ACL rehab

Watch 49ers' Ronald Blair show off big strides made in torn ACL rehab

It's a shame that the best play 49ers defensive lineman Ronald Blair made last season occurred on the final down he participated in.

Blair didn't just run down Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the open field in Week 10; he closed so quickly, he took the elusive QB down behind the line of scrimmage for a sack.

That display of freakish athleticism cost Blair the rest of the season, as he tore his ACL in chasing Wilson down. Had he remained healthy, he was on pace for a career year heading into unrestricted free agency.

Blair's injury, combined with the league restrictions on medical evaluations due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, ultimately watered down his market. In March, he then signed a one-year contract to return for a fifth season with San Francisco.

Both defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and defensive line coach Kris Kocurek are big fans of Blair, and it's easy to understand why. He offers tremendous versatility and has been an important part of the 49ers' rotation on the defensive front. Shortly before putting pen to paper on his new contract, he posted an Instagram video of the progress he had made in his rehab. On Saturday, another video was posted, and it would appear he has made big strides in the three months since.

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It sure looks like Blair is gaining confidence in that surgically-repaired knee, judging by the focus on stops-and-starts and lateral movement. Frankly, some of those drills look awfully similar to the play on which he sustained the injury.

With DeForest Buckner now a member of the Indianapolis Colts, the 49ers likely won't be able to replace his production with any one single player -- at least not right away -- but rather, through the combined efforts of multiple linemen. San Francisco is counting on Blair to be a part of that group, and despite coming off a major injury, it looks like he is on pace to do so.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Retired Joe Staley is '49er football top to bottom,' Ronald Blair says

Retired Joe Staley is '49er football top to bottom,' Ronald Blair says

After 13 NFL seasons -- all with the 49ers -- six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley announced his retirement last week.

Few players were more synonymous with the organization than Staley in recent years, as the left tackle lasted through a flurry of coaching and management turnover. His impact on his teammates also won’t be forgotten.

“Joe Staley, he’s been there since I got there,” 49ers defensive lineman Ronald Blair told 95.7 The Game. “He’s somebody when you first get in the league, you just need to sit down and take out your pad and pencil and just see what he does.

“He just does everything the right way, he’s pretty much 49er football top to bottom.”

[RELATED: Joe Staley lists Nick Bosa, Aldon Smith, Justin Smith hardest to block]

Staley played his rookie season at right tackle before holding down the left side for a dozen seasons, starting all 181 of his NFL appearances.

Although Blair and Staley likely had plenty of practice battles over the years, it’s clear that no one in the 49ers’ locker room has anything but the utmost respect for Staley, who said he’s open to potentially trying his hand at coaching now that his playing days are over.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

49ers draft pick Javon Kinlaw plays like 'beast,' Ronald Blair says

49ers draft pick Javon Kinlaw plays like 'beast,' Ronald Blair says

NFL pundits were surprised by the 49ers’ selection of Javon Kinlaw after trading back one spot in the 2020 NFL Draft, but by the end, general manager John Lynch was receiving plenty of praise for the pick.

Count Kinlaw’s future teammate and fellow defensive lineman Ronald Blair among those excited about the South Carolina product’s potential.

“Great pick, great pick,” Blair told 95.7 The Game on Thursday. “He’s a beast, he came through a lot of stuff, just watching his tape he just jumps off tape.

“He runs to the ball, he’s a physical specimen.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Kinlaw’s highlights become even more impressive when realizing that most of his tape comes against SEC opponents with future NFL players all over the field.

[RELATED: 49ers' schedule to be released next week]

Blair had 21 tackles and three sacks before tearing his ACL in a Week 9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football.

The Appalachian State alum re-signed with the 49ers in late March, and with Kinlaw joining the fold, expect another dominant season from one of the NFL’s best position groups.