The Area of Most Concern on the 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers are poised to be a winning team this season, but they will not reach that reality if this one area fails them.
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The San Francisco 49ers are poised to be a winning team this season.

So long as health permits, there should be no issue towards making that a reality. However, the 49ers actually have one area on the team that is of most concern. This area specifically can be the cause of derailment towards being a playoff caliber team over any other area.

The area of most concern on the 49ers is offensive line.

This team will not be a dominating force if the offensive line replicates 2020. Outside of Trent Williams, every player on the offensive line is a toss up as to how they will fair in 2021. Laken Tomlinson has his moments both good and bad. He pretty much is who he is at this point. Alex Mack, who the hope is that he can bring stability at center, is on the downward slope of his career. Then, of course, there is the mystery of right guard with Daniel Brunskill and Aaron Banks. Though I believe Banks is going to be the starter there with Brunskill as a floater.

Last but not least is Mike McGlinchey who was the poster child of scrutiny on the offensive line. The guy is a sweet run blocker, but as a top-10 draft selection, he needs to be sweet as a pass blocker too. That area of his game needs to be sound in 2021. Jimmy Garoppolo needs adequate protection in the pocket or else he starts tap dancing into a bad throw. And if Trey Lance is the starter, the last thing the 49ers want is for their prized player to be battered on every drive.

Three of the five offensive lineman are huge question marks. If these guys cannot find a level of consistency, and ideally raise their game, then the 49ers will struggle in 2021. At that point, it would be better for Lance to be the starter since at least he has the ability to scramble if the offensive line is slippery in pass protection. No other area on the 49ers is as concerning or impacts wins/losses more than the offensive line.

Cornerback, and even wide receiver, are questionable, but the 49ers can definitely work around those positions. What they can't work around is low-level play from the offensive line. To me, I see Banks as an improvement at right guard and actually even envision a bounce back year from McGlinchey. 

Still, the fact remains is that there are more variables than constants in the trenches for the 49ers. The success of 2021 will largely hinge on their ability.