The 49ers the past two seasons have been both fortunate and lucky across their offensive line.
Fortunate in that the unit has been one of the best in the NFL. Lucky in that the fivesome has been relatively free of serious injuries.
Yet a minor injury to left tackle Joe Staley that has kept him out of team workouts this week (following surgery) points out again the importance depth will play in the line’s effectiveness in 2013.
The starters already are locks: Staley and Anthony Davis at the tackles, Mike Iupati and Alex Boone at guards and Jonathan Goodwin the center. But the signing of Adam Snyder this offseason may prove to be a valuable under-the-radar move.
The former 49ers starting right guard – who played last season with the Arizona Cardinals – was re-signed this offseason and should be a valuable multipurpose piece for the Niners.
In offseason team activities (OTAs) now under way, Snyder is getting playing time all across the line.
“He’s a guard that can play tackle,” head coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters Tuesday. “He can play center. But right now Joe Staley’s not practicing. He had a minor procedure done. So, Adam’s getting some work at tackle, which he’s got the ability to go guard, tackle, center. And we’ll make sure that he’s getting reps at all those.”
With starting right guard Boone also a former tackle, the Niners have a pair of big, physical linemen who can move around as necessary, should either a starting guard or tackle go down with a serious injury. Leonard Davis, who was a versatile lineman last season for the 49ers, has not re-signed with the team.
In addition to Snyder, young linemen Daniel Kilgore and Joe Looney also will be in the backup mix at guard and center, with one of them possibly emerging to take Goodwin’s center spot next year if the 49ers decide not to re-sign him. Seventh-round draft pick Carter Bykowski of Iowa State and undrafted free agent Luke Marquardt of Azusa Pacific are candidates to win backup tackle jobs.
For Snyder, returning to San Francisco is a great situation. He is familiar with the coaching staff and playbook and has many friends on the team from his seven seasons with the 49ers.
“It’s pretty surreal for me,” Snyder told 49ers.com earlier this month after re-signing. “To be in one place for seven years, leave and then come back is awesome. To be able to have an opportunity to finish what I started when I came here is a great feeling. What we have going on here is hard to beat. You can tell that by the new stadium and the way last season went. There’s good things happening here so I am excited to be back.”
Last season in Arizona, Snyder started 14 games and played both guard and center. Snyder, 31, said he’ll be a “swing guy,” ready to step in at any of the five positions when needed.
Snyder was released by the Cardinals just one year after signing a five-year, $17.5 million deal. But the coaching staff wasn’t satisfied with his performance and the team decided to go another direction. Now, Snyder is back, hoping to contribute any way he can with the 49ers.
“It’s the perfect situation for me,” he told 49ers.com.