O-line faces tests against Seahawks and their fans

The 49ers’ offensive line will face a nice challenge Sunday against the Seahawks, who rank 17th in the league in sacks per pass play. Since the beginning of the 2002 season, the Seahawks leads the NFL in home sacks.


Also, the Seahawks’ fans are known for being among the loudest in the league. From the beginning of 2005, there have been a league-leading 91 false start penalties called on the opposition in 37 games at Qwest Field.


Today, we check in with 49ers right guard Chilo Rachal, whose play has improved since early in the season:


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Coach Mike Singletary was asked to describe the difference between the Chilo Rachal of September and the Chilo Rachal of now. Here’s what Singletary said:


“Maturity, experience, working together, relationship. I mean it’s huge when you talk to that guy and you trust that guy. It’s one thing to say, ‘This guy does that and then you and I have to switch off,’ and when that call is made you have to make sure that you have each other’s back and I think that’s a work in progress.


“That’s why the offensive line anywhere in the league, if they are a good offensive line, chances are they are very close. When you see one, you are going to see all of them and I think our guys are just continuing to gel, continuing to spend time together and watch film together and do all of those things. Now, they also have to interact with the quarterback as well because they can do a great job here, but if that quarterback is stepping right where he’s not supposed to, then they can do a great job, but they look awful because the quarterback just jumped right in the way.


“So, it’s vitally important that all of those pieces come together when you have an offensive line and a quarterback that trust each other and that’s really the biggest difference, time.”


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Here are the stats for the 49ers’ offensive linemen, according to STATS, Inc. (my personal stats were lost in the Great Computer Theft of 2009):


Eric Heitmann: 0 false starts, 1 holding; ½ sacks allowed for 3.5 yds

Tony Wragge: 0 false starts, 0 holding; 1 sack allowed for 9 yds

Barry Sims: 1 false start, 0 holding; 1.5 sacks allowed for 1 yard

Joe Staley: 0 false starts; 0 holding; 2 sacks allowed for 13 yds

Tony Pashos: 0 false starts, 1 holding; 2.5 sacks allowed for 16 yds

David Baas: 0 false starts, 1 holding; 3.5 sacks allowed for 23 yds

Chilo Rachal: 1 false start, 0 holding; 4 sacks allowed for 23 yds

Adam Snyder: 1 false start, 0 holding; 7.5 sacks allowed for 42.5 yds


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Offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye is not keen on the term “spread offense.” What the 49ers have used is simply known as “gun” or shotgun. He said the 49ers’ version of this offense is not the same fauna as the spread used in college in which the quarterback is a built-in factor in the run game (see Tebow, Tim, great college player.).


–Raye on the development of young receivers Michael Crabtree and Josh Morgan: “It’s not spit, shine and polish by any stretch of the imagination.”


But he added that the progress has been good, and Morgan played his best game of the season last week. Morgan caught a few passes, of course, and he’s a “strong player without the ball.”


–I asked Raye about how Frank Gore fits with the 49ers’ shotgun offense. Raye pointed out that Gore was the target of 10 passes in last week’s game – more than any other 49ers’ player.


“(Gore) can be very successful, in my opinion, in the offense being referred to as the spread because it won’t change what he does,” Raye said. “The only thing that changes is he’s not running into the line with a lead-blocking fullback in front of him.”


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Niners running backs coach Tom Rathman is rumored as a candidate for the San Jose State head-coaching job, according to the San Jose Mercury News. A source close to Rathman said he does not appear interested, and his intent is to remain as a coach in the professional ranks.


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