Several players on the 49ers roster need to bounce back and have an impactful year for San Francisco to have a successful season. Names such as Javon Kinlaw, Trey Sermon, Tarvarius Moore, and Jeff Wilson Jr are a few that come to mind right away. However, another player’s return from injury will have a more significant impact.
This offseason, San Francisco lost two starters along the offensive line in left guard Laken Tomlinson and center Alex Mack. Their expected replacements, Aaron Banks and Jake Brendel have a combined three starts in the NFL, making them big question marks.
The uncertainty inside makes Mike McGlinchey the player the 49ers most need to have a successful bounce-back season in 2022. The last thing they need is to have another question in front of Trey Lance as he takes over at quarterback.
San Francisco has good depth along the offensive line and has shown they can get the job done without their top players on the field. They went 8-1 in 2019 with Justin Skule and Daniel Brunskill filling in at left tackle in place of Joe Staley, and last season they went on a run over the second half to make the playoffs with Tom Compton filling in at right tackle.
Despite the successful record, having McGlinchey on the field led to better pass protection and run blocking production.
McGlinchey had a solid start to his 2021 campaign when he was lost for the season with a torn quad tendon in his right leg in week nine against Arizona. While the veteran right tackle is often thought of as a better run blocker than a pass blocker, it was in pass protection that his loss showed up the most.
Over the first eight-plus games of the season with McGlinchey on the field, 49ers quarterbacks were sacked only 4.9% of the time they dropped back to pass, which was among the lowest in the league. This number climbed to 7% following McGlinchey’s injury.
As the numbers suggest, having Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey on the field to bookend the offensive line will go a long way to helping the less experienced players inside.