Jim Harbaugh and Colin Kaepernick are getting most of the attention when the 49ers meet the media this week, but the 49ers’ coach and quarterback both say the attention should go to the offensive line.
Asked about the offensive skill position players today, Harbaugh quickly changed the subject to talk about the offensive line, and he made a point of mentioning all of his offensive linemen by name.
“I’d like to talk a little bit about our offensive line, if that’s OK,” Harbaugh said. “That’s been a phenomenal group for us, and I’d call them offensive weapons as well. Joe Staley, a very talented player. Tremendous leadership within the group. How exciting for Jonathan Goodwin, being back at the Saints facility yesterday. Memories had to be thick for him. I know he visited with Sean Payton and some of the staff there. What he’s meant to our football team when he first arrived here, we were void at the center position. Jonathan Goodwin has stepped in and started every game, been a great player for us. Anthony Davis’ emergence at right tackle from a toughness standpoint, from a strength standpoint, and just the way he continues to grow and grow and grow as a player. Also, Mike Iupati has gone to the board as one of the top guards in the National Football League. Really excited for Alex Boone as an ascending player, as a tough player, as a leader on our football team. Finally, just the way they have all stayed healthy. They’ve all played well together. It’s really been a strength and a center for our football team. Also, Leonard Davis and what he’s brought to us along with Daniel Kilgore as the sixth and seventh linemen. They’ve been instrumental all year in our extra O-Linemen packages, contributions on special teams. The way they have plugged in at guard, tight end and at the extra tight end position has been huge for us.”
Kaepernick also made a point of crediting the offensive line for his own success.
“They have been doing a phenomenal job blocking people,” Kaepernick said. “In pass protection, I’ve barely been touched. In the run game, they’re opening up huge holes for our running backs. They open up the edges for me when I’ve been running. As an offensive line, they’ve been playing lights out.”
Harbaugh said that the 49ers want to be a team known for dominating the line of scrimmage.
“That’s what our football team wants to be about,” Harbaugh said. “Talking about our offensive line, talking about our defensive line, I think on a football team that’s the character of your football team.”