49ers' Trent Williams, Laken Tomlinson building chemistry from afar


Laken Tomlinson, the man who will most closely work with recently acquired 49ers left tackle Trent Williams, couldn’t be more excited to get things rolling with his new teammate.

There has been a changing of the guard in Santa Clara. After 13 seasons with the team, 12 of which were spent holding down 49ers quarterbacks' blind side, Joe Staley announced his retirement from the NFL last month. The 49ers might not skip a beat, though, with Williams coming into the fold to provide protection for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Tomlinson, who is signed through the 2021 season, will be a huge part of making the transition with Williams as seamless as possible. He spent the last three seasons starting all but one game at left guard for the 49ers.

“I think he’s a hell of a ballplayer,” Tomlinson said of Williams on Friday. “Having someone like that being a part of the line, I think it’s going to be really, really good for us. You know he has ‘X’ amount of Pro Bowls, and I think that having that player to play the left tackle position, that’s going to be fantastic.”

Building chemistry with Willams isn't something that concerns Tomlinson. Even though team facilities remain closed, Tomlinson says the process already has begun through the team video meetings that have taken the place of normal offseason programs.

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Tomlinson, like most players in the NFL, can't wait to get back on the field. But for now, he knows remote team meetings will have to do.

“Just getting the reps together, I’m sure that will come,” Tomlinson said. “The more that we talk to each other, the more — it’s just everything, guys having good chemistry. Having these Zoom meetings, get to see everybody’s face, talk to each other. I think that’s just where it starts.

“Started with talking with each other, being on the same page and thinking the same things. When it comes to working with somebody new, especially on the offensive line, you got to have that.”

Unlike on the defensive line, where rotation is a way of life, the offensive line thrives on consistency. Tomlinson, while he will miss Staley, knows the athleticism that Williams, a seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle, brings to the table.

[RELATED: What Tomlinson learned from Staley]

“I really can’t wait to get back on the field and get back around the guys,” Tomlinson said. “The offensive line, I think is one of the closer-knit groups for a football team, and when those guys are together all the time, it just makes the unit that much stronger.

“I’m looking forward to that. I’m sure everyone is looking forward to that as well, and we’re all excited to have Trent as part of the team.”

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