Question marks surround 49ers' cloudy interior O-line


The 49ers opened training camp with plenty of uncertainty in the middle of their offensive line.

After three preseason games, none of those questions have been answered.

The 49ers’ 17-0 loss to the Houston Texans in the preseason finale on Thursday night was not a pretty sight for the offense.

Afterward, coach Kyle Shanahan was asked if he envisioned the starting group — left guard Aaron Banks, center Jake Brendel and right guard Spencer Burford — as the starters on Sept. 11 against the Chicago Bears.

“I’m not sure, yet,” Shanahan said. “We’ve got 17 days, and we definitely aren't going to assign that stuff tonight. We got a lot more practice to do.”

All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams did not play in any of the 49ers’ preseason games. Right tackle Mike McGlinchey (knee irritation) and guard/center Daniel Brunskill (hamstring) played sparingly in the exhibition opener on Aug. 12 against the Green Bay Packers.

Colton McKivitz has filled in for McGlinchey. He likely would get the call for Week 1 if McGlinchey is unable to play. Brunskill, who started every game for the 49ers the past two seasons, could play any of the interior positions.

Banks, Brendel and Burford would be first-time NFL starters.

“We’re not there, yet,” Shanahan said. “I think that’s obvious.”

Banks was a second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He suited up for nine games and saw just five snaps of action on offense as Laken Tomlinson’s backup. Banks is getting his opportunity after Tomlinson signed a lucrative free-agent contract with the New York Jets.

Shanahan said he believes Banks showed improvement Thursday night against the Houston Texans after experiencing even more struggles the previous game against the Minnesota Vikings.

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Burford is a fourth-round draft pick from Texas-San Antonio who appears to be on pace to start as a rookie.

“What I’m excited about is all these young guys are getting these opportunities, they all have the ability to be very good in this league,” Shanahan said.

“But the season is now just 17 days away, and I do believe the more they play, the better they’ll get because they’re made of the right stuff and they have the ability to do it. But it does take time in this league.”

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