Trent Williams

Foerster reveals 49ers' surprising emergency O-line plan

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The 49ers' offensive line was battered during their Christmas night loss to the Baltimore Ravens, losing Trent Williams, Aaron Banks and Jaylon Moore to various injuries throughout the game.

With the barrage of injuries forcing San Francisco to use every single active offensive lineman Monday, the question begs, who would have gone in had one more gotten injured?

"Tight end. Charlie [Woerner] would have to go in," offensive line coach Chris Foerster told reporters on Thursday. "We'd have to kind of makeshift that."

Had Woerner gone in, it wouldn't have been the first time Foerster and Williams saw a tight end used on the offensive line in an emergency situation for their team.

"And it's kind of funny, I was telling Trent [Williams] this morning because they've only recently gone to eight offensive linemen," Foerster explained. "When I got in the NFL, there was, we always had eight up, but then special teams and everything else took over. So, then we went to seven -- everything became seven all of a sudden.

"So, you had seven, and very few times -- probably three times in the course of 25, 30 years -- did you have to get to some other position playing offensive line. I think it might've been our last game in 2014, my last game with Trent in Washington, I think [tight end] Logan Paulson played left tackle for a series or two for us because we were down, we lost Trent, we lost Tom Compton, we lost another guy. And so we had to put Logan in for the last series or two.

"So, yeah, this one is eight linemen, and you lose three guys and you lose a fourth, and one more guy, you'd have to go and put a tight end in. So, it's tough, but everybody's back working. And I don't know what everybody's injury status is for this week, but I think we've got a fair amount of guys to get back at it."

Starting right tackle Colton McKivitz was asked to move to left tackle and Spencer Burford, who typically plays guard, moved to right tackle. Foerster explained that a silver lining to having the offensive line depth tested was providing a true example of the coaching points regarding players staying ready for any situation.

"But I'm glad it happened because what it does is no matter how many times I tell them, guys, you have to be ready because this can happen, we're repping you, you are the fourth tackle in the game, you're the third center in the game, you're the fifth guard," Foerster said. "They look at you like you're crazy -- 'Coach, it's never going to happen.' It doesn't happen until it happens, and then you have to be ready for it."

While Banks and Moore were absent from 49ers practice on Thursday, Williams participated in a limited capacity, offering hope that the All-Pro will be available for Sunday's matchup against the Washington Commanders.

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