Is balance of power shifting on Niners' O-line?

Posted Sept. 27, 2012 @ 10:39 p.m.
Posted By Dan Arkush

It appears the right side of the 49ers’ offensive line could be catching up to the more vaunted left side on the national attention meter.

While the play of starting OLT Joe Staley, who earned his first Pro Bowl berth last season, has been far from Pro Bowl caliber up to now, third-year pro Anthony Davis was praised this week by Jets head coach Rex Ryan as one of the league’s best right tackles.

Niners offensive coordinator Greg Roman believes Davis, who was drafted in the first round in 2010 along with starting OLG Mike Iupati, has made strides with the benefit of a full offseason in a system that was new to him last season.

“Really from March on, we’ve seen nothing but improvement, fundamentally, mentally, recognition-wise from Anthony,” Roman said. “Are there things that he needs to improve on? Yes, but everybody does. He’s playing at a high level. Anthony’s the kind of guy I want to go into a conflict with because he’s going to fight.

“Win lose or draw, he’s going to compete, and I’m really proud of the way he has matured as a professional.”

Staley, meanwhile, has sputtered on the left side. After getting eaten alive in his matchup with Packers ROLB Clay Matthews in the season opener, he held his own in Week Two matched up against Lions DRE Kyle Vanden Bosch and was inconsistent in Week Three matched up against Vikings Pro Bowl DRE Jared Allen.

“I think he (Staley) was really surprised by Matthews’ bull rushes,” one close Niners observer said. “Plus, he nearly broke his nose in that game and had trouble breathing. But he seems to go through a situation every game where he loses it. He was doing fine against Allen most of the day (in Minnesota), and all of the sudden, he couldn’t block him at all.”