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Tuesday, October 25, 2011
On the 49ers' changing of the right guard

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh once joked that no team experiences a right guard controversy.

The position is important, but not important enough to captivate the public.

For the 49ers, the switch from Chilo Rachal to Adam Snyder at right guard has coincided with and contributed to general offensive improvement.

With an assist from Hank Gargiulo of ESPN Stats & Information, I've put together a chart breaking down the 49ers' offensive production this season based on which player was at right guard. Again, the differences stem from a range of factors, not just the switch at right guard. It would be unfair to Rachal to suggest otherwise, but also unfair to Snyder if we suggested there was no meaningful connection at all.

The line appears to be benefiting from time together and from Snyder's veteran presence on the right side. Rachal replaced an injured Snyder late in the 49ers' victory at Detroit, and the offense fared well. The team expects Snyder to return from a stinger injury this week.

The chart shows yards per pass attempt (YPA), sacks per pass play and yards per carry (YPC). The column for total touchdowns shows receiving and passing touchdowns, not those scored on special teams.