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Boone or Looney? Looney or Boone?

9/11/2014

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- As a phalanx of media members and cameras surrounded him Wednesday afternoon, San Francisco 49ers right guard Alex Boone laughed.

“You know something I don’t know?” he wondered.

The question was an obvious one: After ending his holdout six days before the Niners’ season opener and playing sparingly at the Dallas Cowboys, would he regain his starting position for the christening of Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium?

Boone smiled and shook his head.

“Honestly,” he said, “I don’t know. It’s really up to the coaches. I just go out and practice and continue to learn every day and get better. It just comes down to how they feel.”

In Dallas, Joe Looney started at right guard, as he did throughout the preseason in Boone’s absence, and earned an overall grade of just -2.3 from Pro Football Focus.

Plus, PFF had Boone playing only four offensive snaps against the Cowboys, all as an extra lineman.

Niners coach Jim Harbaugh would not tip his hand on which player would get the start against the Chicago Bears this Sunday.

“We’ll make that decision,” Harbaugh said. “Both (are) fine players and we’ll make that decision as the week goes on. And we might have already made it.

“But again, we wouldn’t need to give that information out.”

Fair enough. But also chew on this possibility: As right tackle Anthony Davis, whose 64-game playing streak came to an end in the opener, missed practice Wednesday with a hamstring strain, might the 49ers flip Boone, who started every game the previous two years at right guard, to right tackle?

Jonathan Martin, who has been playing in place of Davis, had a relatively decent PFF grade of +0.8 against the Cowboys to go with left tackle Joe Staley (-1.2 overall, -3.2 in pass protection, +1.8 run blocking), left guard Mike Iupati (-1.8 overall) and center Daniel Kilgore (+1.1).

Per PFF, 18 of the 25 runs by 49ers running backs were outside the tackles, picking up 4.1 yards per carry.

Last week, Boone and his new two-year, $6 million contract got in work on the scout team, preparing the defensive starters for a skill set more closely resembling what they would face against Dallas than what a regular scout teamer would offer.

“It was awesome,” Boone said. “Practicing against Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Patrick Willis? It’s always fun to play with them. Whatever I can do to help the team get better.”