Sunday, October 2, 2011
On 49ers' move to start Hunter over Gore
By Mike Sando
The San Francisco 49ers' faltering ground game will have a new look against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Frank Gore is active for the game despite an ankle injury, but rookie Kendall Hunter will make his first start after playing a career-high 22 offensive snaps against Cincinnati last week. Adam Snyder, who has occasionally replaced the inconsistent Chilo Rachal at right guard, will start at that position.
Those changes come as the 49ers face an Eagles run defense that might have given ground to San Francisco anyway. That variable -- the Eagles' defense -- complicates a full analysis of these changes.
We can assume Gore's ankle injury gave coach Jim Harbaugh ample justification to give Hunter a longer look without disrespecting one of the best running backs in franchise history. If Hunter enjoys a breakout game, we'll have much to discuss on the blog heading into Week 5.
The change at right guard is arguably long overdue. Snyder's experience could, in theory, provide some stability next to second-year right tackle Anthony Davis. This is a move I've advocated for some time. Rachal simply hasn't been consistent enough.
It's good for the 49ers that their head coach isn't afraid to make lineup changes when those changes make sense. Misplaced loyalty doesn't go very far.
Gore has struggled, and now he's less than 100 percent. Give the other guy a chance. Rachal has struggled with consistency throughout his career. Why not try Snyder?