It seems as if Adam Snyder is holding off Tony Pashos in the battle to be the 49ers' starting right tackle. After the 49ers gave up eight sacks in the first two games, it looked as if Mike Singletary might make a switch at that position, and he and offensive line coach Chris Foerster (who coached Pashos in Baltimore) have been rotating Snyder and Pashos at right tackle during games. Pashos has been playing roughly one series for every two by Snyder.
While Singletary said Pashos will continue to substitute for Snyder, it won't happen as often. "I want to settle in on one guy, and I think Snyder is doing a good job," Singletary said. "He's working his tail off. He's doing everything he has to do. He gotten a little banged up this past week, came back. He's doing what he has to do. I think when you get to this point and this time in a season, you want a guy to get the reps that he needs because it helps make him better."
Snyder is dealing with a jammed left thumb and he also got whacked on the side of the head on the final play of the game Sunday, a blow that left him face down on the Metrodome turf for several minutes. The 49ers have asked Snyder to play a number of positions over his first four years in the league. This season, however, he went to Singletary and asked if he could concentrate on one position, right tackle. Pashos, meanwhile, was hoping to parlay his one-year contract with the 49ers into a lucrative free-agent deal next season. It would be harder to do that if he's not the starter.
When the league officials had their annual meeting with reporters on Aug. 7, one of the new rules they zeroed in on involved hits on the quarterback below the knee. If you'll recall, Golden Boy up in New England was injured on such a
hot hit last year. The league wants defensive players, if they must hit the quarterback low, to swipe at or swat the quarterback's legs instead of lunging at them with the shoulder or head.
At the time, it sounded to me like an extremely ticky tacky rule and one that would become especially hated by defensive players. After all, how do you tell a defensive linemen who is trying to fend off a 315-pound offensive lineman while at the same time trying to get to the quarterback in under three seconds to hit that quarterback in a very specific and gentle manner? It's like telling a kid he can play in the mud but not get his clothes dirty. Sure enough, 49ers' defensive end Justin Smith was fined $5,000 for such a hit against the Silver Fox on Sunday.
-- Matt Barrows