The joke around these parts in recent years has been that the 49ers are trying to create "Ravens West". Lately, however, it looks more like Chiefs-by-the-Bay. First Jimmy Raye, then a guy named Schottenheimer and now Mike Solari to run the offensive line. And here's another thing - maybe that's not such a bad thing.
The three offenses that Raye ran in Kansas City from 1998-2000 finished No. 19, No. 12 and No. 8 in total offense. They put up some huge yardage totals, particularly through the air. The Chiefs finished fifth in passing in 2000. But as Solari pointed out today in a conference call, he had some sturdy offensive linemen up front. Those Chiefs teams boasted perennial Pro Bowlers in Willie Roaf and Will Shields as well as an up-and-comer in Brian Waters.
Solari noted that the 49ers' offensive line, by contract, is mostly full of young guys. "Here there's more youth on the offensive line," he said. And the 49ers are bound to get even younger this offseason. If the 49ers go with an offensive lineman early in the draft, Solari will have a say in which lineman that turns out to be. Should the 49ers draft a linemen in the first round, there's a very good chance that rookie will be asked to start right away as was the case with Joe Staley in 2007.
Solari has recent experience in starting a rookie. In 2009, he had to get the Seahawks' second-round pick, Max Unger, ready to play right guard. Unger eventually was moved to center but he started all 16 games. Solari also recalled playing John Tait right away in 1999 when he was with Kansas City. Tait went on to go to two Pro Bowls.
-- Matt Barrows