San Francisco 49ers

Smarts = starts: 49ers like Jordan Devey’s mental game

Video: Five things to watch when the 49ers visit Seahawks

Sacbee reporter Matt Barrows with five things the SF 49ers need to do to get a victory when the visit the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday.
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Sacbee reporter Matt Barrows with five things the SF 49ers need to do to get a victory when the visit the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday.

Offensive coordinator Geep Chryst on Thursday seemed to tap the brakes on the notion that Andrew Tiller has wrestled away the 49ers’ right guard spot from Jordan Devey.

Devey has started all nine games this season but since Week 4 has been alternating series with Tiller. In the 49ers’ most recent game, a 17-16 win over the Falcons, Tiller was on the field for 48 snaps versus just nine for Devey. The lopsided ratio suggested a switch was imminent.

But Chryst on Monday said the practice-field repetitions at right guard this week have been similar to what they’ve been in previous weeks. He also was asked what it is the 49ers like about Devey, whom the 49ers acquired in a trade with New England in mid-August.

“I remember first coming into the league a long time ago and someone said that a mental mistake will beat you quicker than a physical mistake,” Chryst said. “Jordan coming in during training camp has done a great job of having very few mental mistakes.”

That appears to be a particularly valuable asset this week in Seattle, where the combination of the Seahawks defense and the CenturyLink crowd noise has made it a difficult place to play.

Since 2005, opponents have committed more false-start penalties at CenturyLink than in any other stadium. This season, 49ers offensive linemen have committed 19 penalties. Devey is the only one without a false start – though he has been flagged twice, both times for holding.

Still, it’s not as if Devey played well against Seattle in the team’s first meeting. On Oct. 22, the 49ers gave up six sacks, had only 61 rushing yards and crossed the 50-yard line just twice in the 20-3 loss. Pro Football Focus gave Devey a minus-3.7 grade in that game; Tiller’s was minus-1.8. Both played 23 snaps.

Overall this season, Pro Football Focus gives Devey a minus-16.1 grade and ranks him 78th out of 82 guards. Tiller doesn’t have enough snaps to qualify for the list, but if he did his +2.2 grade would land him at 29th.

Et cetera – Carlos Hyde did not practice for the second consecutive day, raising doubts about his availability for Sunday’s game in Seattle. If he misses it, it will be the third game in a row he’s sat out because of a stress fracture in his foot. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman returned to practice Thursday.

▪ Rookie receiver DeAndre Smelter says his surgically repaired knee feels fine but that his body is a bit sore after going through his first practices in a year. Smelter, a fourth-round pick from Georgia Tech, is in the midst of a 21-day period in which he can practice with the team. He said he hasn’t been told whether the 49ers will place him on the 53-man roster.

▪ Defensive lineman Tank Carradine is wearing No. 56 in practice this week. That number belongs to Seahawks’ defensive end Cliff Avril, whom Carradine is portraying on the 49ers’ scout team.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at

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