Given the quarterbacks’ previous NFC West performance, it goes without saying that when the 49ers take on the Denver Broncos on Sunday, all eyes will be on Jimmy Garoppolo and Russell Wilson.
The offensive line for the 49ers faces a recurring issue against Broncos’ D.J. Jones
Wilson is a well-known opponent, but San Francisco must also worry about containing a former friend who undoubtedly will try to make a difference in the primetime game from Empower Field at Mile High.
The 49ers knew they would eventually face the Broncos on the field, trying to stifle their run-heavy offense after losing defensive lineman D.J. Jones to free agency this offseason.
DeMeco Ryans, the defensive coordinator, is aware of what they may anticipate at this moment.
Ryans praised D.J. as a player after practice on Thursday. For the past four or five years, I have enjoyed working with D.J. He is a pretty amazing player as well as a really great person off the field.
Jones played for the 49ers last season, his fifth and last in San Francisco, starting all 17 games while compiling a career-high 56 tackles, two sacks, and two forced fumbles (also a career-high). Jones has accumulated seven tackles overall, which puts him sixth among NFL defensive tackles with five tackles made so far in the 2022 season.
His ability to apply pressure to quarterbacks and the overall impact he has at the line of scrimmage as a run stopper cannot be understated, which is why Denver signed him to a lucrative three-year, $30 million contract this offseason. However, that is just what he has been able to do statistically this year.
Ryans said on Thursday, “I think the issue for our players getting ready for him is they just have to work together, just understand nobody’s out there by themselves.” D.J. might make a few plays, but we just need to make a few more than him to attempt to keep him out of our backfield, the coach said.
The three members of San Francisco’s interior offensive line who were considered question marks before the season began — center Jake Brendel, rookie right guard Spencer Burford, and left guard Aaron Banks — have performed admirably through the team’s first two games. On Sunday, Jones will present them with a new obstacle as they attempt to protect the team’s running backs, who have taken a beating so far this year.
Banks and Brendel in particular will have their job cut out for the coming season because Jones has primarily lined up at right defensive tackle.
After allowing only one hurry in pass protection during the 49ers’ Week 2 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, Banks received the top offensive player rating from PFF. On the day he received his run-blocking score of 72.2, the team’s 45 running attempts resulted in an average of 4.2 yards per carrying.
Chris Foerster, who oversees the offensive line and run game, stated on Thursday that Jones’ presence opposing the interior O-line is only one of several difficulties they have already encountered and will continue to encounter.
“The last two players, those guys were giants in there. The first two games were big tests as well. They posed a significant problem for our guards, according to Foerster. “D.J. is obviously a fantastic player. He and the other members of their defensive line’s interior command our highest admiration.
Foerster is more worried about how young players like Banks and Burford handle the strain of a primetime game because the 49ers’ interior offensive line has demonstrated their ability to play and succeed against good NFL defensive tackles.
Jones, however, is eager to go.
According to Mike Klis of 9NEWS, Jones remarked on Thursday at his locker in Colorado, “I’m happy to see my boys, but my emotions will keep in check.” “I think I’m an easygoing guy, so I’m just glad to have the chance to play against a fantastic club,” he said.
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