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49ers starting RG spot uncertain heading into playoffs

The 49ers are almost fully healthy heading into their divisional playoff matchup vs. the Green Bay Packers, but they’ve not yet decided what their starting offensive line is going to look like.

Offensive line coach and run game coordinator Chris Foerster on Wednesday indicated there’s some uncertainty on the offensive front with who is going to start at right guard.

Spencer Burford was given the job in training camp, but late in the year after veteran Jon Feliciano saw action due to injury, it threw the team’s starting OL into question. It’s something the coaching staff hasn’t resolved yet with a couple days left before kickoff.

“We’re working through that right now,” Foerster told reporters in a press conference. “Jon had some, we were working through some things the last week of the season. I think we’re going to see, probably you’ll see some of both guys in the game as far as who starts and who doesn’t. Although I’m not sure at this point, I think we’re working out through the week and it could be a hot hand thing, could be a let one guy just go with it and see, I don’t know. We’re still, both guys have been working and we have to have flexibility in there.”

There’s a fine line between having flexibility and not knowing who the team’s five best offensive linemen are.

Feliciano saw action in 10 games at both guard spots and center. Of his 478 snaps, 26 came at C, 208 at LG and 244 at RG. He wound up the team’s second-highest graded offensive lineman by Pro Football Focus. Trent Williams was the only regular OL ahead of him. Feliciano surrendered 15 pressures and no sacks in 257 pass blocking snaps.

Burford, meanwhile, was the team’s lowest-graded offensive lineman. He allowed 33 pressures and five sacks in 460 pass blocking snaps according to PFF’s data. The 33 pressures are the seventh-most among starting RGs. It is worth noting four of those pressures and one of the sacks came when he was thrust into playing right tackle against the Ravens.

For now the in-season productivity makes it pretty clear the veteran Feliciano is a better option at RG for the 49ers. Whether the team believes that is not immediately clear, though Foerster’s comments makes it seem as though it’s more of a coin flip.

If the team does deem that competition close enough to go with a rotation, then Feliciano’s versatility might make him more valuable to the 49ers as a reserve who can plug in wherever they need.

“My thing is that [OL Aaron] Banks has had some things this season,” Foerster said. “So the flexibility of Jon being able to work all the positions that’s always going to leave us making sure that Jon’s ready at all the spots. He’s the backup center, he’s the backup left guard. So that always weighs into our equation a little bit. So, we have to keep some flexibility there.”

Most teams roll with a starting five on the offensive line that stays together when healthy. It sounds like the 49ers have other plans heading into the divisional playoffs vs. the Packers, and how well that works out could ultimately decide just how far they go in the postseason.

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire