SANTA CLARA – Anthony Davis is a backup tackle for the 49ers, but he remains an option at guard, coach Chip Kelly said on Tuesday.
“The idea as we’re moving forward, we have a group (offensive line starters) right now, but that can change,” Kelly said. “So everybody has to be able to play everywhere, if you’re not a starter. Joe Staley can concentrate on left tackle because Joe Staley is the starting left tackle.
“But if you’re not in the top five on our offensive line, you’re going to have to be versatile and play everywhere, just because of how it’s going to express itself.”
Davis went from being one of the top five, as a starter at right guard, to a backup for the 49ers’ regular-season opener on Monday night. Kelly said he made the decision on Saturday to start Andrew Tiller at right guard.
Davis suited up as one of the 49ers' 46 active players and got into the game for the final three snaps of the team's 28-0 victory over the Los Angeles Rams at right tackle. Trent Brown moved from right tackle to left tackle for the final plays of the game in mop-up time.
Like almost every NFL team, the 49ers suit up only two backup offensive linemen. Therefore, the backups must have versatility. Marcus Martin is the backup at center and both guard positions, while Davis’ primary backup role is at tackle.
“It’s not any different than if you’re Dontae Johnson, you’re cross-training to play safety and corner,” Kelly said. “And it depends on what’s going on if he’s going to have to go into a game because of an injury.”
Kelly noted that No. 3 tight end Blake Bell is also the 49ers' No. 3 quarterback behind starter Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick because Christian Ponder does not suit up for games.
Guard Joshua Garnett was one of the 49ers’ seven inactive players. The first-round draft pick from Stanford, however, would likely get the call to replace left guard Zane Beadles if a situation arose during the week.
“He’s as close to playing as he is to being inactive,” Kelly said of Garnett. “The difference between Joshua Garnett and Marcus Martin is Martin can play center and guard.
“If we had an injury and we knew right now one of our guys wasn’t going to play, that would be the discussion we’d have. Do we now start Josh?”