SANTA CLARA – The 49ers have not closed the door on adding an offensive lineman (at their price, of course), but general manager Trent Baalke intimated he is in no hurry to seek reinforcements.
Just hours after coach Jim Tomsula expressed confidence with the group of offensive linemen on the 49ers’ 90-man roster, Baalke echoed those comments.
“I think we’re both on the exact same wavelength with it,” Baalke said late Tuesday. “We like this group.”
The 49ers have an open spot on their 90-man roster after the release of veteran cornerback Chris Cook. The team could also see another roster spot open after offensive lineman Ben Gottschalk underwent foot surgery on Tuesday.
It is not known how the 49ers plan to fill the roster spot, but based on Baalke’s comments, the team appears pleased with the group of offensive linemen they've assembled.
Two spots on the offensive line appear set. Joe Staley is back for his eighth consecutive season at left tackle. Guard Alex Boone has moved from the right side to line up next to Staley.
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Other than those two veteran players, the 49ers have uncertainty and, potentially, new starters at the other three spots. But the 49ers do not appear inclined at this time to bring in a potential starter from outside the organization, such as guard Evan Mathis or tackle Jake Long.
Center Joe Looney and veteran right tackle Erik Pears are the only other players on the 49ers’ offensive line who are sticking at one position. Marcus Martin is lining up with the starters at right guard, but he’s also working at center. Trent Brown is seeing time at both tackle spots. Ian Silberman is working at center and guard.
Projected starting center Daniel Kilgore underwent a surgical procedure on his left lower leg at the end of the team’s offseason program. It is not known whether he will be available for the start of the regular season. Baalke said Kilgore is ahead of schedule in his recovery, but the team will not know about Kilgore’s availability for several weeks.
“We’re past the setback he had and now we’re just moving forward,” Baalke said.
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---Cornerback Shareece Wright did not have a distinguished four-year career with the San Diego Chargers, but the 49ers identified him as a target in free agency. The 49ers signed him to a one-year, $2.95 milion contract, and he looks to be in solid position to hold onto a starting job.
Wright started 27 games the past two seasons with the Chargers. He has one regular-season interception in his career, and one more in the playoffs. So what drew the 49ers to Wright?
“On film, you can tell he’s a pro’s pro,” Baalke said. “He’s very disciplined in his techniques, in his positioning. He’s competitive. You can see he’s a highly intelligent player. And so we liked that about him.
“(We) saw a lot of the similarities that we saw Carlos (Rogers) when we signed Carlos. When Carlos came in, he was a guy who was a ‘bust,’ and all that. He never panned out as the ninth pick in the draft. I happened to be with Washington when we drafted him. He didn’t have a lot of production there on the ball. Then he came here and Year 1, he had six interceptions and went to the Pro Bowl.”
When asked how he explained Wright’s 13 penalties last season, Baalke quipped, “Bad officiating.”
---Linebacker Nick Moody is lining up with the first-team defense in place of Michael Wilhoite, and Baalke said he believes Moody has a legitimate chance to break camp as the starter. Baalke said he witnessed a lot more focus from Moody after the end of last season.
“He’s studying the game a lot differently than he did a year ago,” Baalke said.
“You got to put in the time, and he’s done that. With Wilhoite going down, it’s been a chance for him to step in and do quality reps.”
---It’s unknown exactly how long Wilhoite will be out of action with a leg strain. He sustained a muscle pull during his workouts before reporting to camp. The 49ers placed him on the active/non-football injury list. He can be activated at any point when he receives medical clearance.
“It’s not a long-term injury,” Baalke said. “How quickly he’s ready, we’re going to make sure he’s obviously ready to go before we put him out there and risk. What he’s dealing with could become a nagging injury.”
---Wide receiver Jerome Simpson was an excused absence from 49ers’ training camp the past two days for personal reasons, the club said. “You should expect to see him as early as (Wednesday),” Baalke said.