SANTA CLARA – The 49ers are going with the five offensive linemen who were on the field during the best drive the first-team offense put together through three exhibition games.
It also happened to be the only time the 49ers had those five linemen together on the field at the same time.
The surprise is that Jordan Devey, acquired two weeks ago in a trade from the New England Patriots for tight end Asante Cleveland, was named the starter at right guard. Marcus Martin will start at center, 49ers coach Jim Tomsula announced on Tuesday.
Devey was stationed at right guard on a drive in which the 49ers gained 72 yards on seven plays in a two-minute drill. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick had scrambles of 19 and 34 yards on the drive.
“He was very composed,” Kaepernick said of Devey. “The two scrambles I had, he allowed me to step up through the pocket and make those plays. Our interior -- both our guards, our center -- did a great job. Our tackles ran the ends past. I’m excited to see what they can do.”
Rookie Ian Silberman started at right guard and played with the first group for the 49ers’ first four possessions. The 49ers recorded only one first down during that time, including two three-and-outs and a safety when right tackle Erik Pears and Silberman were beat for a sack resulting in a safety. Devey made a strong first impression, Martin said.
“I totally liked the way he handled himself from play one,” Martin said. “It got scrappy and I like that.
“He was going after people. He was trying to blow somebody’s head up. Anybody that plays aggressive and nasty like that, I want him playing next to me.”
The 49ers have struggled in the passing game in the first three exhibition games – and it’s unlikely they will get any time together in the final tune-up game Thursday against the San Diego Chargers at Levi’s Stadium. But Kaepernick pointed out that the team’s running game has been effective.
“Even during the preseason with the different combinations we’ve had out there, we’ve been able to run the ball very well,” Kaepernick said. “I think that’ll be a strength for us. When they were in the game Saturday together, they did a great job for us during that two-minute drill. So moving forward, I think everyone is confident with what we have there.”
Starting running back Carlos Hyde gained 73 yards on 13 rushing attempts in the first three games with the starters.
The 49ers will focus in the days leading up to the regular-season opener (Monday, Sept. 14, against the Minnesota Vikings) in building chemistry and working together on the offensive line.
“It’ll be really good to have that opportunity and have that time to get to know each other and get a good feel for how each other plays,” Devey said. “That’s what I’m trying to do is get to know them as individuals and players on the field. That’s why we have practice to get the reps and work it out.”
Devey entered the NFL in 2013 with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted rookie. He was waived in August, spent one day on the Ravens’ practice squad and was cut again. He spent most of that season on the New England Patriots’ practice squad.
He appeared in seven games with four starts for the Patriots last season. He remained on the team’s roster through their entire Super Bowl run, but was inactive during the postseason.
Devey was considered on the bubble to make the Patriots’ 53-man roster at the time of the trade that sent him to the 49ers, who envisioned him as a player who could provide immediate assistance.
“It’s definitely a better feeling than getting cut to know that,” Devey said. “I’ve been cut before, so it’s definitely a better feeling to know that somebody else wants me.”