49ers’ Trent Williams ‘tipping games’ aren’t a real deal


Despite a dazzling array of talented players and a supposed offensive genius in Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers offense has been mediocre at best. Panicked Niners fans online have a new conspiracy theory: it’s actually the fault of the team’s best offensive player.

It appears that Trent Williams occasionally lines up one way or another depending on whether a pass or a run has been called, an observation that has been made for years. The latest version of this started with Jessie Naylor of Last Second Sports, who noted that the left tackle spikes were playing with his left leg.

As Naylor’s post went viral, a chorus of NFL players and analysts explained why Williams’ habits didn’t matter. (It should already be clear that whichever way Williams lines up has no bearing on how defenders treat him: he hasn’t given up a sack this year, Pro Football Focus on ranks as the third-best offensive lineman in the league, and the Niners are among the best in the league run to his side of the line.)

“Most OTs cheat their position for many reasons,” Longtime NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz said. “It’s not unique.” He went on to note that there was “no indication that the Chargers D even noticed.” Schwartz then tweeted an even more dismissive take.

“This Trent Williams position story is so perfect for Twitter,” the eight-year NFL veteran wrote. “Lots of ex-NFL players explaining why it’s no big deal. Bunch of numbers from Twitter users telling ex-NFL players they’re incorrect in their rating.

George Foster, who played in the NFL from 2003 to 2008, got technical with his gait. He noted that the Niners’ tackling approach to his positions “are not big secrets, have been happening for ages, because it’s SMART.” His thread of four tweets concluded that even though you can tell what kind of play goes through Williams’ position, a defensive lineman “still has to beat it.” (Schwartz also made an appearance in the answers here.)

Then there was Andrew Whitworth, the longtime Bengals and Rams tackle who retired after the Rams’ Super Bowl victory, who answered a question about how knowledge of the opposing position can be useful – turns out, not much.

“Well, first ask yourself how many defenders can look at his feet from that angle? Zero,” Whitworth wrote. “All the movements and formations of this offense. No one has time to worry about Trent’s feet. He doesn’t just run or pass. Sometimes it’s just different blocks.

It wasn’t just the O-line brothers at Williams who felt this. A beaten 49ers writer said he directed it through Williams and dismissed it out of hand. “I actually had a conversation with Trent Williams about some of these positional concerns that people made up online a few weeks ago,” Athletic said. David Lombardi said. “Summary: There’s nothing wrong with Williams’ position. He’s operated the same throughout his career. 9 Pro Bowls and counting.”

Emmanuel Acho – who has a history of really crazy catches but should actually know what he’s talking about here, since he was an NFL linebacker – explained that even if Williams had a tell, it wouldn’t matter, because of the way the defenses communicate before the rupture.

NFL player says Williams has a tell and knows how to exploit it. Bears rookie defensive end Dominique Robinson claimed after his team’s Week 1 win over the Niners, Williams was kicking twice before passes, and Robinson had 1.5 sacks as a result. But Robinson may have been a little too excited after the upset victory. He hasn’t recorded a sack since, and again, Williams hasn’t given up a sack all season. Niners fans furious that Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo aren’t directing “The Greatest Show on Turf” will have to look elsewhere.

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