Why the offensive line might not be as bad as it looked

Are you looking for comfort? Want comfort? You have come to the right place.

After reviewing the performance of the San Francisco 49ers offensive line in the first half in Thursday’s preseason finale in Houston, there’s something akin to bad news to offer fans. physically sick: it was putrid, but some of the worst puffs and breakdowns occurred. by linemen likely to be substitutes at the season opener in Chicago.

It’s no guarantee that quarterback Trey Lance won’t get the piñata treatment in the Windy City, but consider:

• On the 49ers’ third offensive snap, right tackle Colton McKivitz was no match for rushing defensive end Jerry Hughes, who forced the harassed and on the run incompleteness from Lance. McKivitz replaced Mike McGlinchey (knee), who could be ready for Week 1.

• On the 49ers’ second practice, both tackles, McKivitz and Jaylon Moore, were beaten by outside rushes and two-man pressure forced Lance to step in and into the arms of defensive tackle Kurt Hinish, who snagged rushed to rookie right guard Spencer Burford for the sack. Moore was replacing All-Pro Trent Williams, who was a healthy spectator.

• On the 49ers’ third drive, it was Moore who was beaten by Hughes, who hit Lance on the arm in the middle of the pitch to force an incompletion.

• On the 49ers’ fourth down, it was center Keaton Sutherland, who won’t make the 53-man roster, who was pushed to Galveston by Hinish, who dropped running back Trey Sermon for a loss of four yards.

• These consecutive false start penalties on the 49ers’ sixth drive? The culprits were Moore and Sutherland.

You feel better ? OK, on ​​to the undeniably bad news. Burford, a fourth-round pick, returned that sack and also took two penalties for holding. And these weren’t tricky offenses: Burford was flagged when he essentially tackled Jonathan Greenard and Thomas Booker on running plays down the right side in the first half.

Meanwhile, Banks missed the key block, getting blasted by undrafted rookie Hinish on the 4th-and-2 in the second quarter on a play that running back Trey Sermon lost three yards on. On the next series, Banks sniffed out lineman Demone Harris, but QB Nate Sudfeld fired a 13-yard pressure completion on 3rd-and-10.

Considering the performance of the guards, it’s worth noting that head coach Kyle Shanahan mentioned the absence of Daniel Brunskill (hamstring) on ​​Friday after reviewing the game.

“We’re not there yet, I think that’s obvious,” Shanahan said of the offensive line. “We have new guys and young guys and also not having McGlinchey there hurt. I hope to get him back, not having Dan Brunskill in there, who has started for us for the last two years, has also been difficult.

Banks and Burford were starters throughout training camp as Brunskill battled for the starting center spot with Jake Brendel (who had a strong 24 snap performance on Thursday) before suffering an injury on August 12. Which guard Brunskill would be most likely to replace? Evidence suggests Banks was replaced by undrafted rookie Jason Poe for a few practice snaps on Monday and Tuesday.

Shanahan’s assessment of the situation of banks in Houston? It wasn’t necessarily a compliment.

“I thought he had a better game this week than (last week) against Minnesota,” Shanahan said.

The 49ers have inquired about the trade of an interior offensive lineman, according to multiple sources. They will host free agent guard John Miller for a visit, ESPN reported Saturday. Miller, 29, a former third-round pick, started 10 games with the Panthers last year and made 84 starts during his seven-season career.

• The 49ers quarterback who finished the toughest, brave, no-no-yes! throws in the exhibition season? Brock Purdy. And the seventh-round rookie pick was a landslide winner of The Chronicle’s top Preseason Gunslinger award (the prize: a Brett Favre bobblehead).

Against Houston, Purdy had three assists, over middle and in traffic – to tight end Ross Dwelley (30 yards, wide receiver Jauan Jennings (26 yards) and tight end Troy Fumagalli (14 yards). However, Purdy also looked good, thinking he had moved linebacker Jake Hansen, but Hansen was not fooled and easily recovered Purdy’s throw intended for Fumagalli, which was in an area between three defenders.

Purdy’s arm strength has been better than advertised, but is probably average at best by NFL standards. He’s been less efficient when throwing on the sidelines in training and pre-season games this summer. Purdy’s first pitch, in the preseason opener, was nearly caught along the left sideline. Against the Texans, he attempted to press a throw to Ray-Ray McCloud between two defenders along the right sideline which was nearly intercepted.

Purdy, who could have gone 3.7 miles behind the line of scrimmage on Thursday, has an untamed colt style, which is understandable given his inexperience. And his aggressiveness is not only admirable, but clever given his position: as Mr. Irrelevant, he’s not going to turn heads with a diet of checks and bubble screens.

Still, it’s worth wondering if Purdy’s impressive assists he thinks would go down so well against NFL starters. My guess is the 49ers will stick with Nate Sudfeld as a backup entering the regular season. Sudfeld has less juice than Purdy, but he’s less likely to age Shanahan 60 in one season.

• Free safety Tashaun Gipson made his 49ers debut about 80 hours after his first practice with the team. Surprise: The 10-year-old veteran who wasn’t on an offseason program or training camp looked a little rusty.

Gipson, 32, has been slow to respond or appeared out of position on three of the Texans’ six longest games. He was behind in running support on a 14-yard springboard from Royce Freeman and was caught off guard on two 3rd-and-over conversions. First, he was about two yards deep in the end zone on a 16-yard touchdown catch by the widened Chris Moore on the goal line before snagging too close to a covered deep receiver on a 24-yard catch over the middle by tight end Seth Green on the 3rd and 6th.

Gipson had six tackles in his 31 snaps. This included a running blitz in which he rejected a backfield block by wide Connor Wedington and dropped Freeman for a yard loss.

The 49ers signed Gipson to serve as a potential temporary replacement for Jimmie Ward, who will miss at least the first four games, and likely more, with a hamstring tear. Thursday’s performance suggested Gipson may not be ready for Week 1. But the 2104 Pro Bowl selection with 132 career starts could eventually become the 49ers’ most attractive option given the other contenders for replacing Ward are George Odum, Dontae Johnson and Tarvarius Moore.

The 49ers could release Gipson in Tuesday’s final roster cuts and subsequently sign him to their 16-man practice squad. Teams can have six veterans with unlimited experience in their practice squad.

• Poe, whose solid training camp led to his first-team training snaps, lost some momentum with a shaky performance.

His worst shot: In the fourth quarter, he put his head down, felt defensive tackle Michael Dwumfour and fell to his knees as Dwumfour dropped running back Ty Davis-Price for a loss of five yards.

On the final drive, Poe, in pass protection, was beaten by Booker and walked away with a flagrant penalty. Two plays later, Poe, who at 6-foot-1 must have great leverage, straightened up in pass protection and allowed pressure when he was knocked down.

Eric Branch covers the 49ers for The San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]: @Eric_Branch