The San Francisco 49ers offensive line is showing their youth near the end of the season. They've struggled for much of the last month against teams like the Baltimore Ravens and the Arizona Cardinals, and they still have stiff tests awaiting them.
Chief among them is the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football, who have one of the most intimidating defensive fronts in all of football. Ziggy Hood, Brett Keisel and Casey Hampton are a pretty strong three man line, but it's the linebacking corps of James Farrior, LaMarr Woodley, and Lawrence Timmons that really gives the Steelers their imposing figure against most opposing offenses. Even with James Harrison out, the Niners will have their hands full.
And Harrison's absence could be cancelled out if one 49er doesn't get back on the field. Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reports on the status of Joe Staley.
"He's been cleared to do some walk-through, but no, he's still going through a series of, as you guys like to say, protocol," Harbaugh said of the tests that a player who sustains a concussion must pass before returning to practice.
Not a good sign if you're the Niners. Alex Boone is the backup, and he's average. The 49ers need more than average on their O-line if they plan on being victorious on Sunday.
To discuss Staley and the 49ers, head back to Niners Nation.