SANTA CLARA — Center Marcus Martin jokingly talks up his card-playing prowess. New right guard Jordan Devey says he brings a swagger to the locker room pingpong table, noting “I hold my own.”
Now, game playing aside, the biggest question is, can the 49ers’ offensive line protect Colin Kaepernick following a season in which the quarterback was sacked 52 times? Coach Jim Tomsula named Martin and recently acquired Devey to his starting offensive line Tuesday, joining left tackle Joe Staley, left guard Alex Boone and right tackle Erik Pears.
They must strive to develop some continuity in the next two weeks before the Monday night season opener Sept. 14 at home against Minnesota.
“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,” said Devey, who arrived Aug. 18 in a trade from New England. “That’s what I’m trying to do is get to know them as individuals and as well as players on the field.”
Devey has played all of nine snaps for the Niners, and they came during Saturday night’s preseason loss at Denver. Tomsula doesn’t expect the first-team offensive line to play together in Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Chargers at Levi’s Stadium.
“We have brought in a guy late in the year, so it’s going to be a work in progress,” Staley said. “It’s not like we’ve played five years together. But at the end of the day, you’re responsible for your play on the football field. You’re responsible for what you’re doing out there. And that continuity and all that stuff is sometimes overblown.”
Martin and Devey have only lined up next to each other a couple of times. Joe Looney could be the odd man out, leaving Brandon Thomas as a possible swing guard.
Kaepernick doesn’t sound overly concerned about the group in front of him.
“Even through the preseason with the different combinations we’ve had out there, we’ve been able to run the ball very well. So, I think that will be a strength for us,” he said. “Moving forward, I think everyone’s confident with what we have there.”
On the health front, wide receiver Torrey Smith has a knee contusion but was on the field Tuesday.
Defensive lineman Darnell Dockett has a rib contusion in which the “crack is in the cartilage. It’s not the bone,” Tomsula said.