Posted: 6:46 p.m. Monday, March 11, 2013
By David Fucillo
We'll have plenty of breakdown about the Anquan Boldin trade in the coming days and weeks, but I wanted to focus in on one particular aspect of Boldin's game: his physicality. The NFL is filled with some big, bad dudes, but few can match the physicality and overall toughness of Anquan Boldin.
The 49ers pride themselves on their run blocking, and their wide receivers and tight ends are a big part of that. Vernon Davis has turned himself into one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL, and Michael Crabtree is up there with the best blocking wide receivers in the league. Kyle Williams did not get a lot of mention, but he too can bring it as a blocker. The offensive line is of course key to the run game, but the wide receivers and tight ends have proven pivotal to extending those runs.
Well, now you can add a ferocious blocker in Anquan Boldin to the mix. Boldin likes to get physical, and is as tough as they come. This is a guy who took a helmet shot to the face, suffered a fractured facial bone and nerve damage, refused pain killers after facial surgery, and was back on the field less than a month later. I think the 49ers have plenty of tough guys on their team, but even when Boldin was on the other side of the field, I thought he was as tough as they come.
Now, the 49ers have him on their side of the field with their road-grading run blockers. The 49ers rushing attack has been strong the last two years, and very well could take a nice little step forward in 2013. Boldin is only one blocking wide receiver, but it's going to be fun watching that unit putting defensive backs on their backsides. I think this could be particularly interesting for a guy like LaMichael James. When you get James in space, all sorts of things can happen. With strong blocking receivers, it could be lights out for opposing defenses when James gets his hands on the ball on the edge.
Oh, and wait till Boldin lines up across from Richard Sherman. I eagerly await the day he plants Sherman on his back coming off the line. The 49ers and Seahawks are developing a significant rivalry, and this will only add to it.