When Dalvin Tomlinson first joined the Giants as a rookie defensive tackle last year, one of the first tests he faced on the NFL level was going against Weston Richburg. Back then Richburg was the starting center for the team and the two had a number of matchups in training camp.
Richburg’s season ended after he was put on injured reserve with a concussion, and then his time with the Giants ended when he was not re-signed during free agency. On Monday, though, Tomlinson will get to go up against Richburg once again. And for the first time, it will count.
Richburg is the starting center for the 49ers, having signed a five-year, $47-5 million deal this offseason.
“He’s looking pretty good,” Tomlinson said after studying Richburg for this matchup. “He’s a good positional blocker. He can get over the top of you real quick. He has a lot of experience under his belt. He knows the different types of d-linemen he goes against.”
The Giants didn’t put much effort into retaining Richburg, but the 49ers are certainly happy to have him.
“He’s added a ton,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on Thursday. “He’s been as good as any center that I’ve had and he’s been one of the main reasons why we’ve been able to run the ball as well as we have despite our injuries . . . Guys love him here and he’s really helped us.”
Richburg isn’t that far removed from the Giants’ roster, yet Tomlinson is one of just two active players who had the experience of facing him in practices with the team (Kerry Wynn is the only other interior defensive lineman who can make such a claim). Tomlinson said he thinks he can take some of that experience into the game with him.
“Going against him last year I know how he blocks,” Tomlinson said. “You can’t stop your feet in the middle of the play because he has good second effort. If he doesn’t get over the top of you initially, he’ll come back and seal you off from the gap you’re trying to get to. You always have to make sure you keep going the whole play until the whistle blows.”