49ers-Washington matchup No. 2: Snyder vs. Bowen

49ers-Washington matchup No. 2: Adam Snyder vs. Stephen Bowen

49ers-Washington matchup No. 2: Snyder vs. Bowen
November 24, 2013, 10:45 am
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They’re a gap defense. They have responsibilities on their defensive line and he (Bowen) stays true to that. He’s a strong, physical guy with long arms, good speed, good quicks.
Adam Snyder

Editor's note: This is the second part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Washington matchups to watch Monday, 5:30 p.m., at FedEx Field.

49ers LG Adam Snyder vs. Washington DE Stephen Bowen

Tale of the tape
Snyder (68): 6 foot 6, 325 pounds, ninth season, Oregon
Bowen (72): 6 foot 5, 310 pounds, eighth season, Hofstra

Throughout his NFL career, Adam Snyder has mostly played wherever he’s been needed the most.

On Monday, he’ll make his 84th career start. So this is not a new thing for Snyder. In eight years with the 49ers -- he had a one-year stint with the Arizona Cardinals last season -- he opened as the starter only twice.

Pro Bowl left guard Mike Iupati is expected to miss at least two games with a knee sprain. So left guard is where the 49ers need Snyder right now.

“I’m comfortable there, and that’s really all that matters,” said Snyder, who practices at all five offensive-line positions during the course of a typical week.

The last time Snyder played left guard for an extended period was 2008. He started the first seven games in that spot before moving to right tackle after injuries to Jonas Jennings and Barry Sims.

But as recently as Week 6, Snyder had a prominent role during the 49ers’ most impressive drive of the season at left guard. The 49ers put away the Arizona Cardinals with a bone-crushing 18-play, 89-yard touchdown drive. And Snyder played five snaps during that series when Iupati had to exit with a shoulder injury.

On three plays, Snyder was the key element as a pulling guard on the 49ers’ signature run play, “94 Power.” Those three plays gained 17 yards.

On Monday, he’ll be matched against veteran Stephen Bowen, who’s in his third season with Washington after five years in Dallas. Bowen, who is nursing a knee injury, is not much of a threat as a pass-rusher. But Snyder’s hands will be full in generating some space for running back Frank Gore.

“They’re a gap defense,” Snyder said. “They have responsibilities on their defensive line and he (Bowen) stays true to that. He’s a strong, physical guy with long arms, good speed, good quicks.”

Iupati’s absence means the 49ers will start a different offensive line combination for the first time since the 2011 season. That season, Snyder started at right guard. So even though the combination of Joe Staley, Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone and Anthony Davis is being broken up, Snyder still represents a high level of familiarity.

“I’m expecting myself to step in and not have any drop-off,” he said.