Originally posted by eonblue:
Couple of points.
A good NT is crucial to the 3-4. Obv. By threatening to beat the C and collapse the pocket he has to pull the G. This is the most threatening situation you can put an Oline in.
Sopo can't beat the center. He can cover the centers A gaps so hes good on the run but he doesn't draw the guard which opens the guards to double where ever the rush is coming from.
He basically nullifies the pass rush with his inability to beat the center.
The defense fails wiith no pass rush especially against a team like GB plus Sopo has been playing about 25% of the snaps but GB runs a lot of 3 receiver sets so they have to throw in a nickle and take out the NT.
So I don't think Fangio wants to play without a NT or that were shifting to a different alignment. I think hes just adjusting because hes smart.
I think Sopo has to go this offseason or take a huge cut. If he doesnt want to take a cut he can try his luck elsewhere. I personally would love to see us draft a NT like Jenkins or move up for Hankins. A young and explosive NT would revitalize the aging line and would be a great piece for the future of the front 7. I really don't like the ideal of drafting a DE either especially Shariff Floyd. Hes going to sit on the bench. He would be behind every other guy that can play DE on the depth chart. I would much rather them draft a tweener DE if they cant get a NT.
This, I'm amazed at how many people are shocked that this team might possibly need an NT, the logic is absolutely mystifying. The matchup problems a good NT would cause are virtually endless. You can't block him with one guy, you need two people to block him, you can't block Justin Smith with just one guy or you're courting disaster, so now the OL basically has to utilize 3-4 people to block 2 guys, meanwhile you've got 3 other potential pass-rushers, leave 1-2 guys to block them, in this situation, the defense forces the offense to respond by bringing in more blockers and limiting what they can do on offense as a result.
"Herp derp, we don't need an NT because Soap doesn't play that many snaps.......Herp derp, we don't need to play Kaepernick because Alex is the quarterback....we don't need to upgrade at wide receiver because Brett Swain doesn't get out onto the field that often."
I'm sure part of the limitation is schematic, if you don't have a great or good NT, you adjust your defense to however possible, but you're an absolute fool if you think Fangio wouldn't fully utilize a guy like Wilfork to make this defense even more dominant.
Once again, as far as starters go, NT is the weakest spot on the entire defense. There's no other starter that you could point to and say that you could make a significant upgrade with.