Originally posted by Phoenix49ers:
Originally posted by GhostofFredDean74:
I just don't see where you suggest the re-signing of either RJF or Soap, and you have the rookie NT replacing Ian Williams leaving no veteran NTs on the roster...so it was a natural assumption on my part. If you mean to work the rookie Williams into a rotation, I'm totally onboard with that.
Yes, there where some definite breakdowns in the run game against teams like the Seahawks, Rams, Vikings and the Giants. And I'm not suggesting that Soap is an all-Pro, and we definitely need to develop a long-term solution there (and Brandon Williams is ideal, so I have no argument with the pick). But the reality of the situation (as you said it) is that this team finished 4th in rushing yards allowed this year (1507 total yards). That's the 2nd best 49er defensive rush-yards total in 15 years, second only to last year (as you said, when Soap played at a very high level).
The team that crushed them twice this year was of course Seattle, but they ran over everyone (most attempts in the NFL, and 3rd most yards). Steven Jackson ran all over us after the bye week when the entire team seemed flat, but was held in check when we played them in St. Louis. Adrian Peterson was handled for most of the Minn game; it was Ponder's scrambling that really hurt the run defense that day. Ahmad Bradshaw did run all over us; no excuses there.
So in reality, Marshawn Lynch (twice), Ahmad Bradshaw (not a particularly big back, btw, but definitely a tough inside runner) and Steven Jackson (once) had success against us. The rest of the RBs in the league didn't do much against our defense. In terms of sheer defensive production which helped lead to the 4th ranked rush defense in the league, I can live with that kind of NT play.
Somebody has to stay, whether its Soap or RJF...worst case scenario Ian Williams starts, but with a guy like Brandon Williams, you really do have to work him in, allow him to start treading water before you throw him into the deep end.
As far as the NT play, its the single biggest area where the 49ers can improve on an existing starter.