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What is your biggest priority for improving the 2013 roster?

Originally posted by jacklegniner:
I've said this to other people and I'm glad people feel the same. The NT is probably the most important part of a 3-4 D. We had guys in there to keep us going but what I want out of this draft is a Haloti Ngata type guy. I don't know who compares to him in this years draft but if there is one, I say trade however many picks to get him. We have 14 picks and maybe more with an Alex trade. 14 guys will not make this Pro-bowl roster filled team. They will be waisted picks. We need to trade away for future draft picks or group picks together to trade up etc...

We have a lot of talent on D but a good NT will make teams one dimensional. They won't be able to run on us. That was the case 2 years ago but this year it was up and down.

Whether you agree or not, who is most like Ngata in this years draft?

There's no guys like Ngata but Jesse Williams is similar in the regard that he's very versatile, you can move him around along the defensive line as he can play pretty much anywhere. He won't give you much in the way of pass rush but he's an absolute beast in terms of holding his ground, controlling his assignment, stuffing the run and engaging multiple blockers.
Dana Stubblefield
Originally posted by Phoenix49ers:
The 49ers ability to stop the run has more to do with all the exceptional talent around Soap than any particular contributions by him. Like I said, he's a mediocre NT, he gets beat by a single blocker far too often, allowing RB's to get into the second level, he's not consistent and his performance has been subpar, one reason I suspect his percentage of snaps dropped this year from last while the rest of the DL played a relatively similar amount of snaps.

There's no coincidence that in games where he struggled a lot, the 49ers as a whole struggled on defense, even if other individual players around him performed fairly well and stuck to their assignments.
Sop has never been one of my favoites but he has done a pretty good job at NT the passed two years. I've never liked a three man line until this team switched and now they are winning me over...sort of. It is so hard to find a dominant NT who can collapse the pocket that I always thought it easier to use four linemen. Of course, this team does that often when Aldon puts his hand down or they sub for Sop.

This year wavered more when J Smith was injured, then the line seemed less impactful. I really watched the middle and while Sop did not get the push we would all like, he was very seldom pushed out of position. Perhas we have a difference of opinion based on expectations? If one or two of these 6'5" 340lbers are truley great then fine, but I don't think they will automatically be as good or as consistent as Sop.
[ Edited by dtg_9er on Feb 7, 2013 at 7:00 AM ]
Originally posted by Phoenix49ers:
Originally posted by Joecool:
Yeah but we never really ran any creative blitzes like BAL does either.

Maybe the weakness is Fangio. I mean, there are no other players in the league on defense who have played anywhere near the number of minutes our defensive players have played. That is coaching fail. A good defense doesn't deteriorate because one DT isn't 100%.

It's the way this defense is setup. In a 3-4, the NT is supposed to take up multiple blockers to free up the linebackers. In this defense, the NT takes up one blocker and you have a spectacular defensive end that requires multiple blockers, opening things up for others. If you're going to play a 3 man front, someone on that line HAS to take up more than one blocker, otherwise it doesn't work and you're better of going to a 4-3 alignment at that point.


The 49ers need to find an NT that will be a handful for defenses to block, combine that with a healthy Justin Smith and you have a truly monstrous DL. Forgetting sacred cows, this team should continually be looking to upgrade DL and find players better than what they already have.


I'm glad you keep stressing this point, because you're right. Soap was much better last year and did command a double at times. Our pass rush and run defense showed it. This year he's not only doing that but is getting moved all around. I'm starting to feel that NT is the number one priority and not DE. Curious what your thoughts are.
Originally posted by barrymartin:
I'm glad you keep stressing this point, because you're right. Soap was much better last year and did command a double at times. Our pass rush and run defense showed it. This year he's not only doing that but is getting moved all around. I'm starting to feel that NT is the number one priority and not DE. Curious what your thoughts are.

To me NT is the #1 priority with DE a close second. My logic is that Justin Smith, whose recovery will take 2-3 months from surgery, will be starting along with Ray McDonald next season, a rookie DE will provide depth and rotate in regularly. A rookie NT could very well end up with the bulk of the playing time at that position on the 49ers. NT is the only position where I see this team being able to replace a current starter on the defense immediately.
Originally posted by dtg_9er:
Sop has never been one of my favoites but he has done a pretty good job at NT the passed two years. I've never liked a three man line until this team switched and now they are winning me over...sort of. It is so hard to find a dominant NT who can collapse the pocket that I always thought it easier to use four linemen. Of course, this team does that often when Aldon puts his hand down or they sub for Sop.

This year wavered more when J Smith was injured, then the line seemed less impactful. I really watched the middle and while Sop did not get the push we would all like, he was very seldom pushed out of position. Perhas we have a difference of opinion based on expectations? If one or two of these 6'5" 340lbers are truley great then fine, but I don't think they will automatically be as good or as consistent as Sop.

Not sure exactly what you were seeing, but Soap was getting blown off the ball with frightening regularity this season. Its one reason his snaps decreased so much from last season. He wasn't even close to being effective, you can't have an NT in a 3 man front getting shoved out of the play by a single blocker. He dramatically regressed this year in every fashion, pass rush and run stopping, its why big backs had so much success going up the middle against this defense at times. Soap's issues made things tougher for Willis and Bowman and this to me is the defining issue of what the teams to improve on the most for next season.


The reason the defensive issue started when Justin went down is because he was the only guy on the DL drawing a double team with regularity, you can't have a 3 man front being blocked man on man, that's a recipe for disaster.
True. Bottom line is, the teams we struggled with re: the run were those who had bruiser RB's and we faced quite a few last year. The OL's are getting bigger (also where we struggled with a pass rush).

Therefore, we need to get bigger, wider, stronger and teach Aldon how to play off blocks and seal the edge like Brooks. Nobody ever ran to that side b/c he is strong enough to push up field (sealing the edge) and forcing RB's back inside. He can also provide QB pressure, sacks and can certainly play off blocks WHILE sealing the edge.

Maybe next year, we'll rotate Aldon in with a more stellar edge-sealer AND he can work on staying fresh and making those TFL late down the stretch. Like with Frank, we need to keep all these guys fresh with a no-drop-off-in-talent rotation with the front 5.
[ Edited by NCommand on Feb 7, 2013 at 12:03 PM ]
Originally posted by Phoenix49ers:
Originally posted by barrymartin:
I'm glad you keep stressing this point, because you're right. Soap was much better last year and did command a double at times. Our pass rush and run defense showed it. This year he's not only doing that but is getting moved all around. I'm starting to feel that NT is the number one priority and not DE. Curious what your thoughts are.

To me NT is the #1 priority with DE a close second. My logic is that Justin Smith, whose recovery will take 2-3 months from surgery, will be starting along with Ray McDonald next season, a rookie DE will provide depth and rotate in regularly. A rookie NT could very well end up with the bulk of the playing time at that position on the 49ers. NT is the only position where I see this team being able to replace a current starter on the defense immediately.


Thanks for the info. Guess we will all be busy doing our draft homework determining the best NT and DE to draft..
Originally posted by NCommand:
True. Bottom line is, the teams we struggled with re: the run were those who had bruiser RB's and we faced quite a few last year. The OL's are getting bigger (also where we struggled with a pass rush).

Therefore, we need to get bigger, wider, stronger and teach Aldon how to play off blocks and seal the edge like Brooks. Nobody ever ran to that side b/c he is strong enough to push up field (sealing the edge) and forcing RB's back inside. He can also provide QB pressure, sacks and can certainly play off blocks WHILE sealing the edge.

Maybe next year, we'll rotate Aldon in with a more stellar edge-sealer AND he can work on staying fresh and making those TFL late down the stretch. Like with Frank, we need to keep all these guys fresh with a no-drop-off-in-talent rotation with the front 5.


That certainly worked the first year Aldon was hear. It is now very clear that one of the biggest factors in our fade on defense was they were simply playing too many plays. Probably means acquiring one starter at NT, strong rotation at DE and more depth that is quality.
Originally posted by barrymartin:
That certainly worked the first year Aldon was hear. It is now very clear that one of the biggest factors in our fade on defense was they were simply playing too many plays. Probably means acquiring one starter at NT, strong rotation at DE and more depth that is quality.

True! And, basically, we're getting 3 red-shirt freshman back next year by virtue of PUP list. Cam Johnson, Darius Fleming and of course (Haralson). All now have a year of mental reps in OUR defense and all have probably physically gotten stronger/bigger.
[ Edited by NCommand on Feb 7, 2013 at 12:45 PM ]
It's going to be an off-season of re-tooling the defense and luckily, the same things they probably want to do for their D-line is in harmony with the best way to deal with Russell Wilson. Think about it. They didn't see Russell Wilson coming last off season. Now, knowing they've got a quick, hard-throwing little 5'10" scat back under center, basically a modern version of Fran Tarkenton, they know exactly what to do - get bigger and taller on the D-line. You handle Russell Wilson the way the Steelers continually handled Tarkenton. ESPN, for example, has them taking Johnathan Jenkins with their first pick - he's a 6'4", 363 lb. (!) defensive tackle. ANd, there's also Jesse Williams who has been discussed. The point is what you do about Wilson. You get bigger on the inside so that you can have your OLB's guard the edges to keep him in the pocket while you crush the pocket with raw strength. At the same time, you have very big guys doing that so it's hard for the little guy to see his receivers and he has to look for lanes. They're going to shoot for that kind of D-line where they've got two guys, not one, who can always be occupying two blockers. If they go in that direction, and I think that's where they're going, Seahawks games are going to look a lot different next season.
We need a NT, DE, CB, Big Tall WR, and the best options from any other skill positions.
Originally posted by Phoenix49ers:
Not sure exactly what you were seeing, but Soap was getting blown off the ball with frightening regularity this season. Its one reason his snaps decreased so much from last season. He wasn't even close to being effective, you can't have an NT in a 3 man front getting shoved out of the play by a single blocker. He dramatically regressed this year in every fashion, pass rush and run stopping, its why big backs had so much success going up the middle against this defense at times. Soap's issues made things tougher for Willis and Bowman and this to me is the defining issue of what the teams to improve on the most for next season.


The reason the defensive issue started when Justin went down is because he was the only guy on the DL drawing a double team with regularity, you can't have a 3 man front being blocked man on man, that's a recipe for disaster.


I watched Sop make a lot of tackles in the middle for no gain this year. Also noticed that the niners moved him around a bit from G to G. Unless I hear from the coaches what the line call was and his responsibility its conjecture for me to assume he failed on a play. When I see him make a tackle I can at least know he succeeded.

But the main point I was trying to make is that you have to have a plan to replace a guy other than a rookie. Expecting a rookie to come in and start is also a recipe for disaster. Some people believe RJF can fill the bill but he did not bowl me over this year...may be more of a replacement for Justin down the road than Sop.
[ Edited by dtg_9er on Feb 7, 2013 at 3:18 PM ]
Originally posted by GNielsen:
It's going to be an off-season of re-tooling the defense and luckily, the same things they probably want to do for their D-line is in harmony with the best way to deal with Russell Wilson. Think about it. They didn't see Russell Wilson coming last off season. Now, knowing they've got a quick, hard-throwing little 5'10" scat back under center, basically a modern version of Fran Tarkenton, they know exactly what to do - get bigger and taller on the D-line. You handle Russell Wilson the way the Steelers continually handled Tarkenton. ESPN, for example, has them taking Johnathan Jenkins with their first pick - he's a 6'4", 363 lb. (!) defensive tackle. ANd, there's also Jesse Williams who has been discussed. The point is what you do about Wilson. You get bigger on the inside so that you can have your OLB's guard the edges to keep him in the pocket while you crush the pocket with raw strength. At the same time, you have very big guys doing that so it's hard for the little guy to see his receivers and he has to look for lanes. They're going to shoot for that kind of D-line where they've got two guys, not one, who can always be occupying two blockers. If they go in that direction, and I think that's where they're going, Seahawks games are going to look a lot different next season.

Holy crap! Imagine Aldon running inside off him as well as off the edge. Have Cowboy teach him how to occupy and move two OL aside for rushing lanes. That is scary.

I esp. like your points about gearing up to beat the Seahawks. They have a real chance to be one of the best teams in the NFL next year and if we can model to get past them in the playoffs, we'll be sitting pretty given we've already beaten (and are capable of beating) the top notch teams in the Falcons, GB, Saints, etc. (even the Pats and one play away from the Ravens).

If we can get a DE that can do this plus clog lanes and push up field coupled with a monster NT and a nice rotation, it will not allow Wilson to run outside b/c Brooks/Aldon will be there and it won't allow Skittles to run up inside either. DL is priority #1 IMHO.

PS: Would he play RDE or NT?
[ Edited by NCommand on Feb 7, 2013 at 4:04 PM ]
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by GNielsen:
It's going to be an off-season of re-tooling the defense and luckily, the same things they probably want to do for their D-line is in harmony with the best way to deal with Russell Wilson. Think about it. They didn't see Russell Wilson coming last off season. Now, knowing they've got a quick, hard-throwing little 5'10" scat back under center, basically a modern version of Fran Tarkenton, they know exactly what to do - get bigger and taller on the D-line. You handle Russell Wilson the way the Steelers continually handled Tarkenton. ESPN, for example, has them taking Johnathan Jenkins with their first pick - he's a 6'4", 363 lb. (!) defensive tackle. ANd, there's also Jesse Williams who has been discussed. The point is what you do about Wilson. You get bigger on the inside so that you can have your OLB's guard the edges to keep him in the pocket while you crush the pocket with raw strength. At the same time, you have very big guys doing that so it's hard for the little guy to see his receivers and he has to look for lanes. They're going to shoot for that kind of D-line where they've got two guys, not one, who can always be occupying two blockers. If they go in that direction, and I think that's where they're going, Seahawks games are going to look a lot different next season.

Holy crap! Imagine Aldon running inside off him as well as off the edge. Have Cowboy teach him how to occupy and move two OL aside for rushing lanes. That is scary.

I esp. like your points about gearing up to beat the Seahawks. They have a real chance to be one of the best teams in the NFL next year and if we can model to get past them in the playoffs, we'll be sitting pretty given we've already beaten (and are capable of beating) the top notch teams in the Falcons, GB, Saints, etc. (even the Pats and one play away from the Ravens).

If we can get a DE that can do this plus clog lanes and push up field coupled with a monster NT and a nice rotation, it will not allow Wilson to run outside b/c Brooks/Aldon will be there and it won't allow Skittles to run up inside either. DL is priority #1 IMHO.

PS: Would he play RDE or NT?


I like the sound of this but remember...you have to be able to catch the guy eventually! Quick OLB who can't be juked so easily would be a key. Aldon doesn't fit that need very well. Even Flacco was able to escape our pass rushers! Ouch! Of coures, he's pretty strong now.
[ Edited by dtg_9er on Feb 7, 2013 at 4:08 PM ]