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Agree?: Lack of Depth Lead to our Bad Pass D

Originally posted by GNielsen:
You can't argue with what happened. The same secondary was effective when both Smiths were healthy and became ineffective when they were not healthy. It was a shut down secondary when the sacks were coming and not when they weren't. Now, I do think they should work on the secondary. I think Culliver needs work locating the ball in the air. I think they might need someone to compete with Whitner, someone faster.

But, I totally agree with Maiocco - they need more defensive linemen. And, they are lucky because this draft is deep with big, tall, high-quality defensive linemen. A 6'4", 320 lb. J. Hankins with his non-stop motor would be perfect to alternate with Justin Smith. And a huge, 6'4", 360 lb. J. Jenkins at nose tackle would consistently occupy two blockers while crushing the center of the pocket allowing Bowman and Willis to run free. Plus, they'll get a couple injured d-linemen back and they can pick up more in the later rounds. A few more D-linemen and a couple more d-backs out of those 14 picks fixes this defense as far as I'm concerned.

+1
Personally, the only difference from last year was that Carlos Rogers hauled in more INTs.. This year, as solid as he was, he dropped about 4 INTs and QBs didn't hesitate to throw the ball on his side..

Another reason in my opinion is that aside from the 1st game (GBay), we didn't really call a lot of blits this year..

Chris Culliver also played w/ too much confidence that lead to penalties after penalties.. By the time we got in the playoffs, those freakin zebras just blew their whistles even when Culliver was not guilty.. Just like that 3rd down play in the Super Bowl..

Why can't the competition committee include the refs and have an agreement that foolish defensive past interference should also be called when the offensive player is guilty as well..
Originally posted by Wubbie:
Originally posted by Marvin49:
Well I partially agree.

I think we have issues in coverage from our safety position, but depth on the D-Line is an issue. Not rotating those players also has something to do with who they have to play those spots if they rotate (IE...they don't have much).

I can't go with the "thats on Trent Baalke" thing tho. Yeah, he needs to improve that position but it's not like there is any other team in the NFL who is completely without weaknesses. That just happens to be ours. There are only so many players on a roster.

You simply aren't going to have a team that is great at every position and have really good backups at all of those positions as well. That's not reasonable.

The 49ers will do something to try and rectify that situation this offseason...but next year it might be something else that isn't perfect. All teams are flawed in some way...they just have to overcome those flaws.

Um, but it IS on Trent Baalke. Just because it's unrealistic to have a 100% great team, doesn't exempt him from having a weakness on the team. I'm sure he'd be the first to say that they can always do better. It's his responsibility to find 53 players and a practice squad, not just the starting 22 on offense and defense.
I'm not saying he did a bad job, because he's done phenomenally, but clearly he had a fundamental problem in building the team.

we did go into the reg season with 5 RB's (Gore, Walker, Dixon, James, Jacobs) and 6 WR's (Moss, Crabtree, Manningham, Ginn, Williams, Jenkins)

"who we should have kept instead" is up for discussion (and is a useless discussion at this point), but i'm just saying................................

(injures are hindsight)
[ Edited by 49erfeeeever808 on Feb 19, 2013 at 2:36 PM ]
The main problem with our defense is Fangio's reluctance to blitz...especially down the stretch when Justin Smith and the d-line wasn't collapsing the pocket anymore.

We needed to take a chance on D and Fangio never did that.
  • Wodwo
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 8,104
It's hard for me to buy this idea for a few reasons:

1. Many mistakes were made early in games, before fatigue should have set in.

2. Both this season and last, there were many times that the pass rush didn't get there right away, but the secondary still held up and helped create coverage sacks.

3. Team sport. It amazes me that people can't understand the concept. No need to play the blame game.

Plus, you don't just sub someone in for Justin Smith and expect to see no drop off. Maybe there could have been less drop off, but it's hard to say because we can't change history. That said, I'm hoping Baalke drafts a good defensive lineman or two because we will have to replace Justin at some point. I just can't see us getting anyone near as good, though.
I agree 100% with Maiocco. The stats are too dramatic to ignore and if you watched the New England game it was more stark a difference than ever. The problem is the current guys coming off the bench in rotation aren't good enough. Look for the team to upgrade both Soap if he doesn't restructure and RJF. Will Tukafu is known more as an offensive player than a defensive contributor. We need DL guys who are impact guys when they get on the field, not glorified FBs.

Yes there are communication issues in the secondary but nearly not enough to allow so many yards. Picks and turnovers were also way down this year - again tells me opposing offenses are more comfortable at the LOS relative to last year.

I had this mantra for the OL for years. Now it's time for the DL....

Fix the lines! Invest in the LOS. It always pays dividends and quickly.
[ Edited by NinerGM on Feb 19, 2013 at 5:30 PM ]
Originally posted by Wubbie:
Originally posted by Marvin49:
Well I partially agree.

I think we have issues in coverage from our safety position, but depth on the D-Line is an issue. Not rotating those players also has something to do with who they have to play those spots if they rotate (IE...they don't have much).

I can't go with the "thats on Trent Baalke" thing tho. Yeah, he needs to improve that position but it's not like there is any other team in the NFL who is completely without weaknesses. That just happens to be ours. There are only so many players on a roster.

You simply aren't going to have a team that is great at every position and have really good backups at all of those positions as well. That's not reasonable.

The 49ers will do something to try and rectify that situation this offseason...but next year it might be something else that isn't perfect. All teams are flawed in some way...they just have to overcome those flaws.

Um, but it IS on Trent Baalke. Just because it's unrealistic to have a 100% great team, doesn't exempt him from having a weakness on the team. I'm sure he'd be the first to say that they can always do better. It's his responsibility to find 53 players and a practice squad, not just the starting 22 on offense and defense.
I'm not saying he did a bad job, because he's done phenomenally, but clearly he had a fundamental problem in building the team.


I could be wrong or missing something but I think baalke is doing a good job at depth. Having keap for a backup then a.smith(until he's gone). Tolizen(I think) is even coo. He could be another a.smith, not a strong arm but can move the ball effectively. At RB, KH, LMJ & AD. I like that depth. At WR, RM, KW, TGJ(I think he better than he gets credit for, not by much but a lil bit). Nice depth again. Oline depth is weakness for me. LD(vet, seems decent), 1 or 2 up & comers. I'll take that. Dline another weakness. RJF(QB pressure/sack skills, run D is kinda bad but exp., watching JS, getting tips & picking his brain on the sidelines could help with that), dobbs & williams don't get rotated(!) enough to judge. At LB, Grant, gooden(I think, #56) not sure who else. Both are serviceable. I'll take that. At CB, cully, brock & perrish are all serviceable. Safety mayyybe the weak depth spot with spillman someone else. Extra draft picks & a.smith will let us know how good he really is.

Coaches' lack of rotating is a bigger problem than the depth baalke has provided for the team . Keep up with what I think is good job, baalke & go niners
I agree 100% with Maiocco--I have stated many times in this forum about getting back to the Walsh era style of rotating in fresh players along the D line.
The point can be debated over and over. The 49er teams under Coach Walsh always had a strong DL rotation. It's a safe bet to say that one or more of the top picks will be on the DL.
Agree? hell, I said that months ago!
Depth is a factor. The Justin Smith injury made us ineffecive. Aldon Smith disappeared. He also had an injury to a lessor extent. Those guys were useless at the end of the season. Partially because of injuries and not all their fault.
depth was a big issue, a guy like aldon went from playing in passing situations to basically never leaving the field, thats a big jump. we simply had too many starters on D hauling in over 90% of the seasons defensive snaps. however you've also got to factor in when you get to the playoffs you're playing the leagues better teams, and especially in this era of nfl ball, the leagues better passing teams. they're going to make some plays, more than say if you play arizona or miami. its part of the reason i dont buy too much into reg season stats when its time for the playoffs to roll around, nobody cares about your 2nd ranked this or 5th ranked that. when you're playing the big boys thats where you see how you line up. we got worn down, even 2 bye weeks after week 17 couldnt re-energize us
[ Edited by crabman82 on Feb 19, 2013 at 8:07 PM ]
I cannot remember who said it (may have been Justin Smith) but he said in an interview that the defense was really focused in 2011. It was a new coaching regime and the team was energized with its new success and went into each game totally focused. He said they made fewer mental errors in 2011 than in 2012. He didn't use the term, but Freddie P. Soft may have also played a role this year. The defense knew it was good, and perhaps took things for granted - too many mental mistakes.

This is why it is difficult to sustain excellence. Just the slightest fall-off in intensity or concentration can make a world of difference in the tightly competitive world of the NFL.
With Dobbs out they lost a valuable sub for J Smith. Fleming was out all year and Johnson was injured early. They have addressed depth in the draft but injuries reduced that depth. Dobbs had played well with Aldon in preseason (I know, it's preseason but they seemed in tune with each other).

But, as others have said, you just can't have a J Smith replacement on the bench waiting for action. If he's J Smith-like, he's on the field somewhere. Losing J Smith had an enormous impact on A Smith and the DBs. Healthy, his mobility and strength allows him to shut down the outside and allow A Smith to stunt inside. Watching him after the injury he was just bulling his way straight up field.
Originally posted by Wodwo:
It's hard for me to buy this idea for a few reasons:

1. Many mistakes were made early in games, before fatigue should have set in.
2. Both this season and last, there were many times that the pass rush didn't get there right away, but the secondary still held up and helped create coverage sacks.
3. Team sport. It amazes me that people can't understand the concept. No need to play the blame game.

Plus, you don't just sub someone in for Justin Smith and expect to see no drop off. Maybe there could have been less drop off, but it's hard to say because we can't change history. That said, I'm hoping Baalke drafts a good defensive lineman or two because we will have to replace Justin at some point. I just can't see us getting anyone near as good, though.

While I agree that a lot of our mistakes were made early-game, fatigue *does* still play a role. Look at our pass-rush at the beginning of the season, versus our pass-rush at the end of the season. Hell... look at our pass-rush LAST season versus our pass-rush this season. Remember when we had Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, and Isaac Sopoaga alone getting massive push from bull-rushes? They didn't seem to have that this season. I think they've accumulated a lot of mileage the last two years.

A good pass-rush can help a secondary out, while a good secondary can mask a bad pass rush. You can build both ways. We're built though, on the premise that we can rush 4 and drop everyone back in coverage. Likewise, teams like the Jets who have had strong cornerback play don't have the same level of pass-rushers we do, but blitz more. Our pass-rush just wasn't there in the playoffs, and likewise, our cornerbacks were exposed. I personally think it's better to have a strong pass-rush. We faced elite quarterbacks in the post-season, and they were all pretty red-hot. Often-times, our coverage was there, but the quarterback and receiver made perfect plays. Good QB/WR tandems *will* make their plays, regardless of the pass defender.. but a good pass-rush can disrupt a lot more, in my opinion.

That said, our secondary isn't as good as we think they are. All of our guys are solid, but there's not really a guy there that comes close to being a top-level cornerback. Again, I'm not saying we have bad cornerbacks, but they rely on a good pass-rush the majority of the time. They win their battles, of course, and help get the defense coverage sacks from time to time, but the strength of our defense is in our front 7. Obviously, we can upgrade our secondary this off-season, but I think it's easier to just get quality back-up defensive linemen.

But here's the question, how much faith do you have in Tukuafu, RJF, Dobbs, and our other back-up front 7 players? Personally, I thought we'd be fine if they ever came into the game, yet the coaching staff rarely subs them in. Are the backups not even rotation-quality players, or does the coaching staff not want to sub out our starters? Thoughts?