Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by Giedi:
The guy is the defensive coordinator, and it's his job to advocate for his side of the LOS. It would be idiotic to think he doesn't have *any* say in the draft at all. Good DC's push for their players - after all, it's their job on the line too if the front office doesn't give them the tools to succeed. Now, Baalke has the ultimate last word on who is to be drafted, that's true. But my criticism isn't so much on how this organization drafts, as it's their defensive philosophy.
Again, the main thrust of my peeve is that they are not designed to win in the post season. When was the last time Walsh had all pro middle linebackers and won the Super Bowl? Nothing against P Willis or Bowman, but Walsh had 3 Super bowls and the emphasis and genius of his defense was to stop the pass, not the run. Seifert has two Super Bowl wins, and his first one was built on Walsh's defensive emphasis on stopping the pass, not the run, in the post season.
Seattle under Pete, essentially was using Seifert's defensive design, to win the last Super Bowl. While, our dome patrol defense keeps failing in the post season. In 1994, we didn't get a safety in free agency to put us over the top, we got a CB in Deion. Last three drafts, lots of cap space and draft resources was devoted to the safety position rather than the CB position. I think the fact that we haven't emphasized strong cornerback play, and emphasized strong front 7 play goes back to the dome patrol philosophy which hasn't won a Super Bowl as far as I know. That's my peeve on Fangio, not the fact that he drafts or doesn't draft. That's a side issue.
Yeah, we do tend to work backwards a bit. For instance, we lean heavily on the run while many teams basically only use it to keep defenses honest. Fangio could care less if you march up and down the field as long as you don't give up TD's or give up an easy bomb. That said, while many say the focus is on the front 7, and while we have the best 4 LB's in the game WITH rotational depth (esp. at OLB), he rarely changes up scheme or design and rarely rushes the ILB's, S's or CB's or overloads pass rushers to one side. In short, he's very vanilla. His coverage schemes on the back end are more elaborate (complicated) for sure. Playing off coverage 15 yards on 3rd and 5, I'll never understand esp. when he does this WHILE blitzing; talk about giving the QB an easy out. So there are quite a few head-scratching things he does esp. when he had a history/reputation with the Dome Patrol...it just seems that no matter coach comes here, they are VERY conservative from Nolan to Singletary to Fangio to Harbaugh/Roman. Fortunately for Fangio/HaRoman we have supreme talent that can run just about any scheme and get better and better in it. But at some point, like in the playoffs, you're right...coaching/game-planning is the difference between two equally talented teams. And I feel this is an area we clearly have been let down the past 3 years (from offense to defense to special teams).
Good takes guys. I just wanted to touch on the bolded. I was too young to remember how Seifert attacked schematically, whether he was trying to stop the run first or pass first. I do know that SEA plays to stop the run first. They often use a 6-2 front with a single high safety, and you don't do that if you are trying to stop the pass first. Every good defense tries to control the LoS first and foremost, and that's done by stopping the run. The 49ers have recently had good success keeping the lid on dynamic passing attacks such as NO, NE, and GB so the results are there. They do this by making the other team one dimensional, then they take it from there. Geidi, is there anything that makes you sure that Seifert was set on stopping the pass first, as opposed to the run? That seems very opposite to a traditional defensive philosophy.
NC, I agree that Fangio's strategies with regards to blitzing is rather vanilla and that the complexity in his scheme is mainly in the defensive backfield. He loves to disguise coverage. I think I can summarize his philosophy with regards to pass defense in two points:
- Make the QB hold onto the ball by making him think longer (this helps the pass rush)
- Don't give up big plays downfield
I think I know why Fangio has his CBs play with a cushion on 3rd downs. 3rd down is the money down as this is when OCs and DCs make their money. As a DC, the best way to know what the opposing offense thinks its strengths are is by studying what that offense does on 3rd downs. Since as an OC, 3rd down is where you go to your strengths. So suppose Fangio thinks he has the opposing offense scouted and has relayed his findings to the defense.
It's gameday and 3rd down comes around. Fangio has scouted the offense and knows their favorite tendencies (route combinations, formations, and concepts) that the offense likes to use on the money down. He then asks his CBs to play with a cushion to help them be able to read the play and jump routes. The results are there as the 49ers were tied for third (in the NFL) in 3rd down defense, allowing opponents to convert 34% of the time.
It does seem like Fangio/Donatell want some bigger CBs. This is most likely because they want the option of playing press or with a cushion, with equal effectiveness. This just gives the QB more to think about. Playing press with Brown and Rogers was not playing to their strengths as individuals. Brown is meh, but Rogers would get burnt if he lost on his bump since he had poor recovery speed. I don't think we'll ever see them stop playing with a cushion, because of the benefits it has, but I do see them playing press more often, in the name of giving opposing QBs/WRs more to think about.
It may seem stupid at times, but playing with a cushion is actually forcing the CB to think more as they are being asked to identify plays. Playing bump and run is very simple in terms of not forcing the CB to think much - it's all athleticism and instincts. The way I see it (and I'd love to hear other's takes):
Benefits of playing with a cushion:
- Help CB get a better view of developing route combinations (wideout and slot WR/TE in peripheral)
- Relieve pressure on safeties having to help right at the snap of the ball
- Able to see the QB handoff to the RB without losing sight of the WR
- Attack downhill on run plays
- Able to read the QB drop while keeping an eye on the WR (knowing if it's a 3/5/7 step drop gives clues to depth of the routes)
Cons to playing with cushion:
- Easy short completions if CB doesn't read the QB drop properly
- Give up WR screen passes
- CBs that can't think the game can't take advantage of its benefits