Originally posted by SFL49ER:
The team knows that the defense flows thru the NT. The defense has played good. Even before injuries came up, the plugger in the middle would not only allow Willis and Bowman to fill the holes and hold teams to 3 yards MAXX in the ground game, and it took pressure and responsibility off Smith and McDonald so they could occupy their two blockers and allow more rush from the outside. And if we pressured like we have with Aldon, then the offense would slide someone in to help block, which obviously took away a route in passing downs. But that was in 2012 and 2011. Now we give up 5 yards a pop.
On the surface, it looks like the run D is still dominant and it has played better with Dorsey holding the anchor in the last few weeks (Rams, Texans, Cardinals) --and even the Texans could've keep punching with their effective running game-- but its only effective because Justin and RayMac are such dominant players at their position. This cannot be overstated...,>>> They are being relied on way too much and even they are getting beat in the second half of games because teams are going right after them and they cant hold up enough for what their being asked to do.
Remember 2011 run defense? Not a single rushing TD until week 14 or ?? If we had that NT now AND the range we have at FS together wow , watch out.
But No, a few posters look at stats and think we have sufficient enough defenders to stop teams running games, but it wont work down the stretch with Justin and RayMac exhausted from carrying all this weight on the back end of the schedule
Mark my words, its going to happen. Our run D will be our doom if we keep running our dominant DEs into the ground without players to truly spell them and keep them fresh. Im not even sure a healthy Dorsey is enough at NT to keep our Defense elite in December.
A better NT will keep our Justin Smith playing at a high level, but without that right now, no one can tell me any different
All of this is something I was talking about around draft time last year. I think Dorsey has done well, but I'd still be on the lookout for a guy that could potentially dominate at NT. This would help take the pressure off of our DEs. After taking a WR (or two), corner, and safety, we still could take a NT with one of our first 5 picks. In 2014, I can see us having Dorsey, Williams, and a rookie at NT, with Smith, McDonald, Carradine, and Dobbs at DE, with Dial possibly backing up at both positions. Or at least this is how I saw it before I found up Dial was up to 350 pounds lol. If this is the case, then maybe then use that pick on someone who can backup both positions (basically our new Ricky Jean-Francois).
We need talented guys so there isn't much of a drop off when we rotate other D-lineman in. Both Justin and Ray Mac are playing less snaps than they did last season which shows a commitment to not burning the guys out considering the injuries we've had up front on defense. Ideally when our guys is healthy, it would be great it that number were between 60-70% of the snaps for both our starting defensive ends.
[ Edited by LifelongNiner on Oct 19, 2013 at 5:33 PM ]