Many believe that San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is coaching for his job. While the defensive unit currently ranks at No. 11 in yards allowed and in the top 15 in both passing and rushing yards allowed, it ranks at No. 29 in points allowed.

Short of one major miscue by safety Adrian Colbert, the defense played reasonably well this past Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. It was the offense that could not put up points or even hold onto the football despite turning in some pretty impressive statistics.

Still, the defense has failed to take the leap expected in year two under Saleh. Will he return to the 49ers in 2019? Matt Barrows of The Athletic joined the "No Huddle Podcast" this week and provided his answer to that question.

"I think that Kyle Shanahan would love to retain him," Barrows told Al Sacco. "That would be his instinct to do that because they don't want to bring in a new coordinator and have a group of young guys learn a new defense."

Barrows pointed out that at this point last year, everyone was talking about a potential reunion between the 49ers and Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Some saw Saleh as a placeholder until a more experienced coach could be brought in. By the end of last season, that talk had dissipated because of the defense's improvement on the field.

"I actually think that's going to be the case this year," Barrows continued. "The question will and should arise: Why weren't they playing better at the beginning of the season? But I think, by the end, it's a young group, they're in year two of the system, the schedule is a little bit more amenable by the end of the year. I think all those factors mean that the defense will be playing better.

"My guess is that Saleh retains his job."

Also discussed with Barrows during the episode:

  • How Marquise Goodwin's injury has impacted the passing game.
  • The potential psychological damage of continuing to lose games.
  • Some of the positives on defense from Sunday's performance against the Cardinals.
  • Was Kyle Shanahan too lax with the team this offseason?
  • Finding a pass rusher in next year's draft.
  • Matt Breida's injury history

Plus, Zain Naqvi joins Sacco to discuss where the team is headed after yet another season appears to be slipping away before the calendar hits November.

You can listen to the latest "No Huddle Podcast" episode below, from our dedicated podcast page, on iTunes, Google Play, or SoundCloud.