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2019 Defensive Progress & Robert Saleh Hot-seat Tracker

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10/17/18 - In defense of Robert Saleh.. (no pun intended)..

Look, I am not thrilled with the big mistakes and I have been very critical of him at times this year myself, but at the same time I can't ignore that he adjusts well and does some other good things. Statistically we are better than last season and if you thoroughly evaluate the unit, you'd start to realize maybe it's not as bad as some think.

Indications are that players may be more to blame so I'm trying not to be too emotional about how I assess him.

Indications are that while it was a rough start and there's still room for improvement, we actually have improved from last season in a lot of areas, especially third down defense. Our tackling has gotten better recently as well. I think maybe they put too much faith in Warner to relay information as a rookie, but they probably expected him to get through those growing pains quicker. I see them trying to address issues like penalties by pulling Witherspoon off the field. I see them playing the more effective guys (Day, Blair) more often now even though they aren't making the most money.

People are quick to point out the points per game allowed while completely ignoring the fact that our offense is the worst in the league at turning it over, and not just turning it over, but turning it over in scoring position for the opponent. On top of that, we've played four top ten offenses so far and face the #1 offense in the league this week.


Yet, currently, this is where we rank statistically right now:

Total Yards/Game: 19th
Passing Yards/Game: 25th
Rushing Yards/Game: 13th
Yards/play: 16th
Passing yards/play: 13th
Rushing yards/play: 10th
3rd down defense: 12th

Considering the units we've faced and the fact that we have no legitimate pass rusher, #2 corner, or the single high safety this defense needs, evidence points to this being a defense that is better than people think. Evidence shows that we've steadily worked to address problems we had early on in the season (tackling, penalties, third downs), and with that being true, it's reasonable to expect we are going to correct the missed assignments as well. Evidence indicates that perhaps we're jumping the gun in roasting Saleh and calling for him to be fired.

Final thoughts: There are.. As odd as it is to say.. A lot of positive things we've got going. This doesn't mean Saleh has been perfect and can't be better in some ways, but this defense had a lot of issues to fix and maybe we need to be less emotional and recognize it takes time to fix that many problems -- problems which largely appear to be due to lack of experience and a lack of difference-making talent at a few key positions in this scheme.

10/19/18 - After days of discussion and the case made to assess levels of responsibility for the problems we've had on defense, it's now time to let the season play out and give Saleh a chance over the remaining games to show if he truly deserves to stay. It's simply too early to make that call. If we're still having issues by the final game, obviously one could make a much stronger case that there is a major coaching issue. I see zero chance we replace him mid-season, so let's see what happens.

Outside of statistical tracking methods, we obviously want to take a look at some issues that can have a direct effect on those stats, including:

* Blown assignments/communication

* Situational awareness/coaching

* Reasonable use of timeouts when defense appears confused
[ Edited by OnTheClock on Oct 19, 2018 at 9:00 AM ]
The scheme we run doesn't rely on our thinking as much as it does out playing your opponent. This scheme requires a great deal of talent, we simply don't have the horses to run it...yet
my biggest issue is not moving around your best pieces.. i mean i get sherman is better on the right, but when you go up against the #1 qb in the league who has 1 wr far and away better than everyone else on that team, you have to have sherman follow. keep the same scheme, but at least have sherman follow Adams. he is literally on pace for possibly the greatest year a corner has ever had = allowing 1 reception per 99 coverage snaps (NFL record is 1/31.1)

I know that this is partially due to the fact that everyone else cant cover so teams avoid him, but he's still only allowed 2 rec for 28 yards on 10 targets.
the rest, i'm with you OTC
Originally posted by OnTheClock:
(No pun intended by the way...)

Look, I am not thrilled with the big mistakes and I have been very critical of him at times this year myself, but at the same time I can't ignore that he adjusts well and does some other good things. Statistically we are better than last season and if you thoroughly evaluate the unit, you'd start to realize maybe it's not as bad as some think.

Indications are that players may be more to blame so I'm trying not to be too emotional about how I assess him.

Indications are that while it was a rough start and there's still room for improvement, we actually have improved from last season in a lot of areas, especially third down defense. Our tackling has gotten better recently as well. I think maybe they put too much faith in Warner to relay information as a rookie, but they probably expected him to get through those growing pains quicker. I see them trying to address issues like penalties by pulling Witherspoon off the field. I see them playing the more effective guys (Day, Blair) more often now even though they aren't making the most money.

People are quick to point out the points per game allowed while completely ignoring the fact that our offense is the worst in the league at turning it over, and not just turning it over, but turning it over in scoring position for the opponent. On top of that, we've played four top ten offenses so far and face the #1 offense in the league this week.


Yet, currently, this is where we rank statistically right now:

Total Yards/Game: 19th
Passing Yards/Game: 25th
Rushing Yards/Game: 13th
Yards/play: 16th
Passing yards/play: 13th
Rushing yards/play: 10th
3rd down defense: 12th

Considering the units we've faced and the fact that we have no legitimate pass rusher, #2 corner, or the single high safety this defense needs, evidence points to this being a defense that is better than people think. Evidence shows that we've steadily worked to address problems we had early on in the season (tackling, penalties, third downs), and with that being true, it's reasonable to expect we are going to correct the missed assignments as well. Evidence indicates that perhaps we're jumping the gun in roasting Saleh and calling for him to be fired.

Final thoughts: There are.. As odd as it is to say.. A lot of positive things we've got going. This doesn't mean Saleh has been perfect and can't be better in some ways, but this defense had a lot of issues to fix and maybe we need to be less emotional and recognize it takes time to fix that many problems -- problems which largely appear to be due to lack of experience and a lack of difference-making talent at a few key positions in this scheme.


Excellent post these metrics show the defense is improving and the defense lacks talent and experience.

Brock by brick applies to both sides of the ball.
  • cciowa
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 53,824
Why does this idiot get and deserve 3 threads
lost count of how many times one of our DL was out covering a TE, RB or WR. moron
Great post. I imagine once we give him some edge rushers and a pass rush this d will be pretty good.
Originally posted by TheWooLick:
Originally posted by OnTheClock:
(No pun intended by the way...)

Look, I am not thrilled with the big mistakes and I have been very critical of him at times this year myself, but at the same time I can't ignore that he adjusts well and does some other good things. Statistically we are better than last season and if you thoroughly evaluate the unit, you'd start to realize maybe it's not as bad as some think.

Indications are that players may be more to blame so I'm trying not to be too emotional about how I assess him.

Indications are that while it was a rough start and there's still room for improvement, we actually have improved from last season in a lot of areas, especially third down defense. Our tackling has gotten better recently as well. I think maybe they put too much faith in Warner to relay information as a rookie, but they probably expected him to get through those growing pains quicker. I see them trying to address issues like penalties by pulling Witherspoon off the field. I see them playing the more effective guys (Day, Blair) more often now even though they aren't making the most money.

People are quick to point out the points per game allowed while completely ignoring the fact that our offense is the worst in the league at turning it over, and not just turning it over, but turning it over in scoring position for the opponent. On top of that, we've played four top ten offenses so far and face the #1 offense in the league this week.


Yet, currently, this is where we rank statistically right now:

Total Yards/Game: 19th
Passing Yards/Game: 25th
Rushing Yards/Game: 13th
Yards/play: 16th
Passing yards/play: 13th
Rushing yards/play: 10th
3rd down defense: 12th

Considering the units we've faced and the fact that we have no legitimate pass rusher, #2 corner, or the single high safety this defense needs, evidence points to this being a defense that is better than people think. Evidence shows that we've steadily worked to address problems we had early on in the season (tackling, penalties, third downs), and with that being true, it's reasonable to expect we are going to correct the missed assignments as well. Evidence indicates that perhaps we're jumping the gun in roasting Saleh and calling for him to be fired.

Final thoughts: There are.. As odd as it is to say.. A lot of positive things we've got going. This doesn't mean Saleh has been perfect and can't be better in some ways, but this defense had a lot of issues to fix and maybe we need to be less emotional and recognize it takes time to fix that many problems -- problems which largely appear to be due to lack of experience and a lack of difference-making talent at a few key positions in this scheme.


Excellent post these metrics show the defense is improving and the defense lacks talent and experience.

Brock by brick applies to both sides of the ball.

Agree - both posts.
Lets keep this thread for reasoned comments like the OP. There is enough abuse in the other thread.
Originally posted by GolittaCamper:
The scheme we run doesn't rely on our thinking as much as it does out playing your opponent. This scheme requires a great deal of talent, we simply don't have the horses to run it...yet

Right, that's true. It's a combination. Guys have to execute the basics too. Like Sherman said, there's no excuse to blowing football 101 concepts. The coaches shouldn't ever have to get on your case for playing the opposite coverage of what was called. If Saleh calls man and the corner plays zone, wide open receivers result and that's on the player. They should know better by now. If your boss tells you to come in at 8, and you come in at 11 instead and say oh I forgot, you'll get written up or fired. That's right on the same level of what's happened out there recently.

I agree that the defense needs to be looked at as a whole.

We were -3 in turnover ratio last year, -11 this year. Stud yesterday researched and noted that 37 points have been scored off TO's. Even ST's are contributing to that.

The last 8 games last year we played a string of pretty crappy QB's outside of Wilson. There's no question we've played better QB's this year.

Injuries seem on par to last year.

The last 8 games we gave up 20.5 PPG. So far this year, 29.8. And no doubt the TO's and competition has contributed to that significantly. Unfortunately, TO's = automatic TD's.

Obviously, with 1,200 pounds of beef up front and our clear strength, why would the opposition run the ball esp. when they can pass with ease esp. with zero pass rush to worry about? The run defense and pass defense stats reflects that.

However, those are the end results of the following concerns:

Slow starts, total lack of recognition of common concepts by the opposition (diamond formation), total personnel regression from last year despite another full off season and simplified scheme to boot, odd personnel choices and preferences, lack of development of young players, only 3 TO's again, last in sacks, poor situational awareness, continual poor communication issues, poor fundamentals (tackling/angles/form), inability to call TO's, players confused pre snap, inability to coach up players on situational awareness (Mabin vs. GB), inability to provide help to a DB getting abused, slow to make adjustments, zero changes to personnel (definition of insanity is...), scrape-exchange still can't be executed properly, trail concept fails, gap integrity blows still (1-legged Rodgers), blown coverages, constant bull rushing (vs. 1/2 man), rotating CB's, 3rd and longs, etc.

The bottom line is Saleh is a very green DC and HC/OC's are exposing him this year. He's trying to adjust by running varying coverages but his defense is wildly ill-prepared and late to adjust or can't adjust at all. And it's only going to get worse as the L's pile up and the morale drops.

Everyone knew coming in he was missing a true ER but he also seems to be fixated on run defenders and seemed fine with players like Armstead, Ward and Marsh as playing significant roles in this defense.

Now the latest shift is blaming talent. To me, both are accurate. 1. We're clearly missing some key personnel to make this scheme run more effectively and 2. Robert Saleh isn't a good DC today.

He and all of his assistants need to be critically evaluated this off season. Kyle is scheming up magic on the offensive side with crucial injuries across the board and different personnel in and out of the lineup. The defense needs to be held to the same standard.
[ Edited by NCommand on Oct 17, 2018 at 9:14 AM ]
Originally posted by ChazBoner:
lost count of how many times one of our DL was out covering a TE, RB or WR. moron

Zone blitzes or zone drops are designed to get quick pressure and/or obstruct passing lanes to force mistakes by the quarterback, but it requires the line to actually get through, and if they don't, that's what happens and it looks worse than it really is.
Originally posted by NCommand:
I agree that the defense needs to be looked at as a whole.

We were -3 in turnover ratio last year, -11 this year. Stud yesterday researched and noted that 37 points have been scored off TO's. Even ST's are contributing to that.

The last 8 games last year we played a string of pretty crappy QB's outside of Wilson. There's no question we've played better QB's this year.

Injuries seem on par to last year.

The last 8 games we gave up 20.5 PPG. So far this year, 29.8. And no doubt the TO's and competition has contributed to that significantly. Unfortunately, TO's = automatic TD's.

Obviously, with 1,200 pounds of beef up front and our clear strength, why would the opposition run the ball esp. when they can pass with ease esp. with zero pass rush to worry about? The run defense and pass defense stats reflects that.

However, those are the end results of the following concerns:

Slow starts, total lack of recognition of common concepts by the opposition (diamond formation), total personnel regression from last year despite another full off season and simplified scheme to boot, odd personnel choices and preferences, lack of development of young players, only 3 TO's again, last in sacks, poor situational awareness, continual poor communication issues, poor fundamentals (tackling/angles/form), inability to call TO's, players confused pre snap, inability to coach up players on situational awareness (Mabin vs. GB), inability to provide help to a DB getting abused, slow to make adjustments, zero changes to personnel (definition of insanity is...), scrape-exchange still can't be executed properly, trail concept fails, gap integrity blows still (1-legged Rodgers), blown coverages, constant bull rushing (vs. 1/2 man), rotating CB's, etc.

The bottom line is Saleh is a very green DC and HC/OC's are exposing him this year. He's trying to adjust by running varying coverages but his defense is wildly ill-prepared and late to adjust or can't adjust at all. And it's only going to get worse as the L's pile up and the morale drops.

Everyone knew coming in he was missing a true ER but he also seems to be fixated on run defenders and seemed fine with players like Armstead, Ward and Marsh as playing significant roles in this defense.

Now the latest shift is blaming talent. To me, both are accurate. 1. We're clearly missing some key personnel to make this scheme run more effectively and 2. Robert Saleh isn't a good DC today.

He and all of his assistants need to be critically evaluated this off season. Kyle is scheming up magic on the offensive side with crucial injuries across the board and different personnel in and out of the lineup. The defense needs to be held to the same standard.

Kyle's offense is atop the NFL for turnovers. Magic?
The onus is on John Lynch for letting go of Dumervil and not drafting or acquiring a pass rusher to replace him. This front office put this guy in a horrible position.

And I don't care how much Saleh loves his big ends. If Lynch is listening to him like a robot and acquiescing him on his demands without thinking about it, then he should take ownership and solve the problems himself.

Now it is too late. We will be the top 5 worst defense in the league this year because of foolishness. I'm not deflecting 100% of the criticism away from Saleh, but fans need stop giving him 100% of the blame. The talent level on this team should stop being overrated. It's terrible in many areas.
  • cciowa
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 53,824
Originally posted by OnTheClock:
Originally posted by ChazBoner:
lost count of how many times one of our DL was out covering a TE, RB or WR. moron

Zone blitzes or zone drops are designed to get quick pressure and/or obstruct passing lanes to force mistakes by the quarterback, but it requires the line to actually get through, and if they don't, that's what happens and it looks worse than it really is.

did you see the game. it turned out bad.. and tell me please why we allowed the packer wide outs to work the sidelines late knowing they had no time outs left???? that is basic football and even espn people were saying.. i have no clue what the niners are doing. but of course we skip over that stuff
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