Well, it’s no secret our secondary did not look good during Sunday’s tumble to the Texans. Deshaun Watson, although a great QB, dismantled the secondary for 400+ yards with 5 incompletions connecting on 28 of 33 passes.
The secondary seemed lost most of the day, Ricardo Allen looked to be the only guy out there that knew what was happening while going up against some very slick receivers simply couldn’t operate effectively. I do think this is a scheme issue and execution from players — lots of out of position issues and blown assignments.
It’s been said many times that we have the talent to compete, but the execution isn’t there, no one seems to be able to figure out why the results aren’t translating from practice to game day.
The simplest formula I can come up with is, If the D-line can create pressure, it will mask any deficiencies in our secondary, much like a good secondary can create coverage sacks forcing be QB to hold the ball longer… SF made this happen on Monday night, their D-line tortured Cleveland’s O-line, and it paid off for the 49ers defensive backs, essentially making Cleveland’s talented receiving corps irrelevant.
As far as, our talent in the secondary, losing Neal does hurt, but it’s not the reason for our struggles.
Trufant is a great corner; he can do it all simply because he has the speed to recover if he misses a step or two. He is a guy that can play off the ball a little and recover quickly.
Oliver, on the other hand, is a bigger, longer corner and simply isn’t quick enough in those 5-8 yards off positions we seem to be playing in zones. His size means nothing if he’s not contesting catches, and truthfully I think Oliver has shown he can thrive in a pressman to man role. That’s how you use his size, Oliver’s going to make mistakes he’s a young guy, but it’s important not to disrupt his confidence.
Sheffield is our speedster and has made plays on special teams like the forced fumble he created in the win against Philadelphia. Quinn has noted that Sheffield is ready to take live reps in games, so why not? If we’re getting beat in coverage what do we have to lose?
Kazee and Ishmael are heavy hitters and box safety guys. Ishmael is more of a linebacker hybrid as to where Kazee is a ball-hawking nickel type player.
Rico is the defensive quarterback, and he’s holding guys accountable, but he needs buy-in from the remaining members of the secondary. Allen seems to have a good handle on what Quinn is trying to do, but he can’t put players in the right spots mid-play.
I suppose the moral of the story is we don’t seem to be deploying this talent the right way. If you want to play our talent vs. the opponent’s talent, back yard style, then that’s fine, scrap a lot of the zone stuff and play man to man press coverage and be aggressive. We are getting beat, so why not send a safety blitz and try to get home. Zones are allowing too many underneath completions, and quarterbacks are going to take that all day.
In order to stick with the slogan trends of Dan Quinn (which I personally love), here’s one that I think our team needs right now “Don’t limit the challenges, Challenge your limits.”
Rise up –