. . . but this bad? Wow. Losses like the Green Bay game are one thing. Being the overmatched scrappy underdogs almost scratching out a win on the road no less is one thing. Looking like bumbling fumbling idiots in your own house is another thing entirely.
Yes, we are a young team. Yes we have a shit-ton of injuries. Yes, we are thin across the board and have lost our starting QB, starting RB we built our offense around, and yes, the defense is young and inexperienced.
But the problems with last game are not of the young-team variety. They are of the monumental breakdowns in coverage time and time again. I can count 7 or 8 plays where a WR is left completely alone on a pass pattern that nets upwards of 30-40 yards. 3 guys cover one WR and someone else is wide open. As in no one within 15 yards of him. This isn’t an eager DB jumping a route. It is a breakdown in reading the WRs by the defense as a whole. Giuys not knowing their assignments when a situation comes up.
When these guys watch film, what do they say? Oh, gee, when the WRs crossed, everyone went to WR X. Witherspoon should have stayed with WR Y while the middle guys stayed with X. Hmmm, that was a 42 yard play.
Next play, WR X is lined up behind WR Y, and no one picks up X while Y runs a crossing route. X gets 40 yards because no one is there to stop him. Ooooh. 65 yard TD.
Next play . . . you get the idea.
It isn’t like we are seeing some brand-new routes. These are your basic run-of-the-mill crossing routes, post, and flag routes. We are simply not reading the plays right to get guys in position.
Even then, if we DO get in position, the DBs invariably drop the sure INT, but THAT is a different issue. The main problem is Robert Saleh seems unable to come up with a pass coverage scheme that is remotely effective.
We have 3 high #1 picks on the D line that give us very little. 1.5 seasons in to Saleh’s reign, and we have little to nothing to show for our defense. Aaron Donald did more in the Niner game than the entire team has done all year.
The ONLY decent stretch I’ve seen from this defense is the 3rd quarter of the Green Bay game. Saleh went press man coverage, and he blitzed Foster and Witherspoon, among others, to disrupt the Green Bay passing game. It worked for three possessions. Once Green Bay brought in an extra blocker to slow the blitzing, the comeback was on and our fate was sealed.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of season left ( or fortunately) to work this out, but I think Saleh is doing a shitty job with the D line especially. All that talent, and a group of young fast LBs in Foster and Warner have yielded nothing in the way of a cogent defensive plan. The line does well agaisnt the run, and we kept Todd Gurley in check for the most part, but all that does is ‘force’ teams to pass on us. To the usual 3rd down conversions and big plays.