Robert Saleh Days (AKA Saleh’s Revenge)

Color me blown away. One year ago to this very day, the 49ers were 1-6. Yes, they had lost their quarterback, and were struggling offensively,  but to say the defense was holding its end up was light years away from reality. By game 7 last year, the 49ers had given up 214 points on defense. An average of 31 points a game.

This year? 64 points. An average of 9 points a game! Unreal.

I was at the end of my rope with Robert Saleh as the team went through stretches where wide receivers were left wide open without a defender within 15 yards of them. 3rd down screen plays that gained 25 yards, and gashing runs that left the linemen chasing air.  As the drudgery of the wasted season dragged on, the defense did show signs of improvement. Some of that improvement came on the back of replacing the Beater with Nick Mullens and an offense that did more than in previous games, but guys weren’t left wide wide open, and the run defense incrementally improved.

We had a decent D line, but little else. The GLARING needs were pass rush, and turnovers. The braintrust went out and got Dee Ford, Kwon Alexander, and drafted Nick Bosa, and Dre Greenlaw. They, for all intents and purposes, ignored the defensive backfield (unless you count Jason (burnt toast) Verritt as a worthy addition. I don’t.

Hmmm. How has that worked out? Well, we are the #1 defense in yards/game, #1 in pass defense, #2 in points allowed/game, #8 in run defense yards/game, #5 in takeaways, #4 in interceptions, and #5 in sacks. We have given up the fewest 1st downs.

Sea change? Well, last to first defensively? Sure. What I think is interesting is the fact that they believed in the defensive backfield as it currently existed in 2018. Ahkello Witherspoon went from mediocre to spectacular. Emmanuel Moseley came out of nowhere (undrafted) to be a more-than- competent backup in Witherspoon’s absence. Oft-hurt Jimmie Ward played fantastic last week against the Rams, and has been a steadying force. Ad Richard Sherman? Well, he’s completely over his achilles problem and his pickless 2018 has been forgotten with his 2 picks so far, including the pick 6 vs Tampa.

 

 

About unca_chuck

Lifelong SF 49ers, SF Giants, and Golden State Warriors fan
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34 Responses to Robert Saleh Days (AKA Saleh’s Revenge)

  1. Winder says:

    Yeah, i was one of those critical of Saleh too. That was one of the major reasons for my 7-9 pick this year. That and i wasn’t sure about Jimmy G’s knee. Right now the D is hitting on all cylinders. Hard to tell about our offense at the moment with Staley, Jooz, and McGlinchy out. I wish we were getting them back for the Caro game.

  2. Berger says:

    I think getting Kris Kocurek was huge. We have much better edge rushers this year but last year’s weren’t terrible. They were about average. What the biggest problem was we were not aggressive with our D-line. We often rushed 3. That used to just kill me. All of that changed with Kocurek. With being passive on the front last year, the DBs were having to hold their coverage for too long. I’ve had a saying since the 80s, D-lines make all pros out of DBs. We are seeing it this year. Much better edge rushers and a much more aggressive scheme. Saleh gets much credit but I think with the old D-line coach we are not nearly as dominant on defense.

  3. Slobbie Gould says:

    This putrid O is a steaming pile that’ll get this team quickly bounced in the playoffs. But have no fear because Chuck’s favorite FG kicker that he doted on all off season should have a 60% completion rate by December!

  4. unca_chuck says:

    Your astounding football knowledge can be fit twice on the head of a pin, skippy the pinhead.

    No wonder you are so loved at the abandoned blog at the end of the cul de sac. Post another link, just like the thousand last links. The last turd on the left.

  5. unca_chuck says:

    Bergs, I wrote a thread about Kocurek way back in May about how well-respected he was as a pass rush schemer. Also about the wide nine, and Chris Kiffin, Lane Kiffin’s smarter younger brother providing input as well.

    And no, our outside pass rush last year was dogshit, Bergs. AA and Solly got 4 sacks between them. Their backups Marsh and Blair did better, but mostly in garbage time. 37 sacks was good enough for 22nd in the league and our starting DE’s had 4 of them.

  6. unca_chuck says:

    Not because we were passive, but because we couldn’t get there.

  7. unca_chuck says:

    Darnold looks terrible, but Gase is doing him no favors by running all these slow-developing plays for him all game. Every throw is off his back foot and under pressure. The knock on Gase has always been the dink and dunk style of his offense, but Darnold could use a little more of that.

    Speaking of Gase, he and Vic Fangio have amassed a stellar 2-10 record so far. There were some who wanted him badly. He hasn’t had a lot to work with, but come on, man. 24-29 and every season gets a little worse for him.

    NE gets another practice game win from the AFC East.

  8. Berger says:

    They weren’t pressuring up the middle last year like we do this year. If the QB can’t step up the edge rushers get more shots at the QB. We are seeing pockets just collapse from all sides at once on the QB this year. We just didn’t pressure up the middle last year, it was a bad scheme. I wrote about it before the year. We have one of the best pocket collapsars in the league in AA and we were using him on the edge. Just bad coaching. And then the peanut gallery rags on AA when it was just plain bad coaching. I outlined the scheme changes right here on this blog that had to be made. They’ve been made and on top of that we upgraded the edge rushing. Using AA on the edge in running situations is great, move him to the middle on passing downs. He crushes pockets. We didn’t use him for that last, this year we are. Our edge rushers would have got there more often last year if this scheme would have been employed. We even ran a lot of 3 man pass rushes last year. If the coaches aren’t aggressive the edge does not get there. Kocurek has been a difference maker.

  9. Berger says:

    Unca – You say the edge rushers were dog shit last year, I say they were average and the D-line coaching was dog shit last year. You and I will just have to agree to disagree.

    • unca_chuck says:

      Well, the whole group, except for De Fo underachieved. Coaching had a lot to do with it. Like I said though the D did incrementally improve as the season wore on.

      And they did away with that drop-the-LBs-15-yards-deep-on-3rd-and-long. I nearly threw my beer through my TV when I saw that in the TB game. They seem to be adjusting faster this year.

      Pressure from all sides is gonna be in huge demand when we face Kyler and RW in the next few weeks. We haven’t faced any mobile QBs yet, so containment is important.

  10. NJ49er says:

    Berger I added this kid to the 2020 Draft list already.
    Saw him play the other day and liked what I saw.

    https://utsports.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=10212

  11. unca_chuck says:

    Wow.Traded for Emmanuel Sanders for our 3rd and 4th round pick next year, and we get their 5th round pick.

  12. unca_chuck says:

    Our draft is gonna be paper thin next year, but I do like the move, if only for this year. We are decimated at WR and need someone who can step in and produce.

  13. unca_chuck says:

    Jennings ran a 4.27 40 in high school. Holy shit.

    As it is though, we have a 1st, 2 5ths, a 6th and a 7th. Got to get Jjennings early.

  14. Irish Kevin says:

    KNBR this morning, Niners rank 29th scoring in the red zone, not good, if we make the playoffs, this will be a big problem!

  15. Eeeeekmanuel Sanders says:

    I’ve been traded to the tech bro football team. And if they’re not bro’s they’re 67 year old men who drink cheap beer and run lame 49er blogs. There is no God.

  16. Winder says:

    They must either like the roster pretty much as is or they have a plan for picking up some more picks through trades. After paying the big bucks to Kittle, Defo, and a couple of others we will probably be thin on FA money. But we have shown that we can be creative with contracts. i would like to see us keep AA.

  17. unca_chuck says:

    I think Solly is odd man out. Blair, Jones, and Taylor have all proven to be solid backups, so we have trade capital there. Either through trade or just not re-signing.

  18. alleykat69 says:

    You see how Pats slid in and grabbed Sanu!
    Belicheat never stops working to make the Pats more dominant.They had a need with their receivers with Gordon out, so they go out and get a new toy for Brady to work with down the stretch and playoffs!
    Would of preferred Sanu over Sanders, he’s younger taller,I assume the 49ers were in on him too, but Pats offered a 2nd rd, so I’m ok not giving up that, and it is a good feeling the 49ers seem to be all in for this year!!

  19. unca_chuck says:

    We traded our 2nd for Dee Ford. Now we don;t have a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th round pick.

  20. alleykat69 says:

    Agree Chuck on Solly, cut your losses and maybe get a 4th rd back, doubt they get a 3rd.But yeah Blair,Jones,Taylor are reliable backups, still hope to see what Street can do as well someday..
    Again PS to Lynch ..No more drafting Stanford Busts not named McCaffery…

  21. unca_chuck says:

    Stole this from Chuck at the Flap. Good stuff about the resurgent defense.

    https://www.49ers.com/news/49ers-pff-defense-ranking

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