And so we reach the final approval rating poll of the regular season. We'll be back next week with some end of season review posts of the coaches, and they'll include rating polls. However, as was suggested by one reader, we'll probably go with some kind of 1-10 scale to give us a bit more color than simply black and white. In the meantime, Greg Manusky finished up last week with a 95% approval rating.
The 49ers defense finished off the season on a fairly strong note, shutting down the Lions and the Rams to close out 2009. Of course, Detroit and St. Louis finished the season with the two worst offenses in the league, so we certainly will take that finish with a grain of salt. However, it's always a plus to see a defense dominate against a defense it is expected to handle. The D didn't get any turnovers against the Rams, but St. Louis could never really get anything going on offense. Turnovers are nice, and usually a hallmark of great defenses, but I'll take the performance any week.
The 49ers defense this season has been a rather interesting mix of bend-but-don't-break and intense aggressiveness. When looking at traditional counting stats like yards per game, you don't see how good the defense really was, as that bending shows through. The 49ers finished 15th in total yards per game, 21st in passing yards per game and 6th in rushing yards. On the other hand, the aggressiveness shows up in the sacks and interceptions. The 49ers defense finished 5th in the league in interceptions and tied for 3rd in sacks. If we look at DVOA, I think we can get a better idea of the quality of the defense. The 49ers finished 4th in overall defensive DVOA, 8th in pass defense and 6th in rush defense. The defense had some problems with consistency, but they managed some very impressive performances.
Given the defensive improvements (that will hopefully continue next season), I'm wondering if Coach Manusky will see himself coming up on owner radars for head coaching positions? I have no reason to think yes or no, but rather am just curious if people see it happening sooner or later.