49ers Defensive Game-Planning And WR Formation Analysis

Last week we took a look at some formation analysis done by Florida Danny over at Football Outsiders. He broken down various wide receiver formations and how much success or failure teams had in the various formations. This week, Danny published the second half of his wide receiver formation analysis on Monday, focusing in on defensive performance against a variety of formations. In breaking down each team, our San Francisco 49ers finished with the following DVOA (rankings in parenthesis):

0-1 WR
DVOA: -10.6% (12)

2 WRs
DVOA: -4.4% (10)

3 WRs
DVOA: 18.6% (26)

4-5 WRs
DVOA: -10.3% (10)

The 49ers success against four and five wide receiver formations can potentially be explained by the relatively small sample size as the team only saw that formation 13% of the time. The real issue is the ugliness against three wide receiver sets. Until free agency happens it's hard to tell exactly what the 49ers secondary will look like heading into the 2011 season.

The team is hoping to re-do Nate Clements' contract and potentially add a veteran through free agency. Tarell Brown remains there but it's hard to tell what exactly he'll be doing as he has had a lot of ups and downs. Phillip Adams returns from injury and while he seems to have some solid upside, nobody really knows his status given the serious nature of his injury. And of course the team added Chris Culliver and Curtis Holcomb through the draft.

And let's not forget a group of safeties that have a whole lot of talent but also a whole lot of question marks. Can we see improvement when teams are working to spread things out with their wide receivers? It will be interesting to see if the 49ers are able to put together more solid DVOA numbers against four and five wide receivers. But more importantly, let's hope for some improvement from the nickel and dime backs against these three-receiver sets.

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