While we've been busy discussing the conservative nature of the 49ers offense, the 49ers defense managed to be aggressive without appearing to get too crazy with the blitzes. They would send blitzers but it really seemed like the front three or four down linemen were the ones who really were bringing the heat on a consistent basis. Given the issues with pass rush consistency in years past, this was definitely a huge step in the right direction.
Of course, as the 49ers prepare for their week two matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, the pass rush will need to put together another strong effort against the Cowboys offensive line and Tony Romo. The Cowboys o-line features three new starters this year at center, right tackle and one of the guard positions (with incumbent LG Kyle Kosier apparently moving to RG). The Seahawks had some problems with changes on the offensive line, so maybe the Cowboys might have similar issues?
I bring all this up in part due to some comments Tony Romo made about the 49ers defense. Romo took part in a conference call with 49ers media on Monday, which you can listen to at 49ers.com. In the conference call he answered a lot of questions about the Jets loss, which isn't particularly surprising.
However, the media got around to asking him if he had viewed any tape of the 49ers in the day since the loss. He said he had in fact already checked some tape out. In discussing the 49ers defense he compared them to the Dom Capers style of defense seen in Green Bay and also what he had seen in Washington.
He didn't want to get into a ton of detail so he could keep some cards close to his chest, but he mentioned some of the blitzing from the 49ers. At one point he mentioned something about corner blitzes. That seemed a bit odd as I don't recall seeing much in the way of corner blitzes from the 49ers thus far. Does anybody recall corner blitzes? It's also possible he saw that on some Stanford tape. The Seahawks used tape from Vic Fangio's days at Stanford since the 49ers had only preseason tape at that point. Maybe Romo has mixed some of that in.
Whatever the case, even if the 49ers have mixed in the occasional exotic blitz, I've got to think the defensive playbook could open up even further against the Cowboys. The 49ers faced a week one opponent that had some playmakers, but also had a ton of question marks.
The Cowboys are not exactly world-beaters at this point, but I've got to think they present a greater challenge than the Seahawks. Tony Romo gets a choking label, but even if he blows games late, he's helped put the Cowboys in a position to be in the lead in the first place. He's got some serious weapons at his disposal including Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, and Felix Jones. If the 49ers are going to limit the Cowboys offensive attack, they're going to need to bring the heat fairly consistently.
Can they do it with a fairly basic plan this Sunday?