Happy Friday 49ers fans.
The Niners fan base has been waiting this moment for the better part of a year, but it's finally here: the regular season. The team itself has been chomping at the bit to get this year underway. And what's a more exciting way to start the season than with a potential NFC Championship preview.
In Week 1, the 49ers are taking on the Packers in America's Game of the Week. Its safe to say, the headlines have been focused around SF's defense vs. GB's offense; best on best.
When analyzing this particular match-up, a lot of people have been wondering how the 49ers will be able to stop such a consistent, high-powered offense, quarterbacked by arguably the best player in the NFL. A few representatives of the 49ers defense spoke to the media this week, including safety Donte Whitner. The 49ers veteran defensive back has been around the block and knows a thing or two about game-planning for good offenses.
For Whitner's comments and a breakdown of what could give the 49ers an edge on Sunday, continue after the jump.
As some of the NN regulars have seen, I've been all about the match-up between Justin Smith and Marshall Newhouse -- I think it's a game-changer. But furthermore, the argument I've been presenting to friends, fans and followers is that the Niners have a tremendous strategic advantage. The edge they have is that they can successfully rush 3 to 4 players at a time and get insane pressure.
Well, Dylan, if they are only rushing as many 4, what's everyone else doing?
Good question and I'm glad you asked. They're covering; creating a landscape of red and white instead of green. The 49ers defenders will be able to sit back and take away receiving options.
San Francisco's starting safety Donte Whitner spoke to the media this week on the upcoming match-up vs. Green Bay. In an article today, 49ers beat writer Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out what the Niners could do defensively to stop Green Bay, drawing from Whitner's comments.
Whitner on 49ers D vs. Packers O:
When you put eight guys in the box, seven guys in the box, you only have three or four guys to cover back there. So there's a lot of one-on-one matchups. In the National Football League, a lot of the wide receivers are some of the best athletes in the world. So you put a guy man-to-man with one of the best athletes in the world with no help, it's like crazy. It's like you want to be beat.
Green Bay has an excellent wide receiving corps, with an even better QB to get them the football. To frequently come out in a base scheme with one-on-one coverage with their receivers -- when the WRs know where they're going and DB's don't -- is indeed crazy. And it's a slap in the face to Rodgers to think he won't gash the defense with a look like that.
The less guys that we need to get pressure, the better we're going to be. And we have a pretty good front four of guys that can mix in and get pressure without bringing extra guys. I think we match up with them well in that aspect.
Whitner is exactly right. One of the game's mismatches is San Francisco's front four (including combinations of Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith) against the Packers offensive line. Green Bay has a lot of youth up front responsible for protecting Rodgers and it could be their Achilles come Sunday.
The 49ers will be able to get pressure with just a few guys up front, leaving the rest of their guys to cover, take away options and allow the rushers to get to the quarterback.
If you can get pressure with four, it's a lot of stress off that back end. That's why they say if you have an A+ pass rush you can have ‘C' or ‘B' DBs back there and still make plays ... It all starts up front.