While trying to figure out the Buccaneers defense, I forgot about the ever popular Scout's Inc previews. While it is not super-detailed, it does provide some insight into the defense Shaun Hill will be facing.
Hill took over the reins two weeks ago in San Francisco and has produced back-to-back quality starts...he hasn't exactly been challenging secondaries vertically, but he has at least found the open receiver. And his receivers have responded by dropping fewer passes than they had all season. The staff has limited the play book they are working from and has asked him to pretty much make just half-field reads, which has allowed him to show decisiveness and get the ball out of his hands quickly.
The NFL Network trio made quite a point of discussing the limited playbook. If we're just talking about half field reads, I think Hill still deserves credit. On the one hand he wouldn't have to scan the entire field, but on the other hand it limits the number of receivers he's throwing to.
The Buccaneers still rely on the Tampa Bay Cover 2 defense for a majority of their games but are not afraid to mix things up now and then. Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin believes in the bend-but-don't-break philosophy and likes to keep at least one safety back deep to prevent the long play. He likes to use starting CB Ronde Barber as his nickel back when they go to nickel coverage and Barber is one of the best when it comes to baiting the QB into thinking he is going to blitz and then dropping back into coverage. Hill will need to be extra careful to be sure what his reads are in this game.
There are so many modifications of the Cover-2 (such as the Cover-4) so I'm curious to see what Kiffin throws at Hill. I'd guess he's seen how Hill handled a straight up man-to-man defense and he'll mix things up a little more. Even if the Bucs throw out backups for extended stretches, the defenses will still likely be mixed around to confuse Hill.
he 49ers ran the ball almost at will this past week against the Bengals...hey tweaked their offensive line recently inserting OG David Baas in for the injured Justin Smiley and their run game has become more aggressive attacking the defensive front seven.
While the Buccaneers own the 14th ranked run defense giving up 103.5 yards per game, their defensive line lacks much mass or bulk. They rely on athleticism and ability to penetrate while maintaining lane integrity to disrupt the blocking schemes and allow their athletic linebackers to flow and scrape to the hole...Expect the 49ers to try and take advantage of their size disparity up front and run the ball right at the relatively undersized defensive line of the Buccaneers.
It should be interesting to see how the 49ers offensive line performs, a week after having their way with the Bengals. Will we see Larry Allen pulling like crazy, or will he revert to his early season form that was less than stellar? As has become the case, as the offensive line goes, so goes the 49ers offense.
Also, just vote for my Defining Moment prediction. When you get to the page, you can vote by clicking on the "Like It Link" below the red square with the number of votes. We're at 11 votes right now, so the more the merrier!