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Regression Of The 49ers Defense

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The 49ers QB situation remains a proverbial pit of despair and the team continues to stumble over itself figuring out what to do with the position. And yet that is but one of many problems facing the 49ers heading into the final quarter of the season. The defense has been a problem throughout the season in ever-changing ways, and yet we have managed to avoid much non-game day discussion about it.

I'll take some fault for that because I've easily fallen into the trap of focusing on the offense in many posts. I've written about the defense, but not nearly as frequently as the offense. The primary reason for that is because virtually every single roster or coaching change has taken place on offense. Consider all the changes on the offensive side of the ball (not in any particular order):

1. Jimmy Raye fired
2. Rookies inserted into starting o-line
3. David Baas takes over at center
4. Joe Staley goes down with a leg injury
5. Troy Smith replaces Alex Smith
6. Delanie Walker seems to be getting more looks at times

On defense, your major changes have been:

1. Taylor Mays inserted into and removed from starting lineup
2. Tarell Brown demoted and seemingly promoted at nickel back position

And yet the defense has had numerous struggles all season long. The inconsistent pass rush can be a problem, but Sunday saw an embarrassing display of tackling that boggles the mind. The Donald Driver touchdown was the worst play, but it only exemplified just a horrific second half performance. And of course the secondary somehow found a way to not adjust to the Packers second half adjustments.

The 49ers defense did a fairly decent job in the first half, but by the end of the half they had shown an inability to cover Aaron Rodgers' deep passes. The Packers came out in the second half and absolutely lit up the 49ers secondary. It didn't help that the 49ers couldn't have tackled me on Sunday, but they were struggling nonetheless.

I had thought about including a poll asking what you blamed the most for the 49ers defensive woes, but the list just seemed to go on and on. I mean, would you blame the coaching staff for poor scheming or poor instruction on basic tackling? Would the players be blamed for just not properly executing the scheme? Maybe the sometimes inconsistent pass rush is to blame? I realize we could blame everything, but can you pick one issue in particular to focus in on?