The short week meant Tuesday was opposing player availability, and for Thursday's game against the Seattle Seahawks, Kam Chancellor spoke with the San Francisco 49ers local media. I started transcribing it, but it quickly became clear he was talking in nothing but cliches. I'm fine with that, but I've got better things to do than transcribe that (thankfully the 49ers transcribe home team stuff!).
However, it did get me thinking about the 49ers matchup against the much discussed "Legion of Boom" secondary the Seahawks roll out. The Seahawks secondary had some turnover in the group, but still roll out the big names of Chancellor, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.
The unit is not performing as well as last season, which is not exactly a shock given what we've seen. Football Outsiders ranked the Seahawks pass defense No. 1, and currently have it ranked No. 11. In case you're wondering, the 49ers pass defense is ranked No. 1 at Football Outsiders.
Richard Sherman and company remain dangerous threats, and it has me wondering how the 49ers will approach them. Pro Football Focus graded Sherman out as the No. 15 cornerback, Earl Thomas as the No. 11 safety. Kam Chancellor is more of an in-the-box guy who will bring the big hits and run support, but he currently grades out at No. 29 overall among safeties.
On the one hand, I think we'll see the 49ers take their shots against the Seahawks secondary. On the other hand, Frank Gore does have a history of success against Seattle, having averaged 5.33 yards per carry in 16 games against them. He struggled in the NFC title game, rushing for 14 yards on 11 carries. However, in last season's home game against the Seahawks, he rushed for 110 yards on only 17 carries. I specifically recall that one for the huge run with a great cut that all but iced the game.
The 49ers have had their games where they completely abandon Frank Gore, and then they have had games where he clearly is a focal point of the offense. The Seahawks are only giving up 3.5 yards per carry this season, and Football Outsiders ranks them No. 9 overall in adjusted line yards. They struggle on the back-end, but they have generally kept opposing running backs confined.
The strong defense against the run seemingly means we will see the 49ers attempt to attack the Seahawks through the air, but this offense has frequently zigged when we expected it to zag. What do you expect to see on Thursday? Will they surprise us with something remotely resembling an efficient offensive attack? Or will it be a repeat of recent weeks in which we hope and pray the defense can do enough to keep hope alive?