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49ers defensive snap count vs. Browns: Eli Harold, Dontae Johnson, Arik Armstead need more work

The 49ers need to get their young guys more work.

The San Francisco 49ers were thoroughly embarrassed by the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, and the search for answers continues. The snap count does not reveal everything, but we can make some pretty specific inferences based on it. We started with the offensive side of the ball, and are back for the defensive side (Gamebook PDF). I decided to mix up that format with a little help from our friends at Dawgs By Nature (enjoying quite the celebration this morning, I imagine).

Defensive Line

Pos Player Plays % Stats
DT Mike Purcell
62% 1 assist
DT Ian Williams
62% 2 tackles, 2 assists, 1 forced fumble
DT Quinton Dial
53% 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB hit, 1 blocked field goal
DT Arik Armstead
45% 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 1 QB hit
DT Tony Jerod-Eddie
26% No stats
DT Tank Carradine
15% 1 tackle, 2 assists

The 49ers defensive front struggled to get pressure on its own. The 49ers seemed to do best against Johnny Manziel when they brought extra pass rushers. Unfortunately that did not seem to happen nearly enough. The Browns ground game had its best performance of the year, so we got the Mr. Hyde run defense this time around. Arik Armstead saw a nice boost in snaps. Hopefully we see him consistently getting this kind of work the final three weeks of the season. Quinton Dial had some big plays, so that was something......

Outside Linebackers

Pos Player Plays % Stats
OLB Ahmad Brooks 59 76% 4 tackles, 1 assist, 1 QB hit, 1 fumble recovered
OLB Corey Lemonier
56 72% 1 tackle, 1 assist, 1 QB hit, 1 facemask penalty
OLB Eli Harold
29 37% 1 tackle

Starting Lemonier over Harold is up there with sticking with Jordan Devey even after it became further clear that he was awful. The coaching staff thinks short term, rather than giving more development time to guys who might actually have a future with this team. Eli Harold needs to be out there starting.

Inside Linebackers

Pos Player Plays % Stats
ILB NaVorro Bowman 78 100% 3 tackles, 2 assists
ILB Gerald Hodges
71 91% 4 tackles, 3 assists, 1 tackle for loss, 1 defensive pass interference

I'm curious to see how many missed tackles show up in the PFF stat sheet for Bowman and Hodges. The lowlight had to be when Manziel did a little shake and back that juked Bowman out of his cleats on a scramble. It was a bad day for the 49ers second level of run defense.


Pos Player Plays % Stats
CB Tramaine Brock 78 100% No stats
CB Kenneth Acker 73 94% 8 tackles, 3 assists, 1 pass deflection
CB Jimmie Ward
55% 2 tackles, 1 assist
CB Dontae Johnson 7
9% No stats
CB Marcus Cromartie 3
4% 1 defensive holding
CB Keith Reaser 1
1% No stats

This is an instance in which it is not a good thing that Kenneth Acker led the team in tackles. The 49ers pass defense was a mess, although I think a lot of it had to do with some of the zone decisions. The 49ers defensive game plan seemed out of whack in this one. And I still have no idea why Dontae Johnson gets so little work.


Pos Player Plays % Stats
S Eric Reid 78 100% 8 tackles, 1 assist, 1 forced fumble
S Jaquiski Tartt
78 100% 7 tackles, 1 assist, 1 interception, 1 pass deflection

The 49ers safeties were among the team's leading tacklers thanks to a mix of poor run defense up front, and the Browns receivers getting open in the many holes of the 49ers zones. Tartt grabbed an interception, although Manziel deserved plenty of blame on that play.