The San Francisco 49ers are expected to hire Robert Saleh as their next defensive coordinator, and by all accounts, that means the time has come for significant changes to the defense. The team spends enough time in sub-packages that switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 is not a huge deal, but the overall philosophy of things will change, and there will be plenty to assess.
We’ll be doing plenty of film breakdown to get a better understanding of the likely new 49ers defense. It will include looking at Gus Bradley’s defense in Jacksonville, but also Dan Quinn’s in Atlanta, and Pete Carroll’s in Seattle. Bradley and Quinn are part of Carroll’s tree. Additionally, Bradley was linebackers coach under Monte Kiffin in Tampa Bay.
Saleh has never worked as more than a linebackers coach, so he likely has not been able to fully sort out his own defensive philosophy. He likely has ideas of things he wants to do, and my guess is a lot of that will come from what Bradley, Quinn, and Carroll have done in his presence.
We’ll get into our own film breakdown, but in the meantime, there are some articles about Pete Carroll that are worth reading. Chris Brown has what might be the best analysis of Carroll’s defensive philosophy. The other article is from the Seattle Times, and what I found particularly interesting was Carroll’s comments about his time as 49ers defensive coordinator. Finally, Matt Barrows took a look at how the 49ers current personnel might fit into a Seahawks-style defense.
We’ll have plenty more for you, but for the time being, there’s some useful reading material to get you started.