The 49ers defense got off to a slow start facing the Packers again with a blown coverage on a huge opening drive play. While social media opinions are calling for defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s head, Kyle Shanahan and Richard Sherman confirm their utmost confidence in the man calling the defensive plays. Shanahan was even asked if he could jump in and make adjustments and or call plays on the defense.
I mean, yeah, I could obviously, but I’m not just going to hop into the defense and start calling plays. That’s on Saleh. Saleh is very good at what he does. I have a ton of confidence in him. I have a ton of confidence in our scheme. They just made plays at the end of the game and we didn’t.
After the first three play drive for a touchdown the defense hunkered down and held the Packers to at field goal after the D.J. Reed kickoff return fumble. Sherman explained that nothing changed:
Nothing. We just started playing sound football. Like I’ve told you guy before, when you just do your job in this defense, it’s really hard to beat. And you know on the first fricken’ play again, we bust. We bust a simple coverage. It’s a simple adjustmentand we bust and you can’t play like that. And later on in the game, another one, Simple play, and we bust. But when we play sound, we’re really difficult to beat.
Sherman continued by explaining it’s not rocket science, it’s just fundamentals. His frustration was evident but it was not exasperation.
It’s simple day one football. Once again that’s why it’s frustrating because it’s simple day one football that we have to figure out how to translate.
Sherman was very clear that he still fully supports Saleh and says he has been calling great games, execution has just been the issue.
You know I hear a lot of stuff out there blaming the coaches, and Saleh and the DB coaching it’s like it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day if you call the perfect cal and they don’t run the play the way you call it, I mean, what else can you do? You call the play, the guy has a man, you don’t take the man and it’s going to lead to a big play. Aaron will find him if he was covered, and for him to not cover him, it’s frustrating. We gotta find a way to get that done.
Always aware of what people are writing and saying about the team, Sherman explains where and how he has heard the disparaging remarks about the defensive coaching staff, and nots that it’s not on the field or in the locker room.
No, no. Just out in the atmosphere, because people don’t know ball. You know, this is one of the most sound schemes in football. That is why you see so many people executing it. When you don’t play sound it can lead to a bust. In any scheme if you don’t play sound, it can lead to big plays. We have to find a way to play disciplined. When we stopped them, when we got stops and three and outs, it wasn’t anything special, it wasn’t guys making stuff up, it was just guys doing their assignment. Nothing special.
He [Saleh] has called great games. and he’s continued to call great games. We have to continue to find a way to reward him and finish.
There’s no absolute solution to the missed assignments and blown coverages outside of players sticking to the game plan. There’s a definite difference on the field when the defense plays fundamentally sound football. The Packers were without a third down conversion until late in the third quarter when they converted the first of their eight attempts.
The pass rush improved with seven hits on Aaron Rodgers as well as sacking him three times for 20 yards, but the big yardage plays are what hurt the 49ers the most. This was especially evident in the the Packers game winning drive where the secondary didn’t protect the edges, allowing receivers completions and the ability to stop the clock. Things won’t get any easier for the defense facing the Rams after a short week and late night flight back to the Bay Area.