The one point of argument for the San Francisco 49ers in 2018 will be the status of defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. Some are wanting him to stick around, others want him out. We’ve had our regular heat-o-meters after particular bad losses and things have gotten warmer as the losses—and yardage totals against Saleh’s defense—have piled on.
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan isn’t having any of that. A few weeks ago, he gave a vote of confidence to Saleh and in a recent appearance with Damon Bruce on 95.7 The Game, he backed up his confidence in the coach:
“I’ve been coaching a long time, I’ve been in a lot of different buildings. I’ve been around a lot of different schemes, I’ve played against a lot of different schemes. I know Saleh knows what he’s talking about. I see it every single day, and I have a lot of experience to compare that to. There’s not many people out there better than Saleh. I feel we’re very fortunate to have him. We’re going to see how this year finishes but I’ve been happy with Saleh all the way, and I know he’s a very good coach, and I know he’s only going to get better.”
Saleh’s defense has been under criticism most of the year, but things have eased up in the last two weeks as the 49ers brought wins both times, turning in satisfactory defensive performances in the process. The biggest issue has been all 11 members of the defense being on the same page and executing, which has lead to huge busted plays and could point to a potential coaching problem.
Against the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, the 49ers defense hasn’t had the same issues plaguing them for much of the year. Whether this is on the team finally figuring it out or Saleh changing his calls/schemes to better fit his talent is left to be decided in another post.
We said this a couple weeks and we’ll say it again, Saleh isn’t going anywhere after the season. He’ll get at least another year, and maybe a pass rusher to work with in his drive to get this defense over the hump.