To prepare for the 49ers-Browns Monday Night Matchup, since the 49ers were on a bye, I focused on the Browns offense, specifically Baker Mayfield and his slow start to the season. I found that he struggled with “creeper blitzes” or “simulated pressures.” This is a somewhat exotic type of blitz and is an evolution of the zone blitz mastered by legendary Steelers coach Dick Lebeau. These creeper blitzes are very difficult to protect against. Generally, a zone blitz brings 5, while playing a three deep, three underneath zone coverage. A creeper blitz only brings 4, allowing for an extra underneath defender. The quarterback still feels pressure but has to deal with seven defenders in coverage. Hence the “simulation” of pressure. The 49ers have a plethora of quality pass rushers, (a creeper blitz calls for defensive linemen to drop into coverage), but hopefully, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has watched Baker’s struggles against this type of pressure and will include them in the gameplan, in crucial situations.
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