We’ve talked about the Wide-9 and how the San Francisco 49ers will be using that front on defense in 2019. Defensive line coach Kris Kocurek spoke about the benefits of the wide-9, and his expectations for the Niners front four this season. One thing the high-energy coach wants to see from his guys is effort:
“Aggressive (and) physical. A group where you see four defensive linemen on the field pursuing the ball wherever it’s at on the field. (We’re) trying to be the hardest playing position group in the National Football League. That’s what we strive for every single day.”
I’d say one other area the defensive line can improve is discipline. You’d see some players last year not stay in their passing lanes, or run too far up field and opening up rushing lanes.
Kocurek also touched on the benefits for the wide-9:
“(Against) teams that like to get to the perimeter, you can set a physical edge in the run game,” Kocurek said. “It does give you a little bit better angle to rush the passer.”
Last year offenses were very successful getting to the edge against the 49ers. Teams averaged 5.5 yards per carry rushing off the left end, that was the fourth-worst in the NFL last year. I wonder if that had any influence on bringing in a guy like Kocurek, and trading for a player like Dee Ford. Ford isn’t known for his run defense, but he will fight and fight to set the edge.
There will be plenty of changes on defense. Both in personnel, and with how the defense lines up. The pressure is on the defensive line. It’s on the players to perform. It’s on Kocurek to develop them. Even with Nick Bosa out with a hamstring injury, Kocurek has him learning.