The San Francisco 49ers defense impressed Sunday against Tampa Bay, but that doesn’t mean they have room for improvement. We all know that, and it’s refreshing to hear the defense be open about it. Newly signed Dee Ford created a sack for Nick Bosa and won a few times himself. His words came off as if he was disappointed in the result. “We got a lot of things, me included – me, especially – to get better at. But we’ll take the result.”
Ford went on to explain that he expects better. I love that. It comes off like the expectation is changing. A win isn’t enough.
“With our potential, I always expect to take over a game. We made key plays, but there’s a difference between making plays and taking over a game. We hit a couple of spurts where we just need to get home. I just need to be better. It’s Game 1, and we need to get better.”
Ford did an excellent job of collapsing the pocket on Sunday. One of those rushes led to an Ahkello Witherspoon interception in which he returned for a touchdown. On his lone sack, Ford forced a fumble, which is something he’s made a habit of during 2018.
Had Kwon Alexander and Tarvarius Moore caught the passes that hit their hands, Ford may have felt like the defense took over. He’s selling the defense short, though. They turned Tampa Bay over four times and stopped them on downs towards the end of the game. Pressure will be the key to the success of the defense.
“That’s the recipe. That’s what we want more of. We understand as a D-lineman, there’s more in the tank. There’s more in the tank.”
Ford was asked if missing training camp had any effect on his play:
“There was a lot of rust. Not having preseason, trying to get healthy and all that, I just had to knock some stuff off. I expect a whole lot more from myself, but I’ll take it, and we’ll move forward. I can be a lot better. I felt a little sluggish out of my stance. But that’s things you work out. Day by day, week by week, we’re going to get better. That’s why we love having 16 games a year, plus postseason.”
If Ford played as he did on Sunday, the 49ers are in good shape. Knowing he can get better? Good luck, offenses.