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Instant Reaction: Why can’t the 49ers stop the other team’s best weapon?

You aren’t supposed to let that guy beat you

Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

As defensive coordinators around the league prepare for their opponent that week, they all identify which players on offense they’re going to need to stop in order for their teams to be successful. All except, it seems, 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. Whether you want to chalk it up to guys being injured or bad coaching, there have been far too many instances this season when the 49ers’ defense has struggled to stop the best players of the offenses they face.

Much like DeAndre Hopkins (14 catches, 151 yards) in Week 1 and DK Metcalf (12 catches, 161 yards, 2 TD) on Sunday, Davante Adams had himself a day against this 49ers defense. Adams hauled in 10 catches for 173 yards and a beautiful touchdown on the opening drive of the game. In fact, at one point in the third quarter Adams had more yards than the entire San Francisco offense.

How could this possibly happen with a coach like Robert Saleh and a still-talented defense? Why is the third-best cornerback on your team (Emmanuel Moseley) guarding Davante Adams one-on-one 30 yards down the field like he was on the first touchdown of the game?

I understand that those are all elite players that get paid a lot of money to produce like that, but the truly elite coaches find ways to slow down the other team’s best players.

What do you think the issue is? Is Saleh adhering to his system too much? Is it just a case of the other guys making plays? Levin Black and I dove into that issue and more in the Instant Reaction podcast, which you can listen to on this page and wherever you get your podcasts.

Other topics:

-Why didn’t JaMycal Hasty see the field more?

-Will Richie James finally get more play now that he broke out?

-Could Jimmy G.’s five straight wins in 2017 have ultimately been bad for the franchise?