By the time we’ve reached kickoff on Sunday, the 49ers coaching staff will have about a half year of preparation under their belt for the Detroit Lions.
Since the team traded up for Trey Lance, you can be sure that Kyle Shanahan and offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel have been toying with different play designs for their shiny new potential franchise quarterback.
Whether we’ll see much of Lance Week 1 remains to be seen. Lance didn’t take snaps or throw during Monday’s practice. First off, it’s early in the week. Secondly, there’s always a chance Lance could begin to take snaps and throw once the media leaves and no cameras can shoot. We’ll see if his status changes come Wednesday’s practice.
Then again, there’s no sense in tipping your hand to the Lions. Talk about playing mind games with Detriot. If they scrapped their preparation for Lance and only focused on Jimmy, only see Lance take snaps during the first series of the game.
During today’s episode of The Shanaplan, Akash and I laid out one thing we’d like to see from the 49ers on both sides of the ball.
Defensively, Akash has his eye on the secondary, while I’m looking to see where the pressure is coming from on how often specific players play.
How heavy of a role will rookie safety Talanoa Hufanga play? Will rookie cornerbacks Demmordore Lenoir or Ambry Thomas get any defensive snaps? What does a pitch count look like for Dee Ford, and are the 49ers over-reliant on Nick Bosa generating pressure?
Let’s talk about Jared Goff, who has...struggled, to say the least, against the 49ers. During the past two seasons with Sean McVay and better surrounding talent, Jared Goff had a -10.5 dropback per EPA versus the 49ers. In addition, he’s only mustered an average of 2.5 explosive passing plays per game.
How do you beat the 49ers? With a combination of big plays, an athlete at QB, or a stud wideout on the perimeter. Detroit lacks each of those.
League average last year for quarterbacks blitzed per dropback was 28%, with a 66% completion percentage and a 95.3 passer rating. Back to Goff, whose numbers against the blitz are well below average. Goff’s completing 56% of his passes on 5.7 yards per attempt against the blitz.
In 4 games versus the 49ers, Goff faced a blitz on 25% of his dropbacks and completed 55% of his passes for 5.7 yards per attempt and a 63.4 passer rating.
Robert Saleh quietly blitzed at a high rate on passing downs — over 50% on third downs, which was 3rd in the NFL last year — and I’d bet we see DeMeco Ryans do the same based on the preseason.
The nightmare for Goff facing the 49ers should continue Sunday.
Other topics include:
- What’s changed for both teams since the end of last season
- Emmanuel Moseley potentially missing time
- What would it take for the Lions to win?
- Why the 49ers' offense has a chance to be better than the defense