The Divisional round in the NFC playoff race is here, and the 49ers are up against the Aaron Rodgers-led Green Bay Packers. Rodgers and the 49ers have a long history as the California native grew up a Niner fan, and he watched San Francisco pass on him in the 2005 NFL Draft.
Niners defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans had nothing but good things to say about Rodgers while giving up an update on All-Pro snub Nick Bosa below.
I have two questions. One is about one person on your defense, and that’s DL Nick Bosa. I’m wondering what he’s been able to do with you guys this week while he is in the protocol. And then the other would be with Aaron Rogers in terms of, like maybe his most dangerous throw, would it be maybe a back shoulder where it might draw a P.I. on a guy?
“Yeah, the first question with Nick, he’s come along well going through the NFL protocol there and hopefully he’ll be fine by the end of the week. Definitely need him out there. So hopefully he’ll be fine by the end of the week. And with Aaron, his best throw is, man, he can make them all. Which makes him so difficult. The back shoulder is definitely one of the toughest ones, just his accuracy on the deep ball is why you can tell he’ll be a future Hall of Famer. You don’t see guys throw the ball, they don’t spin it like Aaron does. And he just has an awesome touch, awesome feel. He’s very confident back there in the pocket. So, it’s definitely the best quarterback we’ve seen all year.”
49er fans watched Rodgers make precise throws on the game-winning drive from their Week 3 matchup earlier this season. One thing Rodgers does year in and year out is take care of the ball.
Rodgers can make all the throws as Ryans said. San Francisco's defense was able to limit Dak Prescott to 3/10 on passes of 15+ yards after having struggles of defending deep passes throughout the season. Given Rodgers’ arm talent—I think he will be more successful on intermediate to deep throws meaning the 49er defense will have to buckle down and try to get off the field after the explosive play.
Rodgers’ ball placement makes it easy on Green Bay’s receivers and almost impossible for defenders to make a play on it. Forcing a turnover(s) will be huge for the Niners' defense. Rodgers doesn't slip up much, but the 49ers were able to force turnovers in both games against Green Bay in 2019; Ryans’ defense has forced a turnover in their last three games and will need a ton of help from their pass-rush to aid this secondary.
San Francisco’s defense is playing at a higher level than they were in Week 3. So my nerves will be at ease when I hear that Ambry Thomas and Nick Bosa are cleared for Saturday. We’ve seen this defense get stops all year and would expect them to keep the momentum up after holding the number one scoring offense (Dallas) to 17 points.