Members of the 49ers' defense have talked the talk after last week’s debacle against the Raiders, but will they walk the walk this weekend?
After their worst defensive performance since October, both Nick Bosa and Fred Warner expressed gratitude for having received a wake-up call from backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham.
“As much as I hate to say that we needed this,” Warner said after the game, “Adversity makes you stronger. We’re as tough as they come. We’re going to take a hard look at it, and we’ll be better from it.”
Their first chance to prove it is on Sunday against the Cardinals’ fourth quarterback of the year, David Blough.
“Kliff Kingsbury is no Josh McDaniels,” Levin Black said on today’s Gold Standard podcast, “I don’t have any faith that Kingsbury is going to come up with a game plan to beat this defense.”
McDaniels did a masterful job of using the 49ers’ aggressiveness against them through timely screens, play-action passes, and double moves. Deommodore Lenoir and Talanoa Hufanga were particular targets of the Raiders on Sunday, as they have been for quite some time among 49ers’ opponents.
While the 49ers might have locked up a playoff spot, they still want to head into the postseason as the highest possible seed - and look their best while doing it. A return to form this week turns last Sunday into an understandable bump in the road on New Year’s Day in Las Vegas. Another down performance against a team starting a backup quarterback, and people start to wonder if the Raiders made God bleed.
After the win over the Dolphins, some in the national media talked about vulnerabilities in DeMeco Ryans’ defense that weren’t fully exploited. The 49ers then went on to give up just 40 total points in their next three games. Hopefully, after a week of seeing those flaws exposed, Nick Bosa and company can go on a similar streak in the future.
Other topics in today’s show
Don’t take making the playoffs for granted (2:13)
Will the defense return to form after last week? (3:35)
The secret is out on Lenoir and Hufanga (4:50)
Matt Maiocco says Brock Purdy has won the starting job for 2023 already (12:23)
We disagree about Trey Lance’s second surgery (17:43)
Should Shanahan rest guys or play them this week? (23:46)
Who are the best opponents for the 49ers in the first round of the playoffs? (27:26)
How Levin evaluates good and bad matchups in the playoffs (31:09)
The Eagles will be a major challenge at some point (37:02)