“I asked The Athletic’s X’s and O’s guru, Ted Nguyen, to watch the 49ers-Jaguars game, particularly the handful of plays on which the 49ers used five defensive linemen. Ted notes that it’s a good alignment against the run, which is why the 49ers have used it on early downs.
The disadvantages? Because there are only two linebackers on the field, the 49ers would be more vulnerable on the second level if a running back broke through the defensive line.
The same holds true if it’s a pass play: There’s one less second-level defender in coverage. And even if the defense drops someone into coverage, it would be dropping a defensive end, which isn’t ideal. Ted said the defense also won’t ever get a free rusher with a five-man front — the offensive line knows exactly where everyone is coming from.”
“The addition of Young, who had a half-sack and two QB hits in 35 snaps, was the most obvious change. But the 49ers also made edits on their back end. They benched struggling slot corner Isaiah Oliver. And Wilks said he disguised more of their coverages to give “a different look which confuses the quarterback and makes him hold the ball a little longer.”
“We were disguising hella last game,” cornerback Charvarius Ward said. “The safeties disguised pretty well. I know they confused Trevor Lawrence on a lot of plays. Just going back and watching the film, what he thought was going to be there wasn’t there.”
Safety Talanoa Hufanga indicated Wilks, in his first season with the 49ers, used more of the coverages the 49ers had employed with DeMeco Ryans, their coordinator the previous two seasons.
“I think it was just allowing us to be tighter in our coverages that we’ve already played before,” Hufanga said. “Just allowing it to tie in with the rush and being able to show more disguises, getting back to our basics. It kind of allowed us to play fast. … Not saying that we’re there. We’ve got to do it every week.”
“Luter did not take part in any practices or preseason games this summer. He could fill a role on special teams if he is active for the game.”