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Golden Nuggets: GAME DAY

Your daily San Francisco 49ers news for Sunday, January 28th, 2024

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49ers elevate Snead, Robinson for NFC Championship Game vs. Lions

“Also, the 49ers ruled out defensive tackle Kalia Davis (ankle) for the game, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m. at Levi’s Stadium.”

Barrows: 49ers championship mailbag: Why isn’t vaunted D-line delivering? Lineup changes? (paywall)

“Interestingly, the 49ers’ defensive backs did an odd series of warm-up drills this week that I’d never seen before. In addition to the Swan Lake-like duet below, they did a similar one in which one player reached across the other as if knocking away a pass while both ran across the field. I can only assume these are anti-pass interference drills. Or that Wilks has been spending some time at the Bolshoi.”

Lombardi: NFC Championship preview: Who has the edge in Lions vs. 49ers? (paywall)

“Left guard Kayode Awosika. The Lions will be without Jackson, their starting left guard who is out with a knee injury. Enter Awosika. It’s been a bit of a bumpy ride for Awosika, who’s had some bright spots and some hiccups. He’s given up 21 pressures in just 189 pass-block snaps and faces the tall task of limiting Arik Armstead and Javon Hargrave. Less than ideal, but if Awosika can keep Goff upright and help others create lanes for the backs, the Lions can hang with the 49ers offensively. If not, it could be a long day.”

Branch: Can 49ers defenders show Lions they’re still ‘baddest guys on the planet’? (paywall)

“The 49ers certainly didn’t sound ticked about falling short of their lofty standard in a playoff game, but that won’t matter if their actions are stronger than their pre-kickoff words Sunday in the NFC Championship Game against the Lions at Levi’s Stadium.

The 49ers, who allowed the second-fewest points in the NFL, will face one of their toughest tests in Detroit. The Lions had the league’s third-ranked offense and feature All-Pro wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, Pro Bowl rookie tight end Sam LaPorta and a thunder-and-lightning backfield duo of David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs.

Their attack is headlined by QB Jared Goff, who ranked second in the NFL in passing yards (4,575) while being protected by an offensive line that includes All-Pros in right tackle Penei Sewell and center Frank Ragnow. The Lions allowed 31 sacks, tied for the fourth-fewest in the league.”

49ers’ four Detroit natives love the Lions’ saga ‘but it’s about to end’ (paywall)

“This leaves Womack and Detroit-born teammates Ambry Thomas, Jaylon Moore and Jalen Graham in a somewhat awkward position: To achieve their childhood goals and reach the summit of professional football, they must dash their hometown’s dreams. As Womack lamented to Thomas recently, “We watched the Lions be bad our whole lives. Why now do we have to be the ones to crush their spirit?”

Some might forget that the 49ers haven’t won a Super Bowl in nearly 30 years. When they step on the field Sunday, they’ll make their NFL-record 19th conference championship appearance. Detroit, meanwhile, is in just its second conference title game of the Super Bowl era and first since the 1991 season.”

John Wolford: How does the Kyle Shanahan/Sean McVay coaching tree dice up defenses? Here’s the process (paywall)

Given the anticipated coverages in each subcategory, the next step these coaches do is design plays to attack these anticipated defenses. They utilize core plays from their playbook, wrinkles off core plays and new ones to attack defensive tendencies. They also work to get the ball in their most talented players’ hands against the worst defenders of the opposing team.

“Let’s say the San Francisco 49ers are playing the New England Patriots. On third down and 4 to 6 yards, let’s say the Patriots top three coverages are Cover 1, Cover 2 Tampa and Cover 3 Firezone. The 49ers call two plays in the huddle on their first third-and-4 to 6. The first play will be designed to beat man, the second play will be good versus zone coverage, specifically Cover 2 Tampa and Cover 3 Firezone. Pre-snap the 49ers will most likely place a running back or tight end out wide to see if a linebacker or safety walks to cover them. If he does, then they run the man-beating play with the first read being Deebo Samuel. If the corner is over the TE or RB, then they “alert” or “can” or “kill” the play to the zone beater with the first read being Christian McCaffrey. Voila, you run a play that has a higher probability for success.

Run that process over and over for every down-and-distance. Sum up all the plays in the game doing that and on average, you will have more people open, more efficient runs and more points on the scoreboard.”