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Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense?

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Posted: 08/07/2014 6:57 AM

Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? Post Rating (1 vote)


I find some pretty good logic associated with what he has written here.  I'd like to see what you guys think of this as well.

LINK

Every year, at least one of the concensus NFL superpowers takes a step back and -- much to the dismay of its shocked fan base -- misses the postseason.


Gregg Rosenthal suggested on a recent episode of the Around The League Podcast that the San Francisco 49ers are the team most likely to fall on hard times in 2014.

Although Colin Kaepernick's offense should see significant improvement with a healthy Michael Crabtree and the addition of Stevie Johnson, the defense is in jeopardy of slipping out of the top five for the first time in the Jim Harbaugh era.


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Posted: 08/07/2014 7:10 AM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? Post Rating (1 vote)


there are definite question marks so you could make that case. however i anticipate that dial will do well as will culliver, brock, and ward. not to mention carradine offers a lot of potential to be a disruptive force. i've heard some say bethea could actually be an upgrade and eric reid is a guy i think can blossom into a star this year. don't overlook that! even with a suspension i believe aldon will have a monster year as he's been the best player at camp according to many.

the loss of bowman for the first half of the season (likely) hurts but other players will develop and he will be back.

all that being said, even if our D takes a step back i think the step(s) forward our offense takes could definitely offset that. i think we've made SIGNIFICANT improvements on offense, much moreso than we MAY have regressed on D. i would project us to be a better overall team in 2014. how much better remains to be seen and is dependant upon a lot of factors. but we've grown our talent base and our depth and we should see internal growth from some up and coming players we have too. some older guys may regress also but i feel good about our chances.

"You are either getting better or you are getting worse; you never stay the same."

Last edited 08/07/2014 7:12 AM by higherwarrior

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Posted: 08/07/2014 8:08 AM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? Post Rating (1 vote)


Let me just preface my statement by saying I'm as pessimistic a fan as there can be (being burned so often by the Mets & Knicks will do that to you).

All of the offseason turmoil, between the coaching situation, Aldon, Culliver, VD, and Kap (obviously Kap wasn't a big deal) just screams to me that this team will not necessarily be a mess, but struggle a bit.  There's just too much going on right now.  I could easily see this team missing the playoffs with how good the division is and the aging defense. 

It's gonna be tough.
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Posted: 08/07/2014 8:22 AM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? 


I definitely don't see us missing the playoffs, but the start of the year might be a little rough...especially with Aldon & Bowman missing the first 4-8 games of the season confused, and now with Dorsey out (to a lesser extent due to NT being not used all that much in our Defense)
However, I think Lemonier & Skuta will fill in nicely for Aldon (they did last year), and TJE & Dial will fil in nicely for Dorsey.  The biggest drop-off is Bowman to Wilhoite IMO, BUT Wilhoite has been fairly solid filing in in the past.  The Secondary is going to be absolutely fine, with Brock, Culliver, & Ward we have more speed at CB position AND better balls skills too; then with Reid & Bethea we still have one of the best Safety tandems in the league. 
I really don't think the changes on D will be enough of a dropp-off to lose us games, though, especially with a re-vamped WR corps and another year in the system for Kap.

Last edited 08/07/2014 8:24 AM by NashvilleNiner

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Posted: 08/07/2014 8:39 AM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? Post Rating (1 vote)


And to be honest, I think Seattle lost more than we did...

They lost:
- Browner (who they didn't have much last year, but is an original member of the L.O.B.)
- Walter Thurmond (who was a veryy good Nickel & filled in nicely as a starter for Browner last year)
- Golden Tate (starting WR last year) & Sidney Rice (to retirement)
- Solid rotation D-linemen in Red Bryant, Chris Clemons, & Clint McDonald

I think THEY are more primed for a drop-off than we are.

Last edited 08/07/2014 8:40 AM by NashvilleNiner

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Posted: 08/07/2014 9:45 AM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? Post Rating (1 vote)


It really depends on whether the 49ers successfully hit on replacements. There's definitely the possibility of the 49ers' defense declining (even after Aldon Smith and NaVorro Bowman are back) because Bethea, Culliver and Brock might not be as good as Whitner, Brown and Rogers. How they fill the nose tackle position is also a question if Ian Williams can't contribute. Justin Smith might decline due to age.

This was always going to be an issue: Harbaugh took over a largely veteran defense. He and Fangio and Baalke actually started the turnover immediately, replacing Takeo Spikes with NaVorro Bowman. The rest of the squad was basically veterans, though. You knew they had to find replacements over time and the question is whether they could.

I personally think Brock and Culliver are good replacements for Brown and Rogers and could be an upgrade. I'm skeptical about Bethea since pass coverage has never been his forte, but I assume the 49ers' brain trust felt he was capable and they've been good at rehabilitating the games of veteran DBs (like Rogers and Whitner for example). Tank Carradine has some potential to eventually replace Justin Smith at need (though, ominously, Fangio has said that currently Carradine makes too many mental mistakes to play at a high level) and Corey Lemonier looks like he could end up a nice replacement for either Brooks or Aldon Smith.

As for nose tackle, the positive side is that Quinton Dial has looked great, with scary strength, in training camp. Further good news is that the nose tackle spot is the least-used starter on the defense, on the field for only 30-40% of defensive snaps. The only negative is that Dial (and Tony Jerod-Eddie) are taller than ideal for the position, which may make leverage an issue for them. But it's not insurmountable.

A step back, especially in the first half of the season, wouldn't surprise me at all. But the second half looks like the tougher half of the schedule and I also wouldn't be surprised if the defense really came together and played very well for the second half and playoffs (barring further injuries).

Last edited 08/07/2014 9:47 AM by Minstrel

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Posted: 08/07/2014 10:11 AM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? Post Rating (1 vote)


you can be sure of one thing- fangio will get the most out of the personel available to him.

"You are either getting better or you are getting worse; you never stay the same."

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Posted: 08/07/2014 1:25 PM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? Post Rating (1 vote)


Is there on FA that the front office has let walk that has really hurt the team yet or that anyone really, really would like to have ponied up and kept? When 3/4 of the starting backfield walked this off season I was a little worried. However, the front office has shown time and again that the 'price' they set on players has been pretty accurate. Like others have said, there most likely will be a little drop off statistically but I don't think there is any reason for concern.
"What's your problem?" - Jim Harbaugh to Pete Carroll after demolishing USC. 
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Posted: 08/07/2014 1:51 PM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? Post Rating (1 vote)



plannb23 wrote: I find some pretty good logic associated with what he has written here.  I'd like to see what you guys think of this as well.

LINK

Every year, at least one of the concensus NFL superpowers takes a step back and -- much to the dismay of its shocked fan base -- misses the postseason.


Gregg Rosenthal suggested on a recent episode of the Around The League Podcast that the San Francisco 49ers are the team most likely to fall on hard times in 2014.

Although Colin Kaepernick's offense should see significant improvement with a healthy Michael Crabtree and the addition of Stevie Johnson, the defense is in jeopardy of slipping out of the top five for the first time in the Jim Harbaugh era.


With all due respect, anyone who has followed football for any length of time knows that Greg Rosenthal makes Bill Williamson look like a genius.  He has been anti-49ers since before the cows came home.  Dan Fucillo of Bleacher Report is the same guy we found plagiarizing Ryan Sakamoto of ninerfans.com.  I would take anything he says about anything related to football with a truckload of sea salt.  The Niner defense will be just fine, thank you.

49er GOLD
since 1946.

"It's KAP, not Kaep"-Colin Kaepernick, Twitter

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Posted: 08/07/2014 3:31 PM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? Post Rating (1 vote)


Greg Rosenthal didn't write the article.  Just an FYI.
KezarVet wrote: With all due respect, anyone who has followed football for any length of time knows that Greg Rosenthal makes Bill Williamson look like a genius.  
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Posted: 08/07/2014 5:46 PM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? Post Rating (2 votes)



higherwarrior wrote: there are definite question marks so you could make that case. however i anticipate that dial will do well as will culliver, brock, and ward. not to mention carradine offers a lot of potential to be a disruptive force. i've heard some say bethea could actually be an upgrade and eric reid is a guy i think can blossom into a star this year. don't overlook that! even with a suspension i believe aldon will have a monster year as he's been the best player at camp according to many.

the loss of bowman for the first half of the season (likely) hurts but other players will develop and he will be back.

all that being said, even if our D takes a step back i think the step(s) forward our offense takes could definitely offset that. i think we've made SIGNIFICANT improvements on offense, much moreso than we MAY have regressed on D. i would project us to be a better overall team in 2014. how much better remains to be seen and is dependant upon a lot of factors. but we've grown our talent base and our depth and we should see internal growth from some up and coming players we have too. some older guys may regress also but i feel good about our chances.
Bowman hurts, potentially for Aldon suspension hurts. Aging Justin hurts but tank will cover that loss. The secondary is a huge question mark, still. Bethea isn't a pass upgrade. How does Culliver return? Ward should be good but is a rookie.Reid will take the next step.

There are too many question marks vs Seattle's defense that is young and improving.  Their secondary is just entering their prime. Byron Maxwell showed he's a big upgrade to Browner.  Wagner and Wright are kids. Earl Thomas, Sherman and Chancellor are just getting it as a group. Avril and Bennett who destroyed Manning are back.  They lose some pass rush and run defense but overall, their defense could be better than in 2013.
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Posted: 08/07/2014 8:41 PM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? Post Rating (2 votes)


It's gonna hurt a little when you lose three starters to injury, two of which are pro-bowlers.  I think they will be fine, I believe the secondary will be better with Bethea, Reid, Culliver, Brock, and Ward covering the slot.  They may miss Whitner's veteran leadership, but they have a more athletic group with these guys.  Front seven will take a hit with Bowman and Smith gone, but Wilhoite has played when called upon, and Dial and Lemonier are exciting players.

The NFC West will have the top 4 defenses in the NFL with Seattle being arguably the best, Az lost their best player for the year in Washington and outside of Campbell, their DL is questionable. St Louis will have a great front seven but their secondary will be average but they have some rookie potential.
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Posted: 08/08/2014 5:53 AM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? Post Rating (2 votes)



plannb23 wrote: Greg Rosenthal didn't write the article.  Just an FYI.
KezarVet wrote: With all due respect, anyone who has followed football for any length of time knows that Greg Rosenthal makes Bill Williamson look like a genius.  
Just an FYI.  No kidding, but he's referred to in it and if you have read his "articles" over the years you would understand.

49er GOLD
since 1946.

"It's KAP, not Kaep"-Colin Kaepernick, Twitter

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Posted: 08/08/2014 6:57 AM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? 



uncleloggins wrote: It's gonna hurt a little when you lose three starters to injury, two of which are pro-bowlers.  I think they will be fine, I believe the secondary will be better with Bethea, Reid, Culliver, Brock, and Ward covering the slot.  They may miss Whitner's veteran leadership, but they have a more athletic group with these guys.  Front seven will take a hit with Bowman and Smith gone, but Wilhoite has played when called upon, and Dial and Lemonier are exciting players.

The NFC West will have the top 4 defenses in the NFL with Seattle being arguably the best, Az lost their best player for the year in Washington and outside of Campbell, their DL is questionable. St Louis will have a great front seven but their secondary will be average but they have some rookie potential.

I agree with everything you said here, Unc, except about missing the veteran leadership of Whitner.  I think Bethea is as good or better in that department. 
And of those who say Bethea is less of a coverage guy than Whitner, that may prove to be true, but Bethea has always played FS with the Colts (first with Bob Sanders, then with Laron Landry)...so maybe he's not best suited for that role & we can use him more in the box being a SS, while still having more flexibility to mirror Safeties than we had with Whitner because of his experience at FS.
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Posted: 08/08/2014 9:34 AM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? 


I want to say at this juncture that there may be no one higher than me on Eric Reid's ability and potential. I think he has both the talent and intelligence to smooth out transition pains in the secondary. I'm not generally one to hype a young player to the stars, but Reid was shockingly polished in year 1 considering that he was considered toolsy but a bit raw after his final college season. To me, that suggests that Reid understands and internalizes defensive schemes at extraordinary speed and Fangio knows exactly how best to use him. While, as I said, I'm a little skeptical of Bethea, I think the combination of Fangio/Donatell working with him and playing with Reid will bring out the best in him (I'm aware of the irony of talking about the beneficial influence a second-year player will have on a long-time vet).

Reid isn't Ronnie Lott, but I think he's going to remind us of Lott in a lot of ways. The linchpin that began the current defensive renaissance was Patrick Willis. I believe that if the 49ers have a second era of great defense, Reid will be the linchpin (though talking about "eras" is a bit sketchy, since some of the players, like Willis himself, will still be around).
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Posted: 08/08/2014 9:46 AM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? Post Rating (1 vote)


I disagree.  I think initially we may have some growing pains defensively but will be offset with how good our offense will be.  Even with missing Dorsey.....the eventual return of Ian Willams with adding Dial and Carradine to the rotation and I think we're in better shape then last year up front.  Dial looks like he could be a monster up front.  Yes our LB will take a hit until Bowman's back but we still have a solid LB corp without Bowman and Aldon.  But we know they will be back for the stretch run.  Last thing and I might be in the minority but I think our secondary could be MUCH improved from last year.  Whitner and Rodgers were liabilities in the passing game.  Ward could have a huge impact as our nickel CB and Bethea should bring more consistency to the secondary.  I think we'll be just fine early on and could be much better in all phases by mid season.
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Posted: 08/09/2014 6:09 AM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? Post Rating (1 vote)


Is it silly to get excited about chris cook? I mean, the guy was a very high pick and could just be getting an understanding of how to play the position. It wouldn't be unheard of for a 27 year old kid improving.
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Posted: 08/09/2014 8:23 AM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? 



thethe wrote: Is it silly to get excited about chris cook? I mean, the guy was a very high pick and could just be getting an understanding of how to play the position. It wouldn't be unheard of for a 27 year old kid improving.

There are reasons to be hopeful. He's basically the prototype for what Baalke and Fangio want physically, big, rangy and long arms...all the physical tools you'd want. And Donatell and Fangio have had success with other veteran DBs. Thirdly, he's apparently performed very well in OTAs and camp.

That said, you can't expect every reclamation project to succeed. I think he makes an intriguing backup but I wouldn't, currently, be at all comfortable if he had to start due to injury or ineffectiveness from Culliver or Brock. I actually wish the 49ers had been able to sign Cook to a multi-year deal, so that if he breaks out this year, they'd have another cheap year or two of him under contract.

Last edited 08/09/2014 8:24 AM by Minstrel

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Posted: 08/09/2014 4:48 PM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? 



Minstrel wrote: 
I actually wish the 49ers had been able to sign Cook to a multi-year deal, so that if he breaks out this year, they'd have another cheap year or two of him under contract.
you make me sickl! I bet you'd  actually rather they outsource his job to a 3rd world country, where they could make him work 18 hour days too and pay him peanut butter sandwiches. and you call yourself an American. ohlord

"You are either getting better or you are getting worse; you never stay the same."

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Posted: 08/09/2014 6:23 PM

Re: Niners falling behind Seahawks on defense? 



higherwarrior wrote:
you make me sickl! I bet you'd  actually rather they outsource his job to a 3rd world country, where they could make him work 18 hour days too and pay him peanut butter sandwiches. and you call yourself an American. ohlord

Exploitation of labor is un-American?

I'm tempted to add more and then leave you to clean up the political recriminations mess that this thread turns into. tongue
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