NEW ORLEANS — This is the live blog for the pregame of the 49ers’ Week 11 game against the Saints. I’ll update this frequently with information and analysis from the press box.
These are the keys to the game for the 49ers:
1. Don’t get into a chess match with the Saints’ defense. Don’t call audibles. If Colin Kaepernick audibles, Rob Ryan’s defense will audible as well, so Kaepernick’s audible won’t be helpful. Plus, the stadium will be too loud. The 49ers should package their plays to have run-pass options, like a weakside lead packaged with a split end slant and a Y-Stick pattern. That way, Kaepernick can make silent audibles and not have to reset the blocking scheme. If Roman makes his offensive linemen think, they’re in trouble. Rob Ryan thrives on confusing offensive linemen and making them miss their blocking assignments.
2. The 49ers’ offense needs early success for confidence, especially Kaepernick. If Kaepernick and the offense come out flat in the first quarter, the Superdome crowd will get lathered up. So, during the first few plays Greg Roman should not call a “shot play”, or an “aw, shoot play,” where the quarterback throws deep, the ball hits the turf and the coaches say, “Aw, shoot.” Roman needs to give Kaepernick easy throws to build his confidence and Roman needs to roll Kaepernick out of the pocket. The 49ers need to get two or three first downs per drive to keep the Saints’ offense off the field.
3. The 49ers don’t need to carry 8 or 9 runs in their game plan. They just need 2 – power off tackle and the weakside lead. The Saints play a 46-defense, so the 49ers should use their Tiger set – 22 personnel – and run away from the strong safety every time. If Vernon Davis is not effective or cannot play, the 49ers should use a three-wide-receiver and two-running-back formation, that way every run is a weakside run.
11:06 Did you know Bruce Miller is the 49ers’ third-leading receiver?
11:54 Vernon Davis and Eric Reid are active and starting, apparently. The 49ers’ inactives are McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Nick Moody, Joe Looney, Garrett Celek, Ray McDonald and Tank Carradine. Demarcus Dobbs will start in place of McDonald.
11:56 The Saints’ inactives are Ryan Griffin, Khiry Robinson, Kenny Vaccaro, Rod Sweeting, Terron Armstead, Tyrunn Walker and Benjamin Watson. Rafael Bush will start for Vaccaro.
11:59 Drew Brees is throwing passes and working on his footwork in the pocket. Kaepernick is running sprints.
12:49 The last time the 49ers faced Sean Payton, Darren Sproles had 15 catches for 119 yards and 1 TD, and Jimmy Graham had 5 catches for 103 yards and 2 TDs.