Brent Jones spoke on KNBR Monday afternoon. Here’s what he said about 49ers upcoming matchup with the Packers.
Q: Are you confident the 49ers will beat the Packers?
BRENT JONES: This year there have been so many ups and downs, and there are weeks where I’m saying there’s no way this team’s going to lose, and there are weeks where I’m saying this team can’t beat anybody. That is usually not the mark of a Super Bowl champion.
The week off was huge for the Niners this year. I’ll take an 80 percent Justin Smith versus Justin Smith not in the game, but that’s going to be a crucial component – how much pressure can you get on Aaron Rodgers?
As much as people want to say Green Bay’s running game has been better in the second half of the season, it’s OK but they’re not going to beat the 49ers with their running game. They might throw some screens or run a draw here or there, but the way that they’re going beat the 49ers is Aaron Rodgers getting hot and those receivers getting open.
That’s going to come down to are the 49ers getting pressure on Aaron Rodgers, are they making him rush his throws, are they hitting him, is he having to move around the pocket – those are the things that are really going to come from the pass rush that we haven’t seen without a healthy Justin Smith. I’m cautiously optimistic.
Do I think the defense for Green Bay is spectacular? No, I think they’re average to solid. I think we’ll score some points. You can’t control an unbelievably hot Aaron Rodgers. That the thing that scares me about Green Bay – Aaron Rodgers having a chip on his shoulder. He does want this one badly, and rightfully so.
But I think the week off is a huge advantage for us. My gut tells me they’ve been preparing for the Packers for two weeks, they didn’t think the Vikings would beat them, especially when they found out Christian Ponder wouldn’t play. It’s those couple extra days of preparation and treatment that make the difference.
Q: Do you think the Packers are going to try to establish a running game?
BRENT JONES: I think that the Packers are going to force the run even if it’s uncomfortable. I would expect them to stay with it in the first half as long as it’s close. I’ve played on a lot of teams where we didn’t have much of a running game and we had to play against nickel and dime the whole time. We would say, Ok, let’s beat it. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. It’s tough for a prolonged period, especially on the road, especially against the pass rush the 49ers defense can generate. If the 49ers are stopping the Packers run with their nickel and dime, it’s going to be a long day for the Packers.
Now, if the Packers are getting four, five, six yards against nickel, it’s going to make us play it more evenly. That’s going to change things when it’s play action.
In my heart, I still don’t believe that Green Bay is going to be able to execute the run.