SANTA CLARA — I have a proposition for you. Let’s pause the never-ending Alex Smith debate and temporarily over-analyze something else.
We can always come back to Smith. If you’re not in the mood for an intermission though, who am I to boss you around? Do what makes you happy.
For those of you who are still with me – here’s my question: Who’s the weakest link on the Niners defense?
Yes, it’s a silly question. Clearly the weakest link is a good player – the Niners have the best defense in the NFL. But for the sake of argument, who’s the worst of Vic Fangio’s starters?
You could make the case for OLB Parys Haralson – he only plays with the base 3-4 defense and he doesn’t do a lot of stand-out things when he’s on the field.
You could also make the case for Tarell Brown. Defensive coordinators seem to think he’s the weak link the way test him every week.
But I’m going with the free safety, Dashon Goldson.
Before you yell at me through your computer, yes, I am aware that he’s picked off six passes this season and he’s a good player.
But as Niners Nation’s Tre9er pointed out to me on twitter, Goldson has only recorded one other “pass defensed” in addition to those picks, according to Pro Football Focus’ statistics.
Also according to PFF, quarterbacks have slightly over a 92 rating when throwing into Goldson’s coverage.
For reference, here’s how PFF ranks the 2011 performances of the Niners defensive players.
- Justin Smith
- Aldon Smith
- Ray McDonald
- NaVorro Bowman
- Carlos Rogers
- Donte Whitner
- Larry Grant
- Ahmad Brooks
- Isaac Sopoaga
- Tarell Brown
- Parys Haralson
- Chris Culliver
- Dashon Goldson
Obviously Pro Football Focus isn’t the end-all, be-all authority on this issue. Who would you say is the weakest link on the Niners defense?
Also, Dashon Goldson will be a free agent this offseason. If you were Trent Baalke, would you offer him more than the league average for a free safety?