Cosell says 49ers’ bunch formation is the key to Sunday night’s game in Seattle

Here is what Greg Cosell about the upcoming 49ers-Seahawks game on a Sports Illustrated podcast.

Q: Last year before the Super Bowl, we talked a lot about the creativity that Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman implemented in the run game. This year, they’ve taken that creativity to trips and bunch, and the way they set Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis up in those multi-receiver formations was a thing of beauty.

COSELL: That’s really what I want to talk about. I heard a lot of people saying, “That won’t happen against Seattle because Richard Sherman will play press-man.” Really? They’re not going to let him do that.

When I watched Carolina against Seattle, on five plays on their first series they lined up in bunch. Richard Sherman was 12 yards off the ball on every play because you can’t play press-man to bunch unless you’re the point man and he’s not going to play the point man.

The Niners did an unbelievably great job with bunch because they know what Boldin is. Boldin is great in certain ways. He’s nowhere near as athletic or the mover Michael Crabtree is. Crabtree you can do more with in terms of where he is in your formation. The 49ers know this and so does the whole league. They did an unbelievable job against the Packers with bunch. The Packers struggled with it. I guarantee the Seahawks spent a lot of time this week on how to defend that.

And don’t just think of Boldin. They did more with Vernon Davis in this game than they did in the second part of last season.

I’m not suggesting the Niners are going to go in there and score 40 points. Seattle is a very good team and they have a very good coaching staff. I’m just saying it’s not going to play out where Boldin is a true X or Z and Sherman is in his face. There are not going to be many snaps like that.

For the most part, Sherman plays left corner. Occasionally he flops to the slot when it’s pure man. He doesn’t normally follow receivers around.

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