The strengths and weaknesses of the the Wide 9

San Francisco 49ers’ Joey Bosa stands on the field at the team’s NFL football headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., Tuesday, June 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Check out my video breakdown of the 49ers’ new defensive alignment.

Here are the Cliff’s Notes:


1. Rushing the quarterback. The Wide 9 makes a speed rusher even more dangerous, because he lines up outside the tight end. The offensive tackle has to kick slide quickly and cover lots of ground just to get his hands on the Wide 9 defensive end (think Dee Ford). By forcing the offensive tackle to move so far, the Wide 9 creates space inside for the 3-technique defensive tackle (think DeForest Buckner) to rush one-on-one against a guard. The 49ers have struggled to create one-on-one matchups for Buckner the past three seasons.

2. Defending finesse runs outside the tackles. It’s extremely difficult to run outside outside zone or jet sweeps against the Wide 9, because the  defensive end is not attached to the tight end. If the defensive end fires straight upfield after the snap, he’s on the tight end’s outside shoulder already, forcing the outside-zone run to break inside the tight end. The Wide 9 sets the edge. He is the D-gap defender (the gap farthest from the center). Last season, the 49ers’ strong-side defensive end was head up on the tight end, meaning he was the C-gap defender. This alignment allowed the strong-side linebacker to defend the D-Gap and be a smaller player, because he had to chase down people near the sideline rather than fill gaps between the tackles.

3. Playing Cover 2 and 2-man. The three linebackers are bunched together between the tackles. They’re all in perfect position to play their zones in Cover 2.


1. Playing Cover 3. The curl/flat defenders (strong safety and strong-side linebacker) are farther away from their landmarks pre-snap in a Wide 9 alignment compared to the traditional Seattle defense. The strong-side linebacker is in the box, so he has an extra few yards to run to get to the flat. And the strong safety is 10-12 yards off the line of scrimmage, so he has a mile and a half to run to get to the flat. This means teams will attack the 49ers’ defense in the flats next season. In practice, the 49ers have been dropping the strong safety into the hook zone over the middle and sending both outside linebackers to the flats.

2. Defending runs between the tackles. It’s tough for offenses to break the outside contain of a Wide 9 defense, so they must attack where the softness of the defense is, and that’s inside. By spreading out the defensive linemen, the defense has created cavities offenses will try to expose by making their run game more direct. The 49ers’ small linebackers better wear big-boy pads next season, because offenses will be running between the tackles. They’ll run inside zone plays, and pin-and-pull concepts such as G-Leads, Whams, Traps and Power plays. The strong-side linebacker (Dre Greenlaw?) has to be a stud, because he’s playing the C-gap between the tackle and tight end. Offenses can block the Sam linebacker with a tight end, block down on the 3-technique with the offensive tackle and pull the play-side guard to kick out the Wide 9 DE. That’s a G-Lead. The Wide 9 alignment makes it easier for offenses to isolate the 3-technique (Buckner) in the run game, and exposes him to situations where he’ll have to play the down block from the offensive tackle more often.

3. Defending play action. The Sam linebacker must explode downhill toward the line of scrimmage whenever he sees run action coming toward the C-gap, so he’s easily fooled by play action. He will bite every time a quarterback fakes a hand off. Last season, the 49ers’ Sam linebacker and strong safety both lined up outside the tackles, so they didn’t have to overreact to run actions, and they both had clear views of the run fake, because they were outside the tackles and didn’t have to peer through bodies to find the football.

Do you like the Wide 9 alignment? Do you think it will improve the 49ers defense? Or should the 49ers have stuck with what they used the past two seasons? Why or why not?

This article has 131 Comments

  1. I’m for any defensive scheme–flexed/adapted across all four quarters–which will hold opponent offenses in check (to the max extent possible). Key is adapting to game situations–opponent’s offensive scheme, down/distance, matchups, etc.

    Flexibility vs. blind application.

  2. I like the Wide 9 but not 100% of the time. I think it is an effective weapon that should be in the arsenal. Question is, how does the Wide 9 strengths and weaknesses line up vs NFC West opponents. I really don’t like it against the Seahawks because I think the Wide 9 opens up massive rush lanes for Russel Westbrook to expose. I do like the Wide 9 vs the Rams where I think it can be more effective. Not sure about the Cardinals yet. I disagree with many people in my football circle. I think the hire of Kingsbury and the draft of Murray are complete disasters for that franchise. Kingsbury couldn’t win in college with Patrick Mahomes at QB. What makes anyone think he can win in the NFL with a QB not as good as Mahomes.

      1. Kingsbury couldn’t win in college with Patrick Mahomes at QB.
        Not defending Kingsbury but there wasn’t much else on that team past Mahomes.

        ” I think the hire of Kingsbury and the draft of Murray are complete disasters for that franchise. ” Said as much when it happened. Kingsbury will try to run that team like a College squad and fail in the same way Chip did. Bringing along an undersized baseball player to be your starting QB will be the cherry on top of that failure shake.

        1. Hate to see Larry Fitzgerald go out this way but I think the Cards and the Dolphins will be the worst teams in the NFL next year. Right now I put it at 60/40 that Kingsbury will be 1 and done for Arizona. I actually like Kingsbury as a college coordinator. The work he did with Case Keenum, Johnny Manziel, Baker Mayfield the 1 year he had him, and Patrick Mahomes was really strong. But Kingsbury’s offense will not translate well to the NFL, IMO. Cards may even start off strong but by Game 4 it will be a weekly beat down that will be hard to watch.

          1. I see Keim as the one that would get dumped after this season if it goes as we think it will. Kingsbury and Murray will get at least two seasons before Keims replacement pulls the plug and brings in his own guys.

    1. I wish to agree with your take on the Wide 9. It is a good scheme if used judiciously, but think they will go more traditional on first and second downs, anyways. Kwon and Warner will be key.
      I wish to respectfully disagree about Kingsbury. He is in a good situation. Since they had the worst record in the league, he can only go up, with low expectations. Murray is a game changer, and they selected 3 very good WRs. Isabella ran a 4.3 forty, Hakeem Butler can ragdoll the DBs, and posters on this site championed Keesean Johnson.
      Zach Allen may be a good sleeper pick, and they bolstered the DBs with Byron Murphy and Deionte Thompson. They even got great value, selecting Caleb Wilson in the 7th, after bolstering the O line with a Tackle and Center.
      Since the Niners lost twice to the Cards last season, and have not won in years, beating them will be a daunting task.

  3. Problem is last year this team couldn’t even get cover two right…All of the confusion and communication problems…hope the team iron’s this out….especially since they don’t have a “real” OLB or a FSafety that is a proven player..thanks Grant

  4. Overall I think the Wide-9 will help Buckner the most. He should have a lot more one-on-one match-ups and our sack numbers should increase.

    However I feel this scheme will also be detrimental to the run defense. I hope not, but we will just have to wait and watch.

  5. The more points Shanny’s offense can put up, and pressurize opposing offenses into passing more; the more opportunities to utilize the wide 9 technique, and it’s effectiveness therein will be available….

    1. This is an interesting perspective I didn’t put together. The Wide 9 becomes more effective if you have a lead. If a team is trying to close out games by running the ball, the Wide 9 is much less effective.

    2. Sorry for parroting your comment. Just scrolled up and read it, after commenting on what Wilson wrote.

  6. Nice read….@ Grant – no read/page on Staley getting a contract extension – it is kinda big news – would be nice to read what you think about his 49er career so far – the good, the bad and ugly….

    wide 9 is cool against the pass if you have a player like Bosa ……..if I was on offense I will run a draw play to get you out of it…..

    1. What makes you say that? You haven’t seen the rookie yet, and Mayo?
      A fifth round choice had 4 starts in 4 years. 2 passes defensed in 4 years, and zero picks in 4 years. Journeyman backup at best who they probably signed to compete for ST spot. Not hating, just not seeing the excellence.

  7. My concern is that they are violating the principle of not changing their scheme while rebuilding, which most posters here have said was absolutely taboo. This is one of the big bugaboos I have reading here. Many make excellent points when critiquing the 49ers and spell out sound reasoning. Then when the 49er brainiacs violate sound principles, posters just say Oh Well, they must know what they’re doing because to do otherwise would be “negative”. Are we lacking in talent or are we lacking in proper skills. Well the answer they have come up with is BOTH. That’s not good. Too many moving parts and, worst of all, the scheme changes seem to be driven by the position coaches and not the DC. Saleh has transitioned from implementing “his” scheme to implementing “their” scheme. IMO they are giving Saleh enough rope to hang himself instead of replacing him this year. We’re back to the Nolan/Singletary days where we have the scheme of the week. Regardless of the hypothetical benefits of the Wide 9, If they use it only periodically to confuse offenses it MIGHT be effective. But if you really believe Saleh is DC material, I would not make a major change to our overall scheme like this right now.

    1. After listening to Kocurek, the wide 9 is a technique they will master for use against teams like the Rams, Cardinals and Seahawks. Stops the outside runs, and puts more stress on the edges to defeat pass pro. This combined with quick route coverage from the secondary should create more opportunities to get off the field on 3rd downs. It’ll be interesting to find out the percentages they use various defensive techniques at the end of the season….

      1. The problem is that the Seahawks also feature a fair amount (if not predominately) inside zone runs.

        1. Kocurek said that on initial downs they would most likely be in a wide 6. I suppose this will help a little more in defending inside runs??

        2. allforfunnplay
          I look for Rashaad Penny to get more playing time than Chris Carson as the season progresses. While both are power runners, Penny is bigger, faster, has quick feet for someone his size and is a threat to score. I’ve watched him play when he was at San Diego St. and believe he’s capable of running both inside and outside zone.
          Have you watched him play? If so, what’s your opinion?

          1. I’m just vaguely familiar with Penny as a good sized inside runner either from watching him a little bit somewhere or reading a draft profile. But yes, a good team will adjust their plan of attack and try to hammer the inside if they face a Wide 9 alignment. But I could see that if the 49ers face a heavier personnel offense (like 12 or 22 personnel) that they could switch back to an Under scheme. I hope that they will be that versatile.

    2. I truly hope Joe Woods, with his DC experience, will greatly aid Saleh.
      Kocurek will hopefully not play players out of position.

  8. Not For Long. One of my favorite Glanville quotes. It’s also how much time you have when you’ve started something different before the league adjusts to what you are doing. Just ask Harbaugh and Kaepernick.

  9. From what the players and coaches are saying it sounds like they may use the Wide 9 situationally. I didn’t hear anyone say they were going to play the wide 9 exclusively. If the players can adjust to the responsibility changes it could maximize their pass rush and rushing defense. How hard would it be for the front 7 to switch back and forth between the 6/6i to wide 9?

    1. Hopefully, the Niners can build a lead, then the Wide 9 may be used more. They would let them run, but not let them get big plays.
      Wide 9 would be best for third and long situations.

  10. …. a moronic dumb president —

    For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon – We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!

    1. I know he constantly says ignorant, outlandish and idiotic things, but saying the moon is a part of Mars is on another level of dumb it’s really hard to fathom

      The anti-intellectual movement has no greater leader than Trump.

      1. Well, the Moon has long been suspected of being a forward staging area for Martian forces intent on invading Earth…

      2. I have no idea where this conversation started…or how it relates to this blog. I in no way want to defend Trump’s comments and actions…….but….could he have meant that the moon would be a staging ground for further exploration beyond…like Mars? I dunno…like setting up a permanent base? Given Trump’s historical issues with clear communication…..maybe setting up a future staging area on the moon for further space exploration is what he meant?

        1. yes you have no idea….lets stick with that…..and move on

          and just a correction – Trump has no issues with communication – we hear him loud and clear…….Trump has issues with intelligence – dude is just straight dumb….

          the fact that his legacy will be one of shame to the united states confirms how dumb he is…..

          1. You brought it up for some bizarre reason???

            Don’t be disrespecting SPACE FORCE!

            Besides, don’t you want to see Trump go bankrupt again trying to build a Trump lunar luxury tower on the moon?

            1. “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the unequal sharing of miseries.” One of my favorite quotes by Churchill.

    2. Well if Trump is looking for a Space Cadet I know one in the Bronx who should be #1 on the list.

  11. That’s Nick Bosa in the above pic, not Joey.. My concern is whether we have the right personnel physically to make Wide 9 a viable defense..

    1. Well, to turn your question around, what do you think is the most viable defensive scheme that fits the personnel on the Niners’ roster?

  12. KS- ‘I do not give a damn about the other teams.’
    He should.
    KS sounds cocky and confident, but just gave them bulletin board material. Bad move. He should respect the other teams, and feign weakness. Then say what he did in the locker room, not at a PC.

  13. Playing the Wide 9 with Cover 2 and 2 Man is not great if you also have to defend the run. 8 gaps and only 7 players in the box. Two of them are playing force/containment roles. 2 high coverages are usually paired with base defenses that incorporate some 2 gapping from the D-line. Single gap base defenses usually use a single high coverage shell and have the in the box safety play as an extra run defender….either in the gap or as an overhang force player.

    But one of the criticisms of the wide-nine defense is that it puts too much pressure on the interior of the defense. With the defensive front spread out, it forces opponents to run inside and puts pressure on the defensive tackles and linebackers to fill the gaps and make tackles.

    As for interior run defense:

    When asked about that criticism, Dolphins defensive line coach Terrell Williams had a strong response.

    “There is no big gap,” Williams said Friday. “Here’s something – and listen, you can report it or write it, whatever you guys want – I think sometimes when people watch football, especially on TV, they see things that aren’t necessarily true. We know exactly what we’re seeing, and there is no big gaps in the middle. The only difference between playing a nine-technique and a six-technique – which means you’re head up on a tight end – is one guy is a little bit wider, and now they just switched gaps. The off-the-ball linebacker now has the inside gap and the other guy has the outside gap. The wide nine, there’s no big deal about it. Miami Dolphins new wide-nine defense ‘not what people think

    Here is Dolphin’s safety Malcom Jenkins on his run responsibilities:

    “It does put your safeties more into the box and into C gaps and the B gaps. But we’re not telling [the front four] to completely be up the field and abandon the run, because that’s just not sound.”

    Still, there are big differences. In this system, the safeties might not be able to run as free as they did when the defensive line was two-gapping to form a wall up front in the 3-4 the Eagles ran the last three years. This year, they will find themselves having to encounter more pulling linemen and will have to fight off more blocks.

    Again, no worries, Jenkins insists.

    “Last year [against the run], every gap was pretty much canceled and we funneled the ball to the outside and the safeties were just kind of unblocked, cleaning stuff up,” he said. “This one, you’re probably in the box more, taking on blockers, inside run fits and all of that.

    “We had to take on tight ends and stuff last year,” Jenkins said. “The only difference is literally the gaps. Last year, everybody’s two-gapping [up front], so all of the inside gaps are canceled, the linebackers are taking whatever shows up and the ball usually spills to the C or D gap, to the safety. So if you [did] get blocked, you’re just fighting off to the edge. This one, you’ll be inside fighting a block if you have to hold the inside guy. So it’s a little tougher, but it’s the same technique, different gap.” Eagle’s New Wide 9

    So Wide 9 proponents will say that there isn’t much of an issue with the interior run defense of the scheme. You’re just changing the gap assignments around. But there in lies the issue. The Ends are now Force/Containment players, replacing Safeties and Linebackers. Those B and and C gaps are now going to defended by linebackers and even smaller safeties. It’s the same containment based run scheme that 3-4 defenses use; channeling ball carriers back inside to be tackled by the inside linebackers. The difference is the personnel; 3-4 inside linebackers are typically bigger run stuffer types because even though they often have 2 gapping space eating defensive linemen to protect them the linebackers are still stout enough to take on Guards and Centers in the middle of the defense. Instead of the End taking on the Tackle in the strong C gap you know have a SAM linebacker. In the Under you had a 280+ lb end taking on a 300 lb tackle. Now you have a 235 lb linebacker filling the same gap.

    But playing against an outside run offense (zone or otherwise), the Wide 9 is positioned better to defend it than most other defenses. This bodes well against the teams like the Rams…..the Seahawks (who run both inside and outside zone…but a lot of inside zone)…we’ll see. The defense should work well against teams that use fly sweeps and screen passes a lot because the linebackers and safety are free from force/containment duties and are free to fast flow to the edges.

    Finally, I believe an important point can be made that the Wide 9 is a tighter fit in terms of personnel and assignments of the base and nickel packages. The only difference is subbing a defensive back in for a linebacker. Most of the other roles are pretty much the same in either package. Where as the base Under personnel and assignments were much different than the Nickel package personnel and assignments. Hopefully this will lead to more continuity on the defense and a greater understanding and execution of their roles because they don’t change as much or often.

    1. I stopped reading when i saw dolphins defense…..

      …seriously you are using the dolphins as an example, the dolphins that ranked 31st against the run last year…….

      …….damn we are F..kd

      1. I do not know who Dolphin’s defensive coach Terrell Williams is. Maybe he stinks as a coach. I don’t know. Like all schemes it works sometimes and it doesn’t at other times. It all depends on if you have the right players to execute it and the right coaches to teach/coach it. So while the Dolphins may run a similar scheme (which is why I used their quotes about it)….I’d argue that the Niners have better players…..the coaches? That’s still a question mark. The Wide 9 scheme has worked at times for the Lions and the Eagles (at at times it hasn’t worked). Maybe Saleh’s time in the Under scheme will give him a fresh new perspective on how /when to implement the Wide 9?

        It’s too bad you stopped reading when the Dolphins were brought up, I tried to include some informative information and opinion in the post.

        1. sorry….its really hard to connect the dots when you use the 2nd worst team against the Run to explain a point about a defensive scheme…….and the post was too long….

            1. Saleh is not implementing the scheme…..they brought in Kris Kocurek to implement it and also brought in a new DB coach………right now Saleh is a just a placeholder until we start losing close games as usual….

              1. Saleh has to tie it all together. He has both a new DL coach AND secondary coach.

                Saleh holds the title of Defensive Coordinator. But at this point I think his role is more like the game plan coordinator that stitches the defensive front scheme to the back end coverage.

              2. AFFP: In chess, the player playing with the white pieces can initiate a particular opening and black has the opportunity to stymie that opening. White can readily choose a variation to counter black, but black may have been able to effectively stop the intent of the initial opening chosen by white.

                My concern is that Saleh is not able to change the defense to match up better with what the opposing team is throwing at the 49ers (after studying the 49ers wide 9 film). In other words, can Saleh counter when the opposing offense continually runs plays designed to neutralize the wide 9.

                I guess we’ll see, but I’m not holding my breath.

              3. I think they’re already teaching the interior linemen to hold their blocks if they read tight or full flow before going up field in an effort to help fortify the middle. I think this is where Saleh’s background in the Under scheme might help. In the Under if the D-linemen reads the play is going away he squeezes his gap and shrinks the adjacent play side gap before going up field in pursuit. So if the 2i DTs in the Wide 9 do the same squeeze technique, they can shrink the inside gaps to help fortify the middle. I’m purely speculating based on a comment I think I read somewhere by a coach about not having the DTs simply charge up field. And employing this technique may not be enough.

              4. Isn’t the 2i tech DT essentially the “nose tackle” for this defense? I’ve always had the impression that nose tackles are more about holding ground, taking on double teams and taking up space (historically, they are typically wide, short, powerful guys). However, I’ve heard that Sheldon Day is manning that position and that he was credited, IIRC, with the only sack of the day during open practice this week. That might suggest that they are looking for a 2i that can rush the passer. On the surface, that sounds like a dangerous strategy for the wide 9 to me.

              5. In the Under the NT 1T doesn’t necessarily “hold his ground”…that’s not his primary goal. His goal is to fit into his gap, “flash some color” and push the ball carrier outside. The “hold your ground” part is because when running inside, the NT is often double teamed by the Center and Guard. So he has to “hold his ground” to stay in his gap. But it’s not his primary job to simply stay put.

                If I had to hazard a guess, it would be that the 3T and 2i D-linemen will move around just a bit…a shade here or there to best take advantage of expected offensive plays/blocking. The 2i DT is going to be less susceptible to double teams as a 1 technique NT simply due to where he lines up. So if the play bounces outside of the 2i he’s going to sort of squeeze his gap in shrink the adjacent B gap. In the Wide 9, I’m guessing the 3T may have a small change in assignment. He’s going to squeeze his gap on away plays which shrinks the weak A gap. When plays are towards him he’s going to attack the shoulder of the Tackle…the outside part of the B Gap…..(in the Under the the 3T would stick with the inside part of the B gap/shoulder of the Guard).

                *squeeze technique typically means attacking the offensive lineman with his inside shoulder and driving him back into the adjacent gap (generally towards the center….but I’m thinking they may change that to an outward squeeze for the 2i) while keeping your outside arm free to protect your gap.

    2. AFFP: Our safeties were one of the most injury-prone groups last year. Should we be even more concerned for this year?

              1. We will win a plethora of games with our starting punter! He may be the best of all time!

                Good thing we have such football gods working for our organization or we might have losing seasons without them!

                Oh, wait….

  14. Thanks grant,

    I was trying to figure out the Wide 9 you kept referencing. Great video demostration.

  15. Can’t recall which years, but in the Walsh era 9ers ran a scheme for a while with LDE in 6T and Sam flexed over RT. Mike Walter might’ve been the Sam, but it’s hazy back that far.
    BW insisted on getting pressure in 4Q

  16. Nice Breakdown Grant. I think the points you made on the ability to play cover 2 are really important. Having only one deep safety requires a really good FS, which we don’t have. Having 2 safeties deep will mean fewer decisions, less ground to cover, and hopefully better play from Spoon.

  17. Everyone seems to think that DB’s are the Niners biggest weakness, nah its the interior O-line. If the O-line can keep JG upright the defense will become really, really good just because….

  18. I like the idea of mixing up what they do more. Happy to see wide 9 implemented as their “main” front so long as they aren’t rigid about it and are happy to mix it around to basically put their players in more advantageous positions against different types of offenses.

    1. Versatility seems to be the mission statement on both sides of the ball. I wonder if we’ll run any power this year.

      1. KS has the intelligence and experience to easily provide that versatility on offense. Saleh does not inspire anywhere near the same level of confidence.

        1. Point taken, Cubus but they did give Saleh some upgrades to help him find his swagger. Nick Bosa, Kocurek and Woods.

              1. Well, you’re right that we haven’t seen a game yet. I was focusing on the part about Woods potentially being the future DC. You don’t put any value on Woods having been the DC at Denver the past two seasons?

                “Woods on the other hand does have experience. He was the DC for the Denver Broncos in 2017 and 2018. The Broncos finished third overall in total defense in Wood’s first year as DC giving up just 290 yards per game, and while they took a step back in 2018, he didn’t necessarily lose his job to incompetence. But rather, he happened to the be the DC on a team that hired another DC to be their head coach (Vic Fangio).”

              2. I put a little more into it then the comment really needed but I was really only pointing out the fanboy moment by the author.

                I don’t have much opinion about Joe Woods or his prospect of becoming the DC. I do know that although it’s generally better to have previous experience in a position it does matter if that experience was positive overall in ones growth. His defense wasn’t bad but wasn’t spectacular either. Here’s one article that popped up when I did a search on him:
                I don’t know that I see anything in him that says he would be any better then Saleh. Might not be worse but is he an upgrade?

              3. Saleh wasn’t fired after last year because Shanahan and Lynch knew they turned him into a one legged man in an ass kicking contest by last year.

              4. @Jack:

                Okay, so now he has those pass rushers and Saleh will have no more excuses. While I can’t vouch specifically for Woods, the idea of having someone, with the necessary experience, available at a moment’s notice to replace Saleh if needed sounds like a prudent move to me.

              5. There should be no excuses for anyone in this organization, but that won’t be the case if they lose again this year.

  19. Interesting. The Texans fire their GM Brian Gaine, who went 11-5 and had the Texans in the playoffs last season.
    The problem was, they whiffed in the draft, reaching for Tytus Howard. JL reached, too, but even at 4-12, his job is safe.

    1. Sebbie… Cherry pick your Texans draft grade…

      “As for how various media outlets graded the Texans, here is how those grades looked:

      • (Conor Dorney): B+

      • Touchdown Wire USA Today (Doug Farrar): C

      • CBS Sports (Pete Prisco): C-

      • (Mel Kiper): C+

      • Sporting News (Nicholas McGee): B+

      • (Chad Reuter): C+

      • Walter Football: F

      • Sports Illustrated (Andy Benoit): B

      • San Diego Union Tribune (Eddie Brown): C-

      • Bleacher Report (Ian Wharton): C-

      • Pro Football Focus: Below Average

      • Fantasy Pros (Mike Tagilere): A-

      • Houston Chronicle (John McClain): B-

      • Battle Red Blog (Matt Weston): C+”

      1. Take away the A and F, and there are 8 C’s and 4 B’s. That sounds below average.
        Randy Gurzi graded every team, and gave the Texans a C-, but also said he was being kind.
        Dan Parr gave them a C-.
        Nate Davis gave them a D.
        Now there is an article surmising whether the Texans fired Gaine for his role in the draft. Guess you think that the writer is also way off base.
        Since the team went 11-5 and made it to the playoffs, the failures in the draft make it a reasonable reason why he was fired, but there may have been other factors involved.

        1. True.

          C’s should be average but evaluators don’t like to give out poor grades, so more often than not if your team gets a C, they are in the bottom 1/3rd of the draft grades given.

  20. “The passion is what you look for in a player no matter the sport. whenever I strapped up I was leaving it out there for my brothers. love y’all Fellahs!!!”

    Navarro Bowman

    “Hey man, the coaches wouldn’t let me switch positions and I really don’t like this offense. I know there are 4 more games on the schedule but I’m out. See you suckers later.”

    Jalen Hurd

  21. I wonder how they will utilize Armstead on the D line, and in the Wide 9.
    He is 6′ 8″, and did not have one batted ball, last season. Hopefully, they will coach him up so he can get a hand in the air to tip the ball. That is a good way to get a possible interception, even if he does not get to the QB. Fortunately, both Wilson and Murray are under 6 feet.

    1. One issue I have always had with Armstead as a pass rusher is he ducks his head right down. This gives him more length in keeping OL off his body and helps generate push by staying low (so he gets pressures), but it is a big reason he often is late to disengage and track the football to make a play (he doesn’t finish). He can’t see what is happening because he completely nullifies his height. It also means he is in bad position to (a) know when to get his hands up to bat a pass and (b) use his length to block passing lanes.

      1. I think you are describing the inherent difficulties that a man as tall as Armstead has playing DL. Buckner is the exception that proves the rule. It’s not impossible to succeed at their height, but much more dificult. To me it’s like someone never telling a left handed second basemen that he’s going to have to change positions
        somewhere up the line.

      2. Wonder if any of the DL coaching staff and their many assistants/specialists have noticed this, and see it as a problem.

        1. KS and his crew seem to always want to be thinking out of the of the box. You look at the heights of all DL and you can see that Armstead and DeFo are up there where the air is rare in size and numbers (no pun etc.) I don’t know about you but when I look around and see I’m the only one seeing something, I stop and reflect a bit. Kinda like being excited to go to a restaurant that’s mostly empty all the time. Am I stupid or are all the people that don’t go there? I’m really not a reinvent the wheel kinda guy.

        2. Obviously, since Armstead did not bat down a pass last season, Zgonina did not think it was important.
          Hopefully Kocurek will get Armstead to rush in the main passing lanes, and get his hand up to disrupt the QB’s line of sight, even if he is blocked by a Guard.
          I hope Kocurek will coach Armstead and the other interior pass rushers to read the QB’s eyes, and time their jumps for maximum disruption. Getting a tipped pass is a good way to possibly get an interception.

    2. I’m guessing he’ll be rotated in as one of the interior Defensive Tackles?

      Though Saleh liked Armstead on the outside for some reason (he’s fine in the base as a Big End)….remember he had Armstead line up as a LEO a couple years ago??? I get wanting a base run defender at the position but the LEO requires some degree of quickness and agility to help contain the run. Runners would get around Armstead and he couldn’t get to them. Armstead’s game is power. I hope we do not see Armstead lined up as an End (at the 9 or 6 tech).

    1. Thanks for posting, George. It was a good film study, even if the reviewer’s machine gun talking style is annoying. He also did reviews on Dee Ford, Verret and Bosa.

  22. Kentavius Street may be the biggest surprise for the D line, this upcoming season.
    If he is fully healthy, he will anchor the middle and be stout against the run, but he may also walk back the center to collapse the pocket.
    Hopefully Kocurek will do a better job, putting players in positions to succeed. Zgonina played players out of position, and favored players like Marsh.

    1. I hope Grant can focus on KS, Malcolm Smith, Dre Greenlaw and Tarvarius Moore, during the upcoming practices.
      I also want to see if they are rotating in players for the RG position.

  23. Minicamp, 11-13 June.

    Grant, if possible, please get some video of K. Street, Whisnowsky, the RBs, and W. Speight.

  24. Yet another opportunity for those on this blog with extensive, first-hand NFL experience (of a winning nature, of course). Stay tuned. If Mayhew departs, get your resume to John and Jed to take Martin’s place. I’d imagine a salary deep into six figures would be much more attractive than simply dominating the homie rabble on this blog. Go for it! When Lynch is gone, you’d be the perfect candidate to take over as GM…hello seven figures!!!

    1. Gaine was GM when they won 11 games and made it to the playoffs, and was fired. JL won 4 games and was rewarded with the second pick in the draft, and still has his job.
      I wish Martin Mayhew all success, but he is probably a candidate to fulfill the Rooney Rule.
      Nick Caserio will probably be the best candidate, in the end. If they can get him.

      1. Seb
        You could be a minority candidate too. What’s holding you back from applying for the job and demonstrating your brilliance?

        1. Naw, while I mention JL’s record compared to Gaine, I still want him to remain in the Niner GM position. JL actually did draft talent, even if it was reaching. Gaine got snookered by the Eagles swooping in and poaching Andre Dillard from them, then he panicked and selected Tytus Howard. Texans could have picked Caleb McGary, Jawaan Taylor, Greg Little, Cody Ford,Dalton Risner, Elgton Jenkins or Erik McCoy, who were chosen just after Howard, and before Sharping.
          I do not know if I would meekly acquiesce and let the HC choose players like Foster and Joe Williams, but since it allows for harmony, that may be a wise decision on JL’s part.
          You could not pay me enough money to move to Texas. Ima Californio.
          Mayhew might have a good chance to be the Texans GM, since he does have GM experience, and Caserio may also not want to move to Texas. Maybe he is eyeing Belichick’s job once he retires, just like Josh McDaniels.

          1. You’re GM material Sebbie. Go for it. They’d be nuts to not hire you. Yeah, it’s Texas, but you could set your family up for several generations. Grant would be a great reference for you, given how he’s revered across the league.

            You CAN do the GM job, right?

              1. However, succeeding at GM is hard. 31 out of 32 GMs failed to win a ring last season.
                Maybe that is why 4-12 JL is getting another chance.
                Heck, if an 11-5 playoff team GM can get fired, nobody should feel safe.

  25. Who was it that said PFF was worthless? Seems the 49ers disagree:

    The final new hire is scouting assistant Steve Slowik. He’s a former Pro Football Focus analyst who worked his way into an NFL job. His brother is 49ers’ offensive assistant Bobby Slowik.

  26. Adam Schefter

    Verified account

    Follow Follow @AdamSchefter
    49ers’ kicker Robbie Gould still has not signed his franchise tag, thus he will not be at minicamp.

    1. Typical Baalke trolling. Trying to jinx the team by worrying about injuries. Cassie really must hate this team.

  27. Robbie Gould not showing up for camp! Good thing we have that 4th round punter! What could go wrong?

  28. There was a time when the SF qb room had Montana, Young, and Bono. They were all so competitive that during down times on the practice field or at the end of practice they’d toss rolls of tape up to the top of the goal posts to try to get them to fall into the opening on top of the upright. It came to public knowledge as just an aside in the off season jabber on the sports pages.
    That was before the media and the public engaged on the Internet. I’m sure that in today’s world our sports writers would be charting and documenting every toss and every day’s tally and the ongoing tally of the competition for the season. It would make as much sense as charting every pass thrown in a practice session.
    Then commenters on blogs, going off written reports (2nd hand) would offer instant analysis of the implications of the tape tossing controversy and extrapolate into the deeper meaning of those into life in general, bringing them to pick someone to assign scornful blame.
    What if some of the frequent commenters had to actually type or write a physical letter and put their money where their mouth is by buying a postage stamp and sending it to the paper? A few guys I can think of would go broke!

  29. Trump holds up blank paper with claimed secret agreement with Mexico……..ha ha…lol….this guy is a buffoon…..

  30. Wide nine is more for speed guys like Montez Sweat. Nick Bosa is more of a power guy with not so much speed and he doesn’t want to pull a hamstring like he did this off season and like his brother did too

  31. Appreciate the insights. Seems like it will depend on the situation, where the opposing team is likely to run more or not. So hopefully adjust to the team and the situation, in terms of things like being in the lead or not. If a team is playing catchup the wide 9 seems effective. If they are eating the clock, maybe switch it up, etc. If a team typically uses a lot of play action, adjust accordingly.

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