Just like every NFL team in this league, none of them are what you call “perfect” on both sides of the ball. Evidently, the San Francisco 49ers did have some noticeable imperfections on both their offensive line and defensive secondary against the Green Bay Packers. On Sunday, the 49ers will face their long time nemesis the Seattle Seahawks, continuing one of the best rivalries in the NFC West. After barely getting the “W” from the Packers, the Niners’ will need all the help they can get from their fellow teammates. If the 49ers all work together as one impenetrable unit, they will achieve their redemption over the (13-42) blowout loss they had in Seattle last December. When I say one unit, I mean everyone on that talented 49ers roster has to perform and do their part. Here are the following key players that need to be monitored closely.
Nnamdi Asomugha has to improve his coverage against the speedy wide-outs. He allowed Jordy Nelson to acquire seven receptions, racking up a total of about 130 yards. Fortunately, Asomugha did step up his coverage in the end giving a sigh of relief to both Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown. Asomugha urgently needs to tighten up his coverage in the beginning of the game or Russell Wilson will be having a field day with him on the pass attack. Once Asomugha is given the assignment to cover Sydney Rice then he has to change gears, if not the defensive backfield will be in complete ruins. If the Asomugha project continues to disappoint, Tramaine Brock will have no problem being the next suitable replacement.
Frank Gore has be more aggressive pounding the rock through the defensive line. The 30 year-old rushed for only 44 yards and recorded one touchdown against the Packer defense. Clearly, he was not getting into rhythm due to the Packer’s relentless defense to stop the run game. This all starts with the offensive line making the necessary creases and open lanes for Gore to take advantage of. If the O-line cannot keep up with Seattle’s defensive tenacity, then Gore won’t be such a colossal factor coming into this match-up. Nevertheless, Gore is still the heart of this 49er offense, if he gets going, without a doubt his teammates will follow right behind him.
Aldon Smith and Justin Smith didn’t seem to have the edge against the Packer’s offensive line. Yes, they each recorded a couple of solo tackles and assists, however, they weren’t as effective as we thought they would be. Left guard David Bakhtairi definitively proved that he can roll with the big boys. Pro Bowler Josh Sitton also controlled the veteran Cowboy for the most part, giving Aaron Rodgers that extra time in the pocket to throw the rock. It is essential that the Smith brothers deliver as much pressure as they can to the Seattle offense, from beginning to end. If the pressure keeps up consistently, getting to the end zone for Seattle will be problematic for Pete Carroll and company.
Kyle Williams and Marlon Moore have to make quality receptions for the 49ers’ receiving core. After his marvelous debut performance against Green Bay, Anquan Boldin will surely be double-teamed by Seattle’s stingy secondary. Alternate receivers have to be ready to produce because Boldin cannot do everything himself on the field. After an impressive preseason, WR Quinton Patton should be given the opportunity to have a little more playing time on the field. Jon Baldwin’s size should also create interesting WR match-ups if put into the mix. Pro Bowl TE Vernon Davis would be another ideal candidate that can help take the load off Boldin’s shoulders.
Finally, the 49ers really need to execute better tackling on the field, especially against Seattle’s wide receivers consisting of Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Sidney Rice, and sleeper Jermaine Kearse. Tall order right?!