It seems BBV has come to a consensus in the past few weeks. Not about TC or Eli being Elite (that will never happen), but about Perry Fewell. More specifically, his decision making, and how everyone seems to hate it so much.
Watching the Ravens game last night, it's clear Chuck Pagano out-schemed the 49ers staff. I'm just going to take a look at a couple of blitzes I feel are typical for the Ravens and the Giants. Both resulted in sacks, one took a lot less time to hit home. Which one do you think involved four rushers, which one had five? Click the link for NFL.com video, diagrams below.
They only rush four. They show overload to the offensive left, drop out of that, drop their nose as well, rush Suggs alone off the left and overload the right side. The 9ers are jetting to the right with the RB crossing to pick up a LB. It doesn't matter though, because you can't slide away from the 3 possible rushers on the left, so they have their LT, LG and Center checking left. This makes the RG check the nose, so he can't really pick up the DT dipping under.
Look at that. LT through RG, all trying to block a NT who doesn't rush and Terrell Suggs, who is so far outside that only one of those four men could get a hand on him. 4 on 1. Seriously. So the RT and RB try to block the twist, but it isn't happening. My point here is, Alex Smith, me, you, and everyone else have no idea who the hell is coming and through which gap until the snap. They don't bring anyone through either A gap or the left B gap. It's a zone blitz, which is a lot less risky than a man blitz, and they still drop 7 (even if one of them is a NT).
This one is harder to read. First look at Osi, he lines up in <shudder> a 9... a 9 that is wide, comes up field, gives Jason Peters a love tap, and then drops and spies VY when he sees his rolling right. This really looks to me like a contain rush.
Now look at JPP. I can't really tell here, seems like he's trying to maintain leverage. Either way, he's clearly not assigned to take a gap- he attacks the Center head on, and he's not as strong as interior OL. I know this topic has been beaten to death around here, so I'll just say this- I don't mind it if there's some trickery, but if we are gonna throw smaller guys in the middle and not try to overpower instead of outrun Guards and Centers, then we are wasting our resources.
Tuck and Kiwi kind of twist, though it's hard to decide if that is intentional. Kiwi gets doubled, Tuck drops out of his rush the second he sees VY start rolling.
Finally, Rolle comes off the edge. Looking at alignment, he's the only other guy close enough to the LOS to be a credible threat- both Will and Mike are clearly dropping, so notice the Eagles protection- McCoy is already aligned to the right and he's ready for the rush.
No rusher makes any effort to go to a gap they weren't aligned in, and everyone is immediately (perhaps intentionally) engaged with a blocker. There is no pressure, the sack is coverage, and hustle by JPP and Kiwi.
You can complain all you want about not enough man, not enough blitzing, not enough whatever- it all comes down to this. Perry Fewell doesn't like taking risks. Last year I did a post about him moving to zone blitzes over man blitzes once the Giants had a late lead.. He likes 2 deep safeties, he likes maintaining rushing lanes against mobile QB's, and he likes keeping speed on the field so we can catch anything that gets by us.
I think as fans we get into this mode of "agreessive=success" but that's not the deal. There are times when you need to blitz and press and play cover 0. There are times when you need to play a soft zone and cover 2 and rush 3. My only point here is that Fewell leans just slightly too much towards the latter. His goal is mainly not to get burned. I don't want us to play man-press every down and rush 5-6... but I'd like to see exactly that on 3rd and 5 sometimes. Further, when we do bring some guys, whether there's 3 down linemen or 4, it would be great if they moved around and showed some looks. Make it a guessing game. Right now everyone knows exactly where our guys are coming from, and we've gotten by on having better than average guys up front. Teams are protecting with 6 and 7 almost every down (the Eagles went max protect often last week) and they're picking it up. Confusion kills drives, and right now there's no confusion over on the other side of the ball.
Alright, now that I got that down, here's a couple other thoughts, take 'em or leave 'em.
I hate when people say "we can beat anyone if we play our best." Yeah anyone can beat anyone, but some teams are more talented than others. Right now, we can't beat the Packers, Lions or Ravens for example unless they are missing some guys or play terribly. The Lions and Ravens would dominate our OL. We could win, but only with help. Along the same lines, I've seen plenty of the same nonsense on BGN about the Eagles' "when they're on." Same deal- the Cowboys played their worst game when you played your best, and the Eagles couldn't do anything like that to the top teams in the league unless the other guys played as terribly as the Boys.
Mike Mayock is the best. Great job showing the line play in the Ravens 49ers game. Collinsworth is great too. Two best guys in the bussiness for my money.
Matt Bowen and all the guys at NFP are doing excellent work. Check out his "Inside the Playbook" series.
Prince looked good. Maybe a little more next week?
Kiwi is excellent. I hate to say it, because I don't want to see him go, but if you're a team that uses rushing OLBs and you're watching him, you gotta have some interest right? If he finishes out strong, it might be worth looking at a trade- obviously only if serious value is there.
KP is playing great, it seems he has to cover up for a lot of mistakes underneath.
It was hilarious listening to all the grand predictions before the season of the Giants' demise, but with the injuries and guys like Snee and Tuck just disappearing, I'll be pleasantly surprised if we make the playoffs. Everyone was wrong about the offseason, plain and simple, but eventually these losses are gonna catch up with us. Not to be a downer, just been thinking that for a while.
I'm not a religious man, but whoever you thank, thank him/her/it for Eli. We would be similar to the Colts without him at this point. Not that he's as good as Peyton, but damn he is close and we have literally nothing outside of a great QB on O.
Some really great posts recently, especially by BBI. Makes me feel bad for being such an inconsistent contributor. Good stuff.
I want that Saints game. Bad.