Niners Live provided you, the Faithful, with the Pre-Game Match ups to watch and a Postgame Summary of the game against the Denver Broncos last Saturday night. And now, Niners live gives it to you real, raw and uncut like never before: Recapping the Game; Inside the Game: Featuring the “Front-7.”
Defense, the Highlights (individual assessments)
- Leger Douzable, the newly signed veteran, didn’t disappoint. He led all D-linemen on the team with five tackles, four being solo and one tackle for loss where he diagnoses the play in the backfield and had great penetration stopping the ball carrier dead in his tracks.
- Ray-Ray Armstrong makes the list this week because his production was light-years beyond last week’s and he was more active, but still not perfect. He accounted for five tackles (which led all Linebackers on the team), four being solo and one tackle for a loss.
- Dekoda Watson set the tone early with a violent tackle on special teams and ended with a total of three tackles while being active and applying a burst of pressure at times during the game, once again making you notice his #97 jersey.
- Quinton Dial had three tackles (second leading on the team for D-linemen) and one QB hit. He competed like a man trying to win a spot on the 53-man roster.
- Pita Taumoepenu – Take notes, the late round pick is starting to come on (flashes of disruptiveness). He accounted for two tackles, one being solo, one sack, one tackle for loss and one QB hit.
- Earl Mitchell had one tackle total and a QB hit. However, that’s not the whole story. He was active, relentless, physical at the point of attack, playing strong against the run, and what can’t be denied is the Bronco’s featured running back C.J. Anderson only had 24 yards on 7 carries for a (3.4-yard average) with one rushing touchdown.
- Reuben Foster recorded one impressive tackle, which he made on the sideline, showing his closing speed to hold C.J. Anderson for a four-yard gain (flashing moment).
- NaVorro Bowman had two tackles, one being solo, but the highlight came as he had a pass break up in coverage which (coming off an Achilles heel injury is a big deal).
Defense, the Lowlights (individual assessments)
- D.J. Jones had one solo tackle total, and both running backs (Denver) in the second half averaged over 5.0 yards a carry and chipped in roughly 60 yards on the ground. He might have been solid at times, but didn’t flash or have enough of an impact for a 6th rounder trying to make the roster.
- Shayne Skov, the newly signed linebacker, accounted for three tackles, one being solo, but missed tackles and got overpowered on more than one occasion when it came to plugging the hole on running lanes and allowed running back Juwan Thompson to shed his tackle for a 20-yard running TD.
- Tank Carradine had two total tackles. However, as a pass-rusher and impact player that got the start again this week, Denver’s young QB’s weren’t uncomfortable or rattled on his watch.
- Solomon Thomas, the prize #3 overall pick in the draft, didn’t record a single tackle or sack or QB hit and wasn’t as active as last week versus the Kansas City Chiefs.
- Eli Harold got the start at Sam over Ahmad Brooks and showed flashes of relentless pursuit and applied pressure. However, he didn’t record one sack, tackle/for loss or QB hit in the game.
- Ahmad Brooks, fighting for a starting spot and a spot on the team ( #97Watson lurking), recorded just a QB hit on the night in which he was given ample playing time.
- Elvis Dumervil– the veteran pass-rusher showed some flashes of pressure. However, didn’t record a single stat on the night and was a non-factor in the game.
- Arik Armstead had just one tackle and wasn’t a factor in the game (impact wise) for his talent level (stats courtesy of ESPN.com).
The bottom line (assessment) as a whole
As aforementioned, we’ve highlighted and recapped the (Highlights & Lowlights) of the individuals within this front-7 defense and scheme of defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. Now we give you the bottom line on the entire unit. Why like this? Because this unit must be judged accordingly and objectively. The starting front-7 as a whole, not individuals, but as a whole, didn’t record one sack on the night against Denver, microphone, check one. Secondly, this entire front-7 didn’t create any turnovers, microphone, and check two. Thirdly, this entire front-7 gave up 146 yards for 4.3 yards per rush while allowing (22) first downs (11) coming from the ground game alone, microphone, check three.
Niners Live bonus round, microphone, check four
Guess who were the top three tackling leaders in the game for the 49ers last Saturday versus the Broncos? Jaquiski Tartt (seven, six being solo), Eric Reid (six total tackles, five of which were solo) and Don Jones (five solo tackles all safeties, courtesy of ESPN.com).
Recent article alert: Recapping the Game; Inside the Game: Featuring the “Secondary”
The backend/middle of the defense, not the front-7, was most active and productive on the team during their second exhibition game against Denver. When the secondary is leading your team in tackles instead of the linebackers, it’s not a good look at all, and it means the guys up front aren’t doing their part either, with run fits, gap integrity, clogging running lanes with extreme violence and disruptiveness as a whole. This unit also contributed to giving up 33 points to Denver and over 300 yards of total offense not to mention the time of possession was lopsided at 38:35 to 21:25 in favor of Denver, of course.
GRADE D+ (Note: if it wasn’t for Taumoepenu, Douzable and Armstrong’s performance/production, this grade would be lower).
Expectations heading into the game with Minnesota:
There are three things on my expectations list come week 3 against the Minnesota Vikings.
1). Can the Front-7 get to Vikings starting Quarterback Sam Bradford with the relentless pressure that equates to sacks in the production column?
2). Can the Front-7 stop Minnesota’s running game that features Dalvin Cook?
3). Can this Front-7 force any turnovers this week?
We shall see what this Front-7 can do, and if they will deliver the goods. However, for right now at a glance; they’ve been called out, and rightfully so.
Paged and put on notice alert:
Important to note: Aaron Lynch could be back in action and in the mix versus the Vikes.
Why so serious, it’s just pre-season, right? Right. The expectation is that this unit improves dramatically this Sunday and gets after it like a village of “Violent Disruptors”.
49er updates, interviews and news:
On a Niners Live side note:
Team captains for last Saturday’s game were (all former #Broncos): LB Elvis Dumervil, G Zane Beadles, LD Dekoda Watson, RB Kapri Bibbs (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle).
Please join us again soon on Niners Live, home of the fan and analyst.
As always, keep your eyes wide open, 49er fans. Niners Live will be watching with you. #eyeswideopen and often imitated but never duplicated… Go Niners.
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Content Creator, Editor, Sequoia Sims