The San Francisco 49ers defensive line had a rough Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. No way to really sugarcoat it. 2 quarterback hits and 7 pressures on 27 drop backs from QB Cam Newton does not a game win make. After the issues we saw, it’s easy to be worried and wonder whether all of the draft picks spent and all of the free agency money spent was all for naught. Is there hope for a bounce back? If there is, it will be in this game against Seattle.
DL DeForest Buckner spoke to the media following the ugly loss to the Panthers on Sunday. Buckner opened up about the pass rush:
"As a unit, as a D line, we need to work on our pass rush lanes because there were times were guys could have gotten there today, but he stepped up in the pocket, ran a little bit or broke the contain, so we just gotta work on it as a unit, working on pass rushing together. If we pass rush together, that’s when guys will start getting sacks. It’ll start rolling."
Buckner is completely right though. The team as a whole is very young, and has an enormous task to face in rebuilding the team back to the glory days of yore. These players are still honing their technique and finding their rhythm along the line and together.
There is a reason that OLB Aldon Smith was never quite as good as he was when playing next to DL Justin Smith. They would run stunts together while Justin ate up a couple blockers that would spring Aldon free. That kind of chemistry takes time, and there is no reason to think that it won’t happen.
As is normally the case with sports, the amount of performance that is unlocked by overcoming mental barriers is close to unprecedented. Psychologists specialize in making sure athletes are prepared to perform to their highest potential. Sometimes that means playing an opponent that is easily overcome or provides a minimal amount of effort to defeat. That could easily be the case with the DL going against the Seattle offensive line.
The Seattle offensive line at this point t is notorious for failing to protect QB Russell Wilson, and the team in general seems to be ok with it. Richard Sherman suggested earlier in the offseason that the team seemed to favor Wilson, but considering how little effort they put into protecting him, it sure doesn’t seem that way. The SEA OL provides a fairly easy test for this DL, and with all the high draft picks along g the line. It shouldn’t be too tough for someone to get to Wilson. They will need to build chemistry though and be able to execute, but if they figure out how to work together they should have no problem.
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