Can the 49ers Take Advantage of the Seahawks Recent Injuries?
Normally, in the sport of football, there are 2 types of bad luck a team can have when it comes to injuries:
A star player that the team is built around gets injured and the team struggles because they don’t have the depth or talent to be able to replace him, (David Johnson in Arizona comes to mind)
Having a steady and consistent number of players being placed on IR week-to-week that depletes the depth of the team.
The 2nd option is what the 49ers are facing this season. With upwards of 16 separate players currently on IR, they are near the top of the league for players on IR. This has forced HC Kyle Shanahan and DC Robert Saleh to try different plays with non-ideal personnel. Thankfully, some players have taken advantage of these opportunities. Jaquaski Tartt and Adrian Colbert have looked outstanding in small sample sizes and are going to force some tough decisions for GM John Lynch and shows the Niners have some of the best depth at Safety in the league.
The Seahawks, on the other hand, are facing more of the first option. CB Richard Sherman was put on IR recently with a ruptured Achilles. S Kam Chancellor is out with a lingering neck injury first categorized as a stinger, and Cliff Avril was placed on IR in week 4 with a neck injury.
The Seattle defense has been anchored mainly by these players, obtained within a couple of draft years. Ever since then Seattle has had little success replenishing depth they either didn’t have or that became lost due to free agency or other departures.
If the 49ers want to take advantage of these losses, it’ll start in the film room working with DC Robert Saleh. Having a DC who is so familiar and in tune with the schemes Seattle runs is an invaluable tool that Shanahan needs to use to his advantage. Being able to break down what they will do in a given situation is huge for Shanahan in figuring out how to exploit the lack of talent the Seattle secondary now has.
It’s already been said, but Jimmy Garoppolo offers Shanahan the best chance of being able to execute the plays Shanahan draws up. Garoppolo’s quick decision making and even quicker release will allow Shanahan to draw up the short to intermediate passes that Garoppolo excels at in a way that can disguise what they’re doing to the defense.
The toughest aspect of game planning against Seattle will be establishing a run game. The 49ers do not have the talent in the skill positions nor the offensive line to be able to pass the majority of the time. They will need to give the ball to Matt Breida, or most importantly, Carlos Hyde. Drawing up plays similar to Hyde’s touchdown pass from a few weeks back is an easy way to take the front seven out of the equation and force the dilapidated secondary to try and beat Hyde.
No one ever wants players to get injured, and even though the Seahawks and 49ers rivalry has cooled, it should still be a fun game and will be fun to see how the 2 teams play together.
Do you think the 49ers can take advantage of the injuries to the Seattle secondary? Let us know on twitter and stay tuned to 49ersHUB for more great content!