How Can San Francisco 49ers Win Defensively?

By John Ware
49ers Defense
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers‘ defense is one of the most respected in the league. It has a great front four with two All-Pro defensive linemen in Aldon Smith and Justin Smith, and two All-Pro linebackers in NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis.

The defensive backs have been and still are question marks for the team. Safety Dashon Goldson is now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and cornerback Chris Culliver just tore his ACL in training camp.

Recent additions to the secondary include free agents Nnamdi Asomugha, Eric Wright, Craig Dahl and 2013 first-round draft pick Eric Reid. The Niners intend to be one of the deepest teams at the defensive back position with cornerbacks Tarell Brown, Carlos Rogers and Perrish Cox, and safety Donte Whitner still on the current roster.

Once the smoke clears and the roster is set, expect the outside of the field to be more difficult to attack.

San Francisco has no need to make changes as it pertains to the front seven. Maybe Willis should go out into pass coverage more because he is more athletic than Bowman. The big concern is who will start at the two cornerback spots. There is a mix of both youth and experience at the position, which can make coverage schemes simple yet interesting throughout the season.

To make things simple, the Niners should both start Rogers and Asomugha and play man coverage only with those two. Or, they could start a pair of the younger cornerbacks and play off-man and zone coverage. The smartest scheme to run would be a scheme that is dependent on the mobility of the opposing quarterback.

John Ware is a San Francisco 49ers writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @OutermindMedia, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google+

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