In the NFL offense wins games, but defense wins championships. To hoist the Lombardi trophy, a team must have an elite defense, and the San Francisco 49ers have an elite defense. The 49er defense must carry the team to the playoffs this season.
The Line is Loaded
Since Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch took over the team in 2017, the strength of the 49ers has been the defensive line. The 49er defense has a deep and talented defensive line led by two-time pro bowl defensive end Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, and Samson Ebukam. Because the 49ers can keep guys fresh by using eight to 10 guys in their line rotation like Charles Omnenihu, Jordan Willis, Kerry Hyder, and rookie edge rusher Drake Jackson, the 49ers have the luxury of giving essential guys rest, keep fresh, and dominate the line of scrimmage late in games in the fourth quarter. The only question with the 49ers’ defensive line is who will be the edge rusher opposite Bosa.
Fast and Furious
The defensive line is the team’s strength, but the linebacking core makes the defense run like a well-oiled machine. The linebacking core is led by All-Pro middle linebacker Fred Warner who is considered the best overall linebacker in the NFL by back-to-back NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers. Alongside Warner are Dee Greenlaw and Azeri Al-Shaair, who are fast and furious. They can cover in the flat and tackle well in the open field. The 49ers defense and front seven have no weaknesses due to having the best linebacking core in the NFL of Warner, Greenlaw, and Al-Shaair.
The Secondary is Solid
Due to injury and poor performance, the secondary unit that was once considered the weakest leak of the 49er defense, has the ability to be elite. The 49ers defense has addressed fundamental needs by signing lockdown cornerback Charvarius Ward to a four-year contract and bringing back veteran cornerback Jason Verrett, who is currently on the PUP list, to a one-year prove it deal arrangement. With the addition of Ward, the 49ers’ secondary becomes deep with guys like Emmanuel Mosley, Jimmie Ward, and Talanoa Hufanga. In addition, a once-thin unit has become deep overnight by additions of Nickleback Darqueze Dennard, Dontae Johnson, Ambry Thomas, Tarvarius Moore, George Odin, and Demmodore Lenoir.
Talk of the Town
The 49er defense has the chance to be elite this year if they can stay healthy. In addition, there will be a lot of chatter around the team’s secondary being better than in years past. Even former All-Pro NFL and Super Bowl champion cornerback Richard Sherman tweeted that the 49ers’ defense and secondary will shine by the end of the season.
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