Gimme a D, Gimme an E . . .

The temperature hit triple digits around the Bay Area yesterday, but the 49ers held a late afternoon practice anyway. Michael Crabtree was back in action, but Abrayo Franklin continued to be a no show.

Franklin’s attempt to avoid getting injured in Training Camp is making me nervous. The football gods are fond of irony and often provide precisely the opposite of what a person seeks, or in Franklin’s case, avoids. How often have we seen these late arrival guys step out on the field and get precisely what they sought to avoid, a serious injury. If they kept stats on this, someone could look it up and tell me I’m FOS, which would be reassuring. But I’m a closet superstitious guy and when a player puts his wallet first on his agenda, the little bells go off in my oh-oh room.

All of which makes Ricky Francois’ emergence this off season a very good thing. The 49er defense is poised for an outstanding year, but a hole in the nose would torpedo the entire operation. There may be lots of argument about who’s got the best offense in the NFC West, but there is none regarding whose defense is best. This is a No Contest No Brainer.

The 49ers defense was the 4th hardest to score against in 2009, and right out of chute, just like last year, they stonewalled Peyton Manning in the Red Zone once again. Manning marched in for 6 later on, but our first team Dee was no longer on the field. Then last week, on the Vikings first possession, the defense laughed Farve off the field.

The opening game in Seattle has had me worried all off season. Two new O-line guys in a spooky stadium. Super hyped team biting hard on the first game of the Pete Carroll era. Fans going nuts. Hasselbeck not yet injured. Not a good mix. The 49ers were far better than the Seahawks last year, but they still managed to cough that game away up in the north.

Then I think of our defense and my heart calms down a bit. There is no music so beautiful to a visiting team’s ears than the sounds of silence in a packed stadium. On teams like Indianapolis and New Orleans, these sounds are produced by four touchdown deficits. But the 49ers have the tools to produce them with a stone wall defense.

Doom and Gloom are not my favorite fellas, so our defense has become my best friend this off season. The Niner pass rush will be better this year and so will the secondary. For all the well known offensive system turmoil in Ninerland these past few years, just the opposite is true for the defense. The same system has been in place since 2005, tweaked a bit by Manusky from mid-season 2008 onward. The same players, by and large, are operating in that system and maturing into veteran NFL guys.

Yesterday, out of the blue somewhat, Mike Singletary said Manny Lawson would have a breakout year. Whoa. Lawson has been flying under the radar this Training Camp, except for wondering whether he will be on the team next year or not. Fans expected a breakout year from him last year, but it was more like a got a few doors unlocked season than a true breakout. He did have six and a half sacks to lead the team, but it’s fair to say all of them were coverage sacks, not in your face deals.

I certainly hope the Coach has some inside poop on Lawson, and isn’t just blowing smoke here. If Lawson were to become a serious sackman, along with the addition of Reggie Smith to the nickel defense, and the continued growth of Ahmad Brooks, this defense could be a challenger for number one in the NFL in 2010.



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10 comments on “Gimme a D, Gimme an E . . .
  1. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Maybe I just haven’t noticed him but the player that we need to start stepping up is Parys Harralson.

  2. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Good point. He’s been more invisible than Lawson. Maybe even this camp’s Most Invisible Man.

  3. ROBNo Gravatar says:

    i’m stymied on harralson , and starting to get a bit worried ! i know he doesn’t have the speed of some elite pass rushers ! just seeing brooks blowing by an OT in a recent game demonstrates the point , and i doubt his ability to beat teams when they gameplan for him as our main pass-rush threat (sometimes maybe even giving his blocker extra help and or chipping him etc ! but his performance in 08 indicates someone who should at least be showing up on the radar screen ! i sure hope he comes out of his slump , or whatever is going on here ! maybe with brooks and laboy in there harralson will be able to do more too and get back in the mix since he won’t have to be “the pass rusher” in our scheme ! if so could we post close to 50 sacks this year ?

  4. BergerNo Gravatar says:

    Lawson I’ve noticed, and he has done well.

  5. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Maybe the roles will reverse this year and it will be Haralson coming off the field on passing downs, not Lawson. Or maybe they’ll both be coming off and LaBoy & Brooks will come in.

  6. delmardennisNo Gravatar says:

    Parys Haralson has been doing his best impersonation of Claude Rains lately—“The Invisible Man.”
     
    ” An invisible man can rule the world. Nobody will see him come, nobody will see him go. He can hear every secret. He can rob, and rape, and kill! ”
     
    Maybe Parys is on to something. Hear every secret. Rob, rape and kill? Give me a shot of that magic elixir.

  7. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    Well, LaBoy, Brooks, and even Briggs have shown more than Haralson at this point. Lawson has done fine, if not great. Have to keep my eye on him this next game.

  8. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Jason Hill has a groin injury. If it’s serious, he should use the time off to shop for living quarters in Seattle. Maybe he and Brandon Jones can share an apartment.

  9. SkeebersNo Gravatar says:

    Mike Sando just ranked the NFC West defenses and seconded my opinion of the SF defense. Guy is stealing my material. I’ll send my dog after him and chew up his shoes.

  10. unca_chuckNo Gravatar says:

    While the dog is keeping him busy, you’ll have plenty of time to chew up his shoes . . .

2020 Schedule
9-13: L Cardinals 24, 49ers 20
9-20: W 49ers 31, Jets 13
9-27: W 49ers 36, Giants 9

10-4: L Eagles 25, 49ers 20
10-11: L Dolphins 43, 49ers 17
10-18: W 49ers 24, Rams 16
10-25: W 49ers 33, Patriots 6

11-1: L Seahawks 37, 49ers 27
11-5: L Packers 34, 49ers 17
11-15: L Saints 27, 49ers 13

BYE

11-29: W 49ers 23, Rams 20

12-7: L Bills 34, 49ers 24
12-13: L Washington 23, 49ers 15
12-20: L Cowboys 41, 49ers 33
12-26: W 49ers 20, Cardinals 12

1-3: L Seahawks 26, 49ers 23

2020 Draft Class
1. DT Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina
1. WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
5. OL Colton McKivitz, West Virginia
6. TE Charlie Woerner, Georgia
7. WR Jauan Jennings, Tennessee
 
2020 Prognostications (Mulligan Version)
WINNERS:
Bullit: 6-10
NJ49er: 6-10

LOSERS:
Skeebers: 7-9
Winder: 4-12

ABSTAINERS:
Grumpy: DNP
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