Yes it’s a "captain obvious" tittle because you usually have to win the division before you can land a playoff birth. However, have the 49ers been doing that prior to this recent regime taking over?
Looking around the NFC west, and starting with the Rams, it can be concluded after watching them win the west in back to back seasons, and making it to the Super Bowl albeit undeserved they were still the participants.
The personality of LA has been established, and you can expect more of what has been working for them in the days ahead.
The Rams weren’t really bad in the Super Bowl defensively. As bad as I hate to lay praise on that club the defense was all over the Patriots. The Rams offense is why they were beaten.
What was clearly evident in that Super Bowl is that Belichick was fully aware of Jared Goff’s inexperience on the biggest stage in pro-sport and inability to ad-lib beyond head coach Sean McVay’s instruction on every snap. N.E. put a pressure on Goff similar to what the Bears did in beating Goff a few weeks prior to the playoffs. Heavy pressure and blitzing will take Jared Goff completely out of his game. He may have gained from last year’s experience, but for now it would seem a well engineered defense designed to throttle Goff would be very effective in destroying the Rams offense. That will continue to be the case until he proves he can rise above those critical moments when a quick adjustment is needed.
When we look at what Kwon Alexander brings to the defense it’s clear to me that a raise in the level of intensity from the linebacker position is always effective, but the Rams well known trademark jet sweeps and play action due to the effective run game from Todd Gurley could be stymied by a linebacker as skilled as Alexander who seems to know exactly where plays are going upon the snap.
The 49ers defensive front line seems poised to stride forward in effectiveness this season. If the 49ers front line is as potent as it appears that it may be, the Rams will no longer be able to operate and execute as free and easy on the 2019 49ers as they have been the past 2 years.
With the addition of Jason Verrett, and Richard Sherman on the corners Goff will have to hesitate before going downfield. If that happens Goff will be tested in a way that has often found him failing. The teams that were the most effective against the Rams last season did not get into shoot outs with them. If that happens McVay can do that all day, and outlast teams. 49ers will be prepared for that.
There is no blue print right now for the Arizona Cardinals. The Cards are having to start pretty much all over again to build the offense. A lot depends upon what they do in the draft, and if they are going to start their program with Kliff Kingsbury’s quarterback Kyler Murray or not. If it is Murray brought in to build around. The Cards will resemble the Seahawks with a quarterback that can extend plays and break down defenses.
Again it’s about building a defense with above average speed in combination with the keen instincts of a linebacking crew like both Warner and Alexander. The pressure up front again is key.
The 49ers biggest asset is the defensive pressure being relentless with Robert Saleh’s credo of “All gas no breaks” being made possible by solid depth from just about every player on the defensive line.
It has taken three seasons for the 49ers to have the kind of personnel they have now assembled. The 49ers will have to sacrifice some very good defensive lineman this season. They are that well stocked. The ones that survive the cut will all be effective. They’ll have to be to survive camp to continue representing the 49ers
The secondary is still just a little bit of a question mark, but by in large that secondary is way above average. If the wall that is being built on the front line right now works as planned the 49ers secondary ranking high will be largely due to quarterbacks under extreme stress, and they certainly will be.
There isn’t anything to say about the 49ers offense. Much of the 49ers offensive personnel is in the third year with Kyle Shanahan. That is the biggest factor in why we can expect big strides from the offense this season. Every team Shanahan has been with took at least 2 season’s to install. That time has arrived. If there is something about the 49ers that can be believed in before the season starts its Kyle Shanahan’s offense.