Thoughts on how to fix the run D

Now I don't claim to be a defensive minded person, but after watching the 9ers gash our high priced front four for far more yards than I want to mention I decided I would vent. I don't have any nice pictures to illustrate what I saw so I will describe it.

1)DL getting little or no penetration- I think that a big part of this is due to the fact that our DTs are best when they are 1 on 1 and are able to shoot the gap and not deal with two blockers. Currently they are dealing with multiple blockers on every run play which neutralizes their ability to penetrate and be disruptive.

2) As a result of the double teams our DL is getting blocked out of the play. Repeatedly the 9ers formed a massive wall of blockers that looked a lot like a zone blocking scheme. Now I don't know if they run a zone blocking scheme, I do know most teams have them in their playbook somewhere, but when I see a RB start left then is able to make a single cutback just as he reaches the line and have free space to run to the right due to all the blocking going left and driving the DL out of the play, it looks like a zone run.

3) What in the hell are the LBs doing at 5yds? They don't attack and fill the hole when the RB cuts back. Can they not see it? Fill the hole! I know they aren't getting blocked, RBs can't run over waiting LBs if they are blocked. Occasionally I see the MLB caught in the "wash" of the blocks, but the OLBs need to stay home, fill the cutback lane and be aggressive. There are mistakes (unacceptable mental, technical errors) and then there are aggressive mistakes (due to aggressive play). I'll take aggressive mistakes any day.

4)does Mario look disinterested when the play goes away from him? When a play starts left Mario just seems not to care anymore. This plays right into the hands of a team that is looking to form cutback lanes. Bored/lazy/disinterested DEs don't pursue down the line and help to collapse cutback lanes. Does anyone else see this? Itmight just be me seeing a steaming pile of $50 million on the field and blaming him, but I just get the feeling he is taking these downs off.

So that's what I see up front. I am sure that some of the guys (Brian, MRW, the poster formerl know as Der Jeager) that watch more film/reruns of the game may be able to she'd more light on this. I don't think that they are terribly hard to fix. My suggestions (numbered to address above issues).

1)line stunts. Have guys shoot a different gap occassionally. Trade responsibilities, make it harder to get a solid double team. Occasional run blitz from sheppard.

2&3) these kind if go together. Have the LBs play slightly closer to the line. Get them involved with a run blitz. Teach them to stay "home" and react aggressively when the RB commits. They are flowing too much.(this is a coaching issue).

4) show Mario the bench for a quarter? Make him alternate strong/weak side roles. Don't let him go bow hunting this month? Something. (I really have nothing here, if he doesn't wanna play it's hard to make him)

So there it is. Feel free to share your thoughts.

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of

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