Steve Fini Breaks down the 49ers’ offense against the Eagles’ defense.
When the 49ers have the ball
San Francisco has spent three first-round picks on offensive linemen in recent years. While Joe Staley and Mike Iupati have been solid, Anthony Davis has struggled. He is a big bodied waste bender, which isn’t good. Thought to have very good athleticism, Davis doesn’t have the technique to be the force he was potentially thought to be.
Enter Jason Babin.
He can take advantage of Davis off the edge and really get in quarterback Alex Smith’s face. The Niners can run the ball (though Frank Gore has struggled) and the Eagles have had difficulty in that department so gaining an early lead could help take pressure off of this defensive line and allow them to attack. It should be noted the Eagles have yet to score first in any game this season.
While everyone knew the Eagles linebackers would struggle, nobody thought they’d struggled THIS much. Casey Mathews has been as bad as advertised. Let’s see what Brian Rolle’s insertion into the starting lineup does this week. He shows much better instincts, runs better, and can certainly cover better than Casey Matthews. Jamar Chaney in the middle played much worse than I thought he would last week. He missed tackles and didn’t fill holes like the Eagles needed him to. He’s really going to have to pick his game up if he wants to take on Frank Gore. And then there’s Frank Gore. How is this group going to stop him?
Nnamdi Asomugha struggled last week against the Giants. It looked much worse than it really was, but he was never in position to be successful. Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo played him in zone coverage much of the game and played away from his strengths. And before we shout that Asomugha is overrated and a poor signing, let’s remember he completely shut down Roddy White the week before. Maybe Castillo actually watched tape of what Asomugha does best this week and he’ll call more man, press coverage with him. You can’t get a much easier matchup than Victor Cruz, however, and that doesn’t bode well for the team going forward. Luckily, they are going up against a Niners quarterback in Alex Smith that flat out can’t play. With a pass rush and man coverage, the Eagles should be able to keep him locked in that pocket, forcing Smith to revert to his old habits.