San Francisco's Defense Not Living Up to Hype

Glenn Franco SimmonsAnalyst IOctober 1, 2008

When Mike Nolan was hired, I thought it was a great move because the team needed a no-nonsense coach.

However, that was then.

This week, Nolan proved to be the king of understatements (sorry, Al Davis) when he said the “explosive plays” by Drew Brees and his merry band of second-string receivers were “inexcusable.”


Why did a veteran secondary—the league’s most-experienced—implode in Seattle and New Orleans?

This extremely expensive unit is costing the 49ers precious millions, yet it consistently underperforms.

It allowed fourth-stringers to chew up yardage in Seattle, but Nolan explained that away by saying Mike Holmgren always has great offensive schemes to attack defenses.

To counter Holmgren’s attack, Nolan said he changed San Francisco’s defensive scheme.

The result? Seattle had 22 first downs and 182 yards, with two unknown receivers slicing through the secondary for 78 and 48 yards, respectively.

It was an amazing display of an overpriced defense playing poorly.

Then, here come the Saints two weeks later.

Granted, Drew Brees is hot right now; however, this is supposed to be one of the best defenses in NFL history—at least that was what Mike Singletary said before any regular-season games were played.

Brees looked like Joe Montana passing to Jerry Rice and John Taylor, compiling huge gains while passing for 363 yards, three touchdowns, and a 65.7 completion percentage.

Two unknown receivers (I’ve already forgotten their names) tallied 101 and 99 yards, respectively.

The team’s defense is awful, ’Niner fans, and it doesn’t please me to write this.

It is ranked 22nd in passing yards allowed and 17th in passing touchdowns allowed.

The secondary also has a role to play in rushing, and the news here isn’t any prettier.

The defense ranks 23rd in rushing yards allowed and 16th in rushing TDs allowed.

So, that quote is a Nolan gem, and it underscores a terrible defense that has only played one good team.

With a team like this, I can explain to younger San Francisco fans why longtime 49er fans see the 1973-1980 49ers in the 2003-2008 49ers.

They are not pleasant memories.