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49ers Defense to Address Missed Tackles

Posted Sep 9, 2013

A failure to "wrap up" harmed San Francisco's chances at times during Sunday's victory over Green Bay.

When it comes to missing tackles in a season opener, you could point to starting defensive players not playing extensively in the preseason. You could also go back further, noting how they were not always practicing in pads over the offseason.

But Jim Harbaugh isn’t necessarily interested in the cause, whether it's rust or not. He’s interested in the solution.

Yes, the 49ers defense failed to wrap up Green Bay Packers ball carriers during Sunday’s season-opening victory at Candlestick Park. No, Harbaugh didn’t let it go unnoticed.

“As a group, we weren’t pleased with our tackling,” the coach said Monday. “We talked about it after the game. It’s not something we’ve been accustomed to the last couple years with our defense.”

While the unit created two turnovers – an Eric Reid interception and a NaVorro Bowman forced fumble – it also hurt itself by letting receivers run free.

This was particularly the case during the Packers last drive before halftime. No. 3 cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha whiffed on wideout Jordy Nelson when the Packers receiver pushed his way an extra 20 yards downfield, to San Francisco’s 25-yard line. Three plays later, Rodgers found tight end Jermichael Finley on a quick out, and the Packers tight end broke through No. 4 cornerback Perrish Cox would-be tackle. Finley then made contact with but hurdled past safety Donte Whitner into the end zone.


For his part, Asomugha, who was making his team debut, made two pass deflections while drawing the tough assignment of covering Nelson.

“He had some good plays in the game, a couple tackles he may have liked back, but I feel good about Nnamdi,” Harbaugh said. "The thing that keeps striking me about Nnamdi, watching him all through training camp and the offseason, is just what a pro he is, how he works his hands, how he works his feet the entire practice. He's constantly trying to improve."

The coach noted an open-field tackle missed by Reid, who was otherwise impressive with six tackles and his first NFL pick.

"There's no doubt he belongs," Harbaugh said, "and he's going to get better and better as we go."



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