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Anquan Boldin Battles Double Coverage

Posted Oct 2, 2013

Through the first four weeks of the season, opposing defenses have been paying extra attention to Anquan Boldin.

Anquan Boldin had a tremendous debut with his new team - 208 receiving yards and a touchdown in a 34-28 Week 1 win against the Green Bay Packers.
 
Over the following two weeks, both losses, Boldin hauled in a combined six catches for 74 yards.
 
Coincidentally, those were the same two games in which 49ers Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis was battling a strained hamstring. Davis suffered the injury against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2 and was inactive against the Indianapolis Colts.
 
According to Boldin, his own decline in production wasn’t a coincidence.
 
"If he's not in there, I know I'm going to get doubled," Boldin told 49ers.com. "If you have a guy like him that can take the top of the defense, defenses tend to roll to him some too. It kind of takes some of the pressure off of me, takes some of the double teams off. He's an added weapon for us."
 
While matched up against Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan in St. Louis last week, Boldin provided two breakthrough plays for the 49ers: a 42-yard catch followed by a 20-yard touchdown reception as he tip-toed the sideline and dove for the team's first touchdown of the game.
 
Boldin won his one-on-one matchup but says he focuses on the opposing team’s defensive coordinator rather than on the man in front of him.
 
"Now I don't really look at corners, I look at defensive coordinators," Boldin said. "Every week they try to take somebody out of the game. For the last couple of weeks it's been No. 81. I've been getting a lot of brackets, a lot of double teams, a lot of in and outs. For me, I have to work extra hard in practice, trying to beat not only one guy, but two guys.”
 
Helping Boldin win those battles is Frank Gore and the 49ers running game. Gore rushed for 153 yards on 20 carries.
 
Boldin noticed a change in the Rams defense.
 
"There were times where they had to go man because of how we were hitting them in the running game," Boldin said after watching film of San Francisco’s 35-11 win in St. Louis. "When we run the ball that way, it's tough for teams to double-team anybody. You have to get eight (defenders) in the box, which leaves us one-on-one outside. As long as we can keep running the ball, Frank keeps hitting them and popping them for big yards, that will loosen up coverage outside."
 
Whether Boldin is battling one man or two in a given game, coverage is often very physical. The 11-year veteran said he embraces that style of play.
 
"I use that part of my game to my advantage," Boldin said. "I'm a lot bigger than most corners. Even if there is tight coverage, I start to play basketball -- box people out and rebound."
 
Through the first quarter of the season, the 49ers have a 2-2 record, trailing Seattle by two games in the NFC West.
 
Though still "young in the process," Boldin and the rest of the team’s receivers have been putting in extra work to develop chemistry with quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

READ: JON BALDWIN PUTS IN EXTRA WORK

"I think each week we're improving," Boldin said. "There's a lot of communication between (Kaepernick) and the receivers. I think we're doing a great job of communicating to him what we see and vise versa. As we continue to go along, we'll continue to hit our stride and we'll be tough to stop."


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