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Morning Tailgate: Defense Seasoned

Posted Aug 17, 2013

After recording seven sacks on Friday night, coordinator Vic Fangio's unit appears ready for the real games to start.


The fans saw it. The broadcasters noted it. The coaches planned it.

Yes, the 49ers offensifve playbook looked awfully plain -- vanilla in football-talk -- in the team's second preseason game, a 15-13 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday evening. Coordinator Greg Roman explained this past week that he and Jim Harbaugh and Co. value the team's four exhibition games for the film it gives them on their own players, not their own schemes. Why show regular-season opponents our best stuff -- that is the thinking inferred.

All that said, however, didn't San Francisco's defense appear to a bit more creative against the Chiefs? From the start of the second quarter onward, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was dialing up blitz packages with consistency: cornerbacks Perrish Cox and Nnamdi Asomugha blitzing off the edge here, linebacker Nick Moody and safety Eric Reid rushing through the middle there.

The team recorded four sacks of Chiefs quarterbacks, including three of ex-49ers signal-caller Alex Smith. Cox, it bears repeating, is a cornerback, and yet he led his teammates with two sacks.

Even when the would-be tackler didn’t take Kansas City’s quarterback to the ground, he was collapsing the pocket. This was never more true than in the second quarter when Reid, San Francisco’s first-round draft pick, sprinted between the “B gap” (between the guard and tackle) just as the snap was released from the center’s hands. The LSU product charged in straight at Smith, forcing an errant throw on third down and a field goal attempt on fourth.

Back to this being the preseason: The 49ers are 1-1 and Fangio’s unit has yet to allow an offensive touchdown in eight quarters of play.

“It bodes well,” Harbaugh said postgame Friday night. “Our twos (second unit) were in there against another offense that had their ones in. They played long and consistently good... Plus-plus on the defensive side again.”

For more storylines surrounding the team, check out this edition of Morning Tailgate links.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee noted the team’s up-and-down special teams production.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com took a deeper look at the short night of wide receiver Marlon Moore.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle provided an update on the squad’s backup quarterback battle.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com revisited three things from the game on his blog.

49ers.com focused on the 52-yard run  by veteran running back Frank Gore.

 

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