By 49ersz

Reaching the Midpoint of the regular season, the 49ers have stand out as one of the most surprising teams in the NFL.  While everyone wants to give Coach Harbaugh and Alex Smith praise for the resurection of Smith’s career, little is noticed about the team’s defense.  The truth is, the reason why the Niners are sitting on 5-1 is mainly due to their outstanding defensive pereforence raging all the way back to the seaosn opener.  The irony of this situation of faulty praise is, that the 49ers have arguably one of the top defenses currently in the NFL, yet there offense which is ranked 30th in total yards receives most credit for their victories.

49er’s Defensive Coordinator has lead his players to a defensive victory in almost every game this season.  He is an expert in positioning his players in situations to help them win.  Here’s link

Credit Where credit is due:

Carlos Rodgers is currently tied for second in the interception category with 3, already a personal record for his stat book.  He has already exceeded expectations for taking over Nate Clements job from a season ago.

Aldon Smith appeared as a fish out of water in training camp and was thought of as a future investment for the Niners which wouldn’t pay dividends to them this season.  But He fooled the critics wrong and has already 5.5 sacks on the season.  With ranked 5th in the NFL with 5.5 sacks, Smith has proven to be the investment the niners have been trying to find since they had Andre carter in 2005.

We all about Patrick Willis, being a beast at linebacker, a relentless tackler, and solid in coverage, but not to many know of his partner, Navarro Bowman.  Bowman is ranked 5th in the league with 56 tackles and has been mistaken by announcers as Patrick Willis o multiple occasions.  Previously at Middle Linebacker, Takeo Spikes was Willis’ superstar sidekick, but with Bowman taking over this season, there has been no setbacks at linebacker, and Bowman has actually out played Willis at times, which is actually a good thing.

The final surprise on defense this season has to be Isaac Sopoaga, ‘ICE’ was starting left end for the Niners last season and played a solid season for them.  He was a solid run stopper but not your typical left end pass rusher.  This hindered the defense strategy at times due to his lack of versatility.  But this season with the departure of their nose tackle Abreyou Franklin, ICE had to take over and move to the inside nose position.  What looked to be a similar position at linebacker for the Niners turned to be an upgrade as well.  ICE is quicker, stronger and younger then franklin was and plays with a more intense energy.  His ability to occupy blocking double teams has freed gaps open for linebackers Bowman and Willis to lead the team in tackling.

The Niners front 7 let by ICE at the point of attack and WIllis and Bowman at linebacker has aloud the team’s rush defense to rank 2nd in the NFL.  With the rush defense of the front 7 playing at an All-Pro level, this allows the pass defense to benefit from almost obvious knowledge of passing downs.  Passing downs, such as 2nd or 3rd and long(over 7 yards), allow the niners to allow players such as Aldon Smith to pass rush the QB.  With a quarterback pressure, the secondary is allowed to feed of rushed inaccurate throws such as Carlos Rodgers has.

Defense: Led By Patrick Willis

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