Defensive Line- 12/22/99
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The 49ers defensive problems this season are much more complicated then they seem. It is quite evident that the 49ers are having troubles defending the pass, mainly the long bomb, and the 49ers coaches have shuffled in every healthy defensive back on the roster except for Wasswa Serwanga to fix this problem. Now I'm not about to say that the saviour is Serwanga, and he will stop all the 9ers problems. Though I do think Serwanga would be a huge upgrade to the defensive backfield, I do not believe that this will lead to the success of the 49ers defence.

The problem with the defence is much deeper than that. It lies on the defensive line, where Bryant Young and JR Bryant are a force, but Gabe Wilkins, Charles Haley, Jeff Posey, Dave Richey and Chike Okeafor can't make the loss of Roy Barker, and Chris Doleman who were on the line last season. At the beginning of the season the 49ers benefited from the play of Marvin Washington, then he was injured. Washington was not a superstar, but he was better than what the 49ers can field today, and thus his injury is devastating to the team.

Never the less, the 49ers still need to generate a pass rush. In the best defensive effort of the season against the Falcons, the 49ers had a pass rush that completely disrupted Atlanta's offence. That is the beauty of any pass rush, it is uncontrollable, and that is why it doesn't matter who the defensive backs are on the team, if the defensive line is not playing an above average game, they stand no chance against the quarterbacks in this league. Any quarterback given enough time can find an open receiver, and any receiver given enough time can go open. Thus the 49ers defence is being exploited in every possible way, and teams are relishing in victory before the teams ever take the field.

It's no wonder the 9ers defence is stumbling and worse yet, the 9ers front office doesn't know how to fix it. Rather than shuffling Prioleau out of the line-up and not letting Serwanga crack the line-up, it's time to find the fix on the defensive line. Maybe that might have to wait till the off-season, or maybe Reggie McGrew will come through, but the 49ers can't sit back and hope, they need to take action.
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