Improved pass rush
September 22 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Itís no secret the 49ers pass rush the past two seasons has hardly been existent. Quarterbacks loved to played the team because they rarely, if ever had to eat the turf. The 49ers have made it their mandate to change that this season and so far they are off to a pretty good start. The starting four defensive lineman now includes Chike Okeafor who spent the past two seasons as a backup at the position. Okeaforís presence, coupled with Andre Carter having a years worth of experience in the league are two of the biggest factors in the resurgence of pressure on the quarterback.
Okeafor is tied for the team lead in sacks, having one each of the 49ers two games to date this season. Linebacker Julian Peterson has also recorded two sacks. With a years worth of experience Andre Carter has managed to start his sack count much earlier this season, Carter has one already. In fact Bryant Young is the only starting defensive lineman without a sack as Dana Stubblefield has one too. All together, the 49ers have recorded seven acks this season, and have only given up two.
The 49ers defense is doing a good job of getting to the quarterback, particularly early in the game. The improved playoff the defensive backfield of course, is a big reason why the defensive line and linebackers are having more success. But it also has to do with the extra time the players spent at the teamís facility this off-season. The 49ers were able to use that time to help improve the pass rushing techniques of its players.
Itís very early in the season to declare this area as Ďfixedí, but clearly the 49ers are off to a better start than last season. Bryant Young, who is regarded as a premier tackle in the league needs to become dominant again, and when he does, this defensive line could be scarry.