November 12 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Jim Mora did a good job of getting the defense to step up and stop the Chiefs in the second half of the game, recognizing the Mike Rumph needed the training wheels to be put back on was a big step in doing that. However after watching the games the past couple of weeks, Iíve come to a conclusion about how Mora uses the blitz.
Mora will blitz on third down, which can be effective if the defense can hold the coverage on the receivers. However, the 49ers have been leaving players wide open in the secondary on such positions and that has played a big role in the teams poor third down defense. When the defense does blitz, Mora leaves the middle of the field open. If not for a great open field tackle by Ronnie Heard this past week, the Chiefs would have been able to exploit this pretty severely.
Another problem Mora has when running the blitz, and this could be because the defense was designed with the idea of having the speedy Jamie Winborn and Saleem Rasheed available, that the timing of the blitz has been ineffective. Players are running into the same holes and thus running into their own team, preventing them from getting to the quarterback, and thus reducing the effectiveness of the blitz.
Mora has made some key adjustments throughout the course of the past two games and its lead to the 49ers being able to make some key defensive stands. Adjusting the blitz to prevent these four issues could go a long ways to improving the teamís defense, by getting to the quarterback and closing up passing lanes.