Don't Be Down on The DL--10/17/01
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Heading into the season all we heard was about how good the teamís defensive line would be. Andre Cater, Dana Stubblefield, Bryant Young and John Engelberger. Who wasnít excited? Now, a quarter of the way into the season, weíve seen very few sacks from the group and it seems like fans are getting frustrated.

Nobody however looks at the team has only given up four rushing touchdowns, thatís less than one per game, or that opposing offenses are averaging only 96-rushing-yards a game, thatís not one player, thatís a whole team. To put things in perspective, the 49ers are rushing for an average of 158.2 yards per game and have scored at least one rushing touchdown per game. Our offense is averaging almost one extra yard per carry on average than the teams that play us. These stats are pretty lofty accomplishments.

Still not impressed? Consider that the 49ers have faced Jamal Anderson, Marshall Faulk, Curtis Martin, three of the top running backs in the game. In fact, Curtis Martin is averaging 103.2 yards per game, and has seven touchdowns so far. Both Anderson and Faulk have not played five complete games and thus their statistics are not accurate enough for such a comparison, but nevertheless we are talking about holding some of the best running backs in the league to only modest gainsÖ and the result? Wins!

Ok, so we arenít going to get the 30-40 sacks from the defensive line we were hoping for, but we are getting a line that is generating just enough push to allow the rest of the defense to play quite well. The corners who have improved since last season no doubt have benefited from an improvement up front. Now if the defensive line could somehow manage a slightly greater rush, or if Jim Mora starts utilizing Julian Peterson, we could be in for an explosive defense.

If youíre down on the defensive line, itís only because your expectations were too high. Yes there is definitely room for improvement, but donít take anything away from what they have already accomplished.

Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum

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