Edge Pressure--11/17/01
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The 49ers have been plagued all season by an inability to sack the quarterback. This is much to the dismay of the rest of the team, who at the beginning of the season, thought this would be a definite strength of the team. Luckily the defensive backs have improved to the point where they are not allowing the big play. Thus although the pass defense is ranked quite low again this season, the 49ers are able to take command of games, and win the close ones too.

Perhaps the biggest problem the 49ers are experiencing in getting to the quarterback is a lack of containment, or pressure from the edge of the line. Youngsters, Andre Carter and John Engelberger both look promising, but both lack the real size it take to collapse the side of a pocket. While Iím not suggesting the 49ers oust either one of these two players, the 49ers do indeed need to get some more size on the defensive line, particularly at the end positions.

The 49ers defense has been most impressive when its defensive ends have been able to provide real pressure on the quarterback. Most recently, this success was with Roy Barker and Chris Doleman. When these two were contributing to the defense, the 49ers were virtually unstoppable. It is this type of pressure that the 49ers need to recapture.

Itís quite likely that first round pick Andre Carter will turn out to be the superstar he was touted to be coming out of college. Engelberger looks like he can be a solid contributor. However until the two materialize as a threat, the 49ers must find a way to bring pressure from the edges and get their sacks.

Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum

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